Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and a similar condition called Fibromyalgia are very common conditions seen in an upper cervical chiropractic office.
What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
The Mayo Clinic describes it this way…
“Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a complicated disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that may worsen with physical or mental activity, but doesn’t improve with rest. Although there are many theories about what causes this condition — ranging from viral infections to psychological stress — in most cases the cause is still unknown. Because its symptoms are difficult to measure, CFS wasn’t widely accepted as a real medical condition for several years. Today, however, doctors and researchers agree that this chronic condition should be taken seriously.”
So if most people get tired they rest and they get more energy. But if you have chronic fatigue than your batteries don’t recharge the same as other people. You can lay down for a nap or sleep 8 hours at night and still wake up as tired as before!
Frequently what we find with patients is Chronic Fatigue will be associated with an undetected brain stem injury. The Brain Stem is very important for regulating our energy level. If the brain stem is not functioning the way it was designed you will have a hard time recovering.
When someone has accidents and injuries that have torn loose the connective tissue that holds the spine in place it will allow the spine to breakdown and lock into a stressed position. The area of the spine that is most frequently affected is the upper neck area because it is the most movable and the most vulnerable to injury. Once this upper neck area is misaligned it will begin to affect the function of the brain stem. This brain stem pressure can lead to a variety of problems including dysfunction with the release of cortisol. Altered cortisol levels can have many different affects on both the mind and the body.
The Mayo Clinic states that “the long-term activation of the stress-response system — and the subsequent overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones can disrupt almost all your body’s processes. This puts you at increased risk of numerous health problems, including:
- Sleep Problems
- Digestive problems
- Memory Impairment
These are some of the most common symptoms associated with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia.
One of the top NUCCA doctors in the world Dr. Marshall Dickholtz Sr. along with a medical doctor and a psychiatrist did some very interesting research several years ago looking at the connection between the upper cervical spine and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Here’s what they found when they compared quality of life measurements using a survey called the SF-36 six months after the initial correction to normal subjects:
- Physical Functioning increased from 58% to 85%!
- General Health improved from 35% to 55%
- Vitality improved from 17% to 55%
- Social Functioning increased from 40% to 70%
- Mental Health improved from 50% to 70%
In addition, both the quality and quantity of sleep improved based on all testing and there was significant decrease in sleep medication usage. And maybe most remarkable all subjects in the study found a normalization of cortisol levels in the morning and evening readings at 6 months into care! Amazing improvement! Not only were they feeling better but their bodies were actually working better.
Maybe the connection between cortisol, the upper cervical spine and chronic fatigue is something that should be looked into more…don’t you think?
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Dr. Kurt Sherwood, D.C. is Upper Cervical Specialist trained by the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association. He is in private practice in Washington state in the city of Renton. He specializes in correcting problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems. More information can be found on his website at http://www.sherwoodspinalcare.com