Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: How Chiropractic Treatment Can Help Alleviate Your Symptoms
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a condition that often develops gradually. Although symptoms vary widely, common symptoms usually include extreme physical or mental fatigue, widespread joint and muscle pain, muscle weakness, and sleep problems. In addition to conventional medical treatment, alternative therapies, such as chiropractic treatment from a clinic like Battlefield Chiropractic & Physiotherapy, may help relieve these and other symptoms associated with your CFS.
Your body needs a balance of nutritious foods to stay healthy. Also, the foods you eat can either boost or depress your immune system. After considering your daily diet, a chiropractor can give you advice on nutrition and offer tips for planning a healthier diet. He or she may suggest that you restrict consumption of:
- Processed foods (refined sugar and white starches). By not providing you with the nutrients you need, these foods can drain you of energy.
- Beverages containing caffeine. After the initial boost it provides, caffeine can leave you feeling more tired. Caffeine is a diuretic that causes your body to lose water. When that happens, your blood thickens and moves more slowly. As a result, it takes longer to get oxygen to your body's cells.
- Foods and beverages with added sugar. The quick spurt of energy you get when you blood sugar level peaks can leave you feeling tired once it falls.
- Alcohol. Drinking too much of it can produce a sedating effect.
- Foods high in saturated fats. Fat gives the body energy, but saturated fat is high in triglycerides which raise cholesterol levels in the blood, increasing your risk of heart disease. Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are good fats that give you energy and lower cholesterol.
Since eating certain kinds of foods can help prevent fatigue, your chiropractor may recommend increasing your dietary intake of:
- Fresh vegetables. Vegetables such as broccoli, green beans, Swiss chard, asparagus, and romaine lettuce are high in iron -- a nutrient that makes you feel more energized.
- Proteins. While consuming extra protein won't give you more strength, your body needs protein from fish, poultry, and lean meats to function at its best.
- Whole grains. Whole grain foods are a source of complex carbohydrates, which the body needs for energy. Yet they are low in fat, contain no cholesterol, and are high in protein, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients your body needs to stay healthy.
- Essential fatty acids. The antioxidant effects of these nutrients help fight free radicals and improve immune system function.
- Legumes. Peas, lentils, and beans help stabilize your blood sugar levels, raising your energy level.
- Water. Not drinking enough of it can leave you feeling tired because there isn't adequate fluid in your body to carry nutrients to cells.
Your chiropractor may also recommend some of the following nutritional supplements:
- Vitamin D to boost your energy level.
- Vitamin B12 to help your body convert the foods you eat into glucose to give you energy.
- Magnesium to increase energy and endurance. If you don't get enough magnesium in your diet, your body has to work harder.
- Beta-carotene to improve immunity.
- DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) to stimulate the immune system, fight fatigue, and boost energy.
Ask your doctor before taking any nutritional supplements, especially if he or she is prescribing pharmaceutical medications to treat your chronic fatigue syndrome.
If you have musculoskeletal complaints associated with your chronic fatigue syndrome, a chiropractor may perform adjustments to align your spine. This reduces stress on your joints, which helps to alleviate pain and give you more energy.
Misalignments of the spine (subluxations) can cause compression and irritate nerve pathways. Because these subluxations interfere with nerve stimulation, they may affect immune system function. Corrective adjustments help reduce stress on the nervous system, as disruption of the communication between the brain and the body's cells may interfere with the immune response. Research suggests that individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome may have some kind of immune dysfunction.
Chiropractic care for chronic fatigue syndrome often focuses on exercise. When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins -- chemicals that produce an analgesic effect, which reduces pain and improves your feeling of well-being. Depending on how severe your symptoms are, your chiropractor can develop an exercise program for you that will help you gradually increase your daily physical activity.