Chronic fatigue effects around 250,000 people in UK and can range from mild to very debilitating

Historically there is a lot of controversy about Chronic Fatigue type illness.  This is because the symptoms vary between individuals and there are no definitive diagnostic tests.  Although ‘The World Health Organization’ and the ‘Department of Health’ now accept it as a recognized disease, it remains a diagnosis of default after all other possibilities have been ruled out with no standard treatment protocol (NICE). 

Diagnosis such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome (PVFS), Fibromyalgia and ME all have many things in common, although all individual we are going to consider them here as the same ‘chronic fatigue’ family. Commonly the symptoms are triggered by a stressful event, whether it is emotional, physical or immune. 

Symptoms commonly include: 

  • Debilitating low energy
  • Painful muscles and joints
  • Disordered sleep
  • Poor memory concentration
  • Prolonged fatigue post exercise

These symptoms can vary in intensity and can include numerous other symptoms such as gastric involvement.  There are a few physiological factors that have been linked with these conditions. Increased inflammatory markers in the blood, change in ph in skeletal muscles and mitochondria damage have been reported. More recently decrease in blood to the brain stem (thalamus via SPECT scans) has been noted.

Here Nicola speaks of her experiences and the approach we take at Sussex Osteopathic Clinics.

There is still some debate among the medical profession as to whether these are mental, behavioural or physical diseases. 

From an orthodox medical perspective, the diversity of Chronic Fatigue symptoms fall into a multiple of different specialist areas, immunological, psychological, muscular skeletal. This often means there is noone looking at the bigger picture and the inter relationship of these.  The classification of Chronic Fatigue type illnesses is further confused by the variety of symptoms individuals experience.

An Osteopathic perspective to look at a multi faceted problem like Chronic Fatigue / Fibromyalgia, or ME it is important to take a step back from the traditional Medical Model.  The Reductionist descartian view of subdividing a person into mind, body and soul then subdividing the body into discrete independent areas of specialist functions has been fantastic for getting medicine where it is today and giving us the answer to many diseases.  More recently research is continually demonstrating that we are more interconnected and adaptable than previously thought.  This agrees with most people’s opinion of their ‘self’ and is particularly relevant when considering a condition such as Chronic Fatigue. The neuro-hormonal-endocrine system means any changes in one area have effects in the others.

There are many examples of this, such as nerve endings synapsing directly on immune cells, or inflammation in the body also causing inflammation in the brain.

Patients with Chronic Fatigue are complex, to what extent symptoms are influenced by psychological, emotional, nutritional or muscular skeletal factors are probably as varied as the individual.  There is lots of anecdotal evidence of complimentary therapies curing Chronic Fatigue illnesses, whether this is via Osteopathy, or psychological conditioning such as CBT, the Lightning Process or strict diets.  However what may be perfect for one person may not be correct for another. 

Sussex Osteopathic Clinics' approach to Fatigue Treatment 

Here we don’t offer any miracle cures.  We promise to do our very best to look at you as an individual. Try and isolate what combination factors may have led you to this place, then direct intervention here to allow your body to heal itself, with the help of the medical profession and other health care providers.

By understanding the person and problem we aim to treat the muscular skeletal component of the problem and help you to orchestrate your care by other professions to gain a full recovery

We work with Chronic Fatigue symptoms predominantly at the Happy Osteopathic Clinic within the ‘Smile to Live’ center.  All activities here have been designed to create a multi domain space to address all these issues.