Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – What To Know

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – What To Know

March 20, 2023

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), is a chronic health condition that affects the nervous and immune systems.  It serves as a cognitive blockade, hindering physical and mental activity along with the drive to perform them. It is a complicated disorder that has yet to be explained by any other medical condition or ailment. The cause is currently unknown, and because it shares so many similarities with other conditions and differs from one person to the next, CFS/ME requires a lot of testing to rule out other conditions.


Features of CFS/ME

An individual who was once physically or mentally fit gets sick through an infection, major trauma, toxins, or even stress. Typically, the patient has a history of upper respiratory tract infection, gastrointestinal infections, nausea or vomiting. CFS/ME inhibits the drive to perform any activity, but it does not get better with rest.

Those who suffer CFS/ME have been known to have both “good” and “bad” days, with the “good” being relative to whatever they can accomplish with the disorder. Despite the condition differing from one individual to the next, it is almost always associated with upper back pain and muscle trigger points.  Case studies show a link between the back pain and the rest of the symptoms caused by CFS/ME. This is suggested by the idea that a stiffness or built up toxins in the spine leads to irritation of the sympathetic nervous system.*

Other symptoms Include:

  • Headaches
  • Impaired memory
  • Lethargy/malaise
  • Myalgia/joint pain
  • Mental confusion
  • Weakness
  • Disturbed sleep patterns
  • Much More

CFS/ME has a sudden start within the person’s history. Once contracted, everyday tasks become difficult. They lack motivation to go to work and they even have trouble eating. CFS/ME is a debilitating health condition that can last for years on end.


There is no single test to confirm the presence of CFS/ME. Unexplained, persistent fatigue should be present for a minimum of six months along with at least four of the other symptoms listed above. Before a doctor can confidently diagnose CFS/ME any other conditions must be ruled out. The individual must be tested for sleep disorders (sleep apnea, insomnia), medical problems (anemia, diabetes, hypothyroidism) and mental health issues (depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety). If all of those tests come inconclusive, the practitioner may diagnose CFS/ME and form a treatment plan from there.

How Osteopathy Can Help

Although there is no known cure for directly curing CFS/ME, there is evidence that osteopathy can help. Cranial osteopathic treatment can normalize cranial and lymphatic systems to improve spinal mechanics and reduce inflammation. . This will reduce the strain on the spine and help to balance  the sympathetic nervous system, to help with the back pain and fatigue.

At the Osteopathic Wellness Center, we utilize the principles of functional medicine along with specialized lab tests that look for toxins/heavy metals, allergens, hormone irregularities and vitamin deficiencies. With our thorough testing, we can better diagnose and treat your CFS/ME. To learn more about treatment for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, call us at 203-438-9915.



About the Author:

Dr. David L. Johnston is an osteopathic physician who operates Osteopathic Wellness Center, LLC, in Ridgefield. He is a licensed, board certified osteopathic physician with more than twenty five years experience working with infants, children, and adults. 





What are the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)?

The symptoms of CFS/ME can vary from person to person, but common symptoms include unexplained, persistent fatigue lasting for at least six months, impaired memory, headaches, muscle and joint pain, mental confusion, weakness, disturbed sleep patterns, and more. CFS/ME inhibits the drive to perform physical and mental activities and does not improve with rest. It is often associated with upper back pain and muscle trigger points, which may be related to stiffness or built-up toxins in the spine irritating the sympathetic nervous system.

How can osteopathy help with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)?

While there is no known cure for CFS/ME, osteopathy can provide relief and support for individuals with this condition. Cranial osteopathic treatment focuses on normalizing the cranial and lymphatic systems, improving spinal mechanics, and reducing inflammation. This can help reduce strain on the spine, balance the sympathetic nervous system, and alleviate back pain and fatigue. At the Osteopathic Wellness Center, we utilize the principles of functional medicine and specialized lab tests to diagnose and treat CFS/ME. Our comprehensive approach aims to address the underlying factors contributing to CFS/ME and support the overall well-being of our patients. Contact us at 203-438-9915 to learn more about our treatment options for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.