Chronic fatigue syndrome and its painful cousin fibromyalgia are commonly misdiagnosed—or worse, dismissed—by mainstream doctors. Some 80 percent of the millions of people with these two conditions have been told by doctors, “It’s all in your head.”
Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, author of a new book, The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution, says this should never happen.
“These represent the worst form of the human energy crisis,” Dr. Teitelbaum says of the conditions.
Feeling exhausted but being unable to sleep is their “hallmark,” he tells Newsmax Health. Brain fog and widespread pain also are symptoms. The pain comes from having too little energy, which causes muscles to lock in a shortened position, making you hurt all over.
For most sufferers, the conditions are the same illness, but some people experience fatigue without pain, while others have pain but not fatigue.
Health problems and deficiencies can trigger fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome by exposing the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that produces hormones and regulates bodily systems, to long-term physical and emotional stress. The body, in a sense, “blows a fuse,” Teitelbaum says.
“What’s going on is an energy crisis, so anything that causes you to spend more energy than you’re able to make—whether it happens to be hormonal problems, nutritional deficiencies, infections, chronic stress, autoimmune diseases like lupus, basically anything that drains your energy account—can cause you to blow that circuit breaker,” he says. “And then once that happens, you can’t sleep, and you’re on that slippery slope going downhill.”
Unfortunately, mainstream medicine has not taken fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome seriously, which historically has been a typical reaction to diseases affecting mainly women, he notes.
“We’ve seen this over and over in illnesses that affect women, and especially if there’s no good blood test for it,” he says. “And we saw the same thing with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus—women used to be considered neurotic—multiple sclerosis, which was called hysterical paralysis. All these are illnesses of the immune system that affect women. And until they had a test for it, the doctor said, ‘I don’t know what’s wrong with you, so you’re crazy.’ It’s really a nasty thing to do to people. But we’re seeing it now with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.”
The good news is that fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are highly treatable conditions, Teitelbaum says. Following a protocol known as SHINE—sleep, hormones, immunity, nutrition and exercise—people can improve their quality of life and feel better. The treatment calls for optimal sleep, addressing hormonal deficiencies, detecting and treating underlying infections, achieving proper nutritional balance and exercising as much as you’re able.
“I know what people live through with this,” Teitelbaum says. “I had chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia back in 1975. It knocked me out of med school for a year. That’s how I learned about it. We’ve treated thousands of people. This is a very, very treatable disease.”
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