Chronic Fatigue Treatment in Scottsdale
Discuss Chronic Fatigue at Arizona Integrative Medical Center
The Mayo Clinic defines this as a “complicated disorder” and calls it Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome. The syndrome is defined as follows:
- Extreme fatigue lasting at least six months, with symptoms that do not fully improve with rest.
The “myalgic” part refers to muscle pain and body aches, equally unexplained, with when radiologic tests like X-rays and MRIs do not give an explanation as to cause of pain.
You'll often hear “the cause is unknown”. Experts believe chronic fatigue might be triggered by a combination of factors.
Signs You Should Seek Treatment
- Are you tired when you get up in the morning? Is your sleep not restful?
- Were you recently diagnosed with COVID?
- Do you have no energy to fix the kids’ breakfast? Or get them dressed for school?
- Do you feel helpless and incompetent because you can’t do the simplest things, like pack a lunch while the kids are talking to you?
- Going grocery shopping wipes you out for two days…Can’t remember why you wanted to go to the grocery store in the first place? Much less have the energy to go to the grocery store…
- Do you have unexplained abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation? Have you been diagnosed with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)?
- Do you spend a lot of your time in a state of brain fog? This term is a colloquial term that expresses a state of fuzziness of thinking, lack of clarity of language or expression, sometimes difficulty with memory, which we have all experienced from time to time. There is no associated ICD-10 insurance-based AMA medical code for the condition, and there are no specific ways to diagnose it, except symptomatic.
- Do you feel you have to choose how many things you can do in a day before you can afford to fall down for the rest of the week?
What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
If this sounds familiar, you may be suffering from a condition called “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome”
It actually has a name and a diagnosis code in the world of insurance-based medical care, so it’s not all “just in your head.” You are not crazy, and you may actually not be a malingerer, or suffering from imaginary symptoms. There are many people suffering just like you. Its cause is “unknown”, and there is “no cure”, according to the website of a famous medical healthcare treatment center.
Well, that’s frightening thought… no cure? Is it as bad as cancer? Hopeless?… So what is the point of making the diagnosis? If we can’t treat it, why bother giving it a name? Seems like an exercise in futility. Well, perhaps not so much. I am always surprised when a patient comes to me for treatment. They tell me they have been hurting for years, and are greatly relieved when they are finally given a diagnosis of “fibromyalgia”, even though the person who diagnosed them has no treatment besides pharmaceutical pain medication. For some reason, being given a diagnosis seems to reassure people that they are not that their symptoms are “real” and not “hysterical” or “imaginary”.
If you took your car to the auto mechanic and were told “your engine is all tired out and broken, and there are no replacement parts”, what might you consider doing?
- getting a different auto mechanic? This option is difficult, if you depend on your insurance paying your doctor bills, or if you have a long term relationship with your doctor. Many doctors who take insurance payments have not attended any Further training in Functional or Integrative Medicine, and do not “believe” that there is a way to treat chronic fatigue that does not involve pharmaceutical/narcotic drugs. An online course in the use of opiates, a required training for those who wish to prescribe opiates in the United States as of 2023, an 8-hour course for physicians given by the New England Journal of Medicine, does not even mention therapies outside the purview of conventional “allopathic’ medicine, such as osteopathic manipulation, or even chiropractic manipulation. Acupuncture is another well-recognized method of treatment of painful conditions.
- getting a new engine? Organ transplantation has many drawbacks, not the least of which is suppression of the immune system, leading to extreme susceptibility to infections. Or is there perhaps a better way to restore the cell’s engine(s)? Is the issue one of motivation? Or might there be a treatable physiologic dysfunction?
- getting a whole new car? So far, that option is not currently available to us currently, perhaps in a few centuries from now.
In the world of the human body, it’s easy to get a different mechanic – just find a different doctor.
It is possible to get a new engine… find out why your mitochondria are so puny and dysfunctional, and help them recover their state of health through lifestyle interventions such as better food, less exposure to toxins and less psychic wear and tear through letting go of that which no longer serves the engine as fuel – toxic fast foods and chemicals, going to a job you hate every day because you can’t see a way to quit, holding grudges against those who have wronged you…
Remember that gut-brain connection you keep hearing about? The gut produces most of the serotonin that we have in our bodies – a small amount comes from food, processed by our gut bacteria into serotonin which is required for good brain function. And to help keep our emotions within reasonable bounds, neither depressed nor maniacally excited. Just like SRRI drugs – antidepressants – that are used conventionally in treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome – because it must be all in our heads, right? A mental failing or inadequacy. Surely depression or chronic fatigue could not possibly be related to the state of health of our GI tract?
And what is the relationship between chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia? For which, the New England Journal assert, the most beneficial treatment is exercise. Exerxise, when you can barely get out of bed? And can’t get to the grocery store because of fatigue? And you can’t remember why you needed to go the store in the first place? This sound suspiciously like the advice that many people are given by their physicians when they have a chronic debilitating illness that is not easily explained by infection, or psychologic stress like “depression”… “Just suck it up, and get over it.” How can we restore hope to the hopeless? Is there no hope for those diagnosed with “chronic fatigue syndrome”? Is it true that there is no treatment?
Not so fast!
First, remember the old saying: “You are what you eat”. First found in the literature in France and Germany in the seventeenth century. In an essays Concerning Spiritualism and Materialism, Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach wrote: "Der Mensch ist, was er ißt." [Man is what he eats.] Our emotions depend very much on what is in our gut. Some children (and even the occasional adult) get “hangry” – irritable when they are hungry. Some people eat to lift themselves out of depression. Why is sugar so attractive? It’s not a huge stretch of the imagination to link the taste of “sweet” to the taste of mother’s milk, which is much sweeter than cow’s milk.
Second, remember the concept that pain is due to “stuck” energy, and exercise potentially can activate the lymphatic pump, to “move” the energy. So it’s not an irrational treatment, I just would not recommend going to the gym for an hour to start exercise for fibromyalgia – more like gentle “walk at home” exercise for just a few minutes daily, to get things moving.
In any case, there is definitely hope for patients with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, there is no need to remain stuck in that condition.
“I had a second chance in life after meeting Dr. Grout.” J.B.
“Dr. Grout is compassionate, empathetic, responsive, and the best doctor I have had the privilege to care for me.” Anita, PhD, RN, NP
“If you are ever wondering about the state of your health and wanting answers to why you are having the problems you are having, then seeing an Integrative Health specialist is essential.” Anita