Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Fibromyalgia: A Case History

I thought it would be interesting to periodically present case histories of actual patients in my practice and some of the excellent results that they have achieved through chiropractic care and nutritional therapy.

The first case is a patient who had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a condition of chronic inflammation of the muscles. The symptoms generally include constant muscular pain and stiffness throughout the body, the intensity can vary without warning, the victims usually have a variety of sleep disorders, and many times there is an associated irritable bowel syndrome. Most fibromyalgia sufferers also are chronically fatigued; they never feel well rested and generally most will get depressed. Some fibromyalgia sufferers can still function but many times the condition continues to worsen and they can end up in a disabled state.

My patient whom we will call Helen has been a patient in my office for several years. I initially treated her for mild to sometimes-moderate musculo-skeletal complaints of pain and stiffness generally in her neck and lower back. She also had complaints of never feeling good; she was tired all the time and never felt rested. She was feeling depressed used pure will power to make it through each day and had some chronic digestive complaints. Chiropractic adjustments help ease the symptoms initially but they became more frequent and about four years ago she began to see other doctors. She saw a very well known internist in Malibu, an acupuncturist, and was evaluated by the top fibromyalgia specialist at UCLA Medical Center. Her internist in Malibu diagnosed her with hypoglycemia and gave her some counseling on her diet. The acupuncturist gave her acupuncture treatments and some herbal remedies, and the specialist from UCLA wrote her prescriptions for depression, inflammation, sleep, and allergies. The results after three years was that she felt about a 20% improvement in her symptoms, but she still needed to take medications to sleep every night. It's probable that she may not have felt any progress if she had not been taking the sleep medications so that she could get some sleep at night. During this four year time period I had been taking what I'll call cutting edge nutrition courses. I felt that with this new training that I could work with Helen on a nutritional basis. Approximately 9 months ago she decided to have me perform the nutritional evaluation that I had been trained in. The significant findings from a symptom survey form that we had her fill out and was analyzed indicated a reactive hypoglycemia (her body does not keep her blood sugar in the proper range), digestive compromise which indicated stomach, liver and gall bladder dysfunction, and deficiency in the B complex vitamins. My physical exam revealed tenderness in several of her internal organs the liver, gallbladder, small intestine, large intestine, stomach, and pancreas, she showed a moderate weakness of her adrenal gland (this gland is know as the stress gland and manufactures adrenaline (for energy, posture), cortisone (anti-inflammatory hormone), and cortisol (this hormone helps to regulate the release of glucose from the liver and therefore helps to keep your blood sugar balanced). Other tests revealed that she was low in tissue calcium and zinc. This was another indication that she was not breaking down her food and absorbing her vitamins and minerals properly. Her blood type was O.

What I did was give her natural whole food supplements that helped support her digestion, her liver and gallbladder function, and her adrenal function. I also put her on a natural food extract B complex (synthetic B complex does not work). I also put her on a sugar control diet with the idea of removing refined carbohydrates from her diet which are known to deplete B vitamins, as well as all wheat and dairy since we suspected that she was allergic/sensitive due to the inflammation we found in her intestinal area, the reactive hypoglycemia, as well as the fact that she has O Type blood. The sugar control diet is designed to keep ones blood sugar in balance therefore taking stress off the adrenal glands, liver, and pancreas. (I will be putting a copy of this diet on this site in the near future.) This diet helps increase energy and build up the immune system in those persons that need this. Her body was so used to foods that gave her a quick sugar rush that when she began the sugar control diet she felt more fatigued. She hung in there, and finally on the 14th day of the diet her body began to normalize. She noticed better energy and also started sleeping more soundly, and shortly after stopped taking her sleeping medication.

Her progress to date is that she feels that she is 60-70% recovered. She does not feel chronically fatigued and she does not need to take any sleeping medication. Her friends have noticed a significant difference in her appearance and energy levels. She no longer has chronic pains. She reports that when she eats wheat products that she notices almost an immediate change in energy and digestive disturbances. She feels stronger and reports that her hypoglycemic symptoms are under good control. She is continuing to follow the basics of the sugar control diet by keeping starchy carbohydrates (breads and pasta) to a minimum and by eating more proteins, vegetables, some fruits and nuts.

This case history has many interesting facets to it but the main issue was the foods she was eating, and the vitamin and mineral deficiencies that had been occurring due to her deficiency in digestion. Her body not only has a severe reaction to wheat but her system does not do well on any simple carbohydrate. Simple carbohydrates (such as breads, pastas, cakes, bagels, cookies, etc.) convert to blood sugar much to rapidly causing an over reaction of the organs that help control the bodies blood sugar levels. If we didn't uncover her specific problems, she has no doubt that her symptoms would have persisted. You will see in future case histories that digestive difficulties, food allergies, and nutritional deficiencies play major roles in a wide variety of health problems. I find it absolutely amazing that the specialist from UCLA did not take any of these factors into consideration, and all he had to offer her was medications to control symptoms!