Continuing our discussion on the two “Great Imitator” conditions, Lyme Disease and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Fibromyalgia, lets go further. Dr Teitelbaum believes that most people with pain and/or CFS/fibromyalgia can reclaim their vitality and live pain free. If you are tired, achy, have brain fog and insomnia, we need to think more about CFS/fibromyalgia and less about Lyme Disease. If you have the symptoms of Lyme Disease or were diagnosed but you also can’t sleep despite being exhausted, you likely have fibromyalgia secondary to Lyme Disease.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Fibromyalgia Symptoms
CFS/fibromyalgia is a condition thought to be due to an energy crisis brought on by some stressful triggering event.
Many of these symptoms overlap with Lyme Disease and mold toxicity. This is because Lyme Disease is one of the numerous triggers for CFS/Fibromyalgia. Several other types of bacterial, viral, and fungal infection can trigger a phenomenon known as post-infectious CFS/fibromyalgia.
- Muscle and joint aches
- Allergies to foods and medications
- Inability to concentrate or brain fog
- Chronic sinusitis
- Spastic colon
- Frequent infections
- Weight gain
- Decreased sex drive
Causes of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Fibromyalgia
CFS/Fibromyalgia is a body wide energy crisis that suppresses your hypothalamus and is triggered by several caueses.
- Infections such as Lyme Disease and yeast overgrowth or Candida
- Hormonal imbalances
- Food sensitivities
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Poor digestion
- Disrupted sleep
The hypothalamus is responsible for controlling sleep, hormonal balance, temperature, and autonomic function (ie. blood pressure, heart rate, sweating, bowel function, etc.) It acts like a circuit breaker to protect all the other organ systems from injury. When a stressful triggering event occurs, the hypothalamus goes off line as a protective mechanism, which results in the typical symptoms we see in CFS/fibromyalgia.
Why Does the Hypothalamus Go Off-line?
Often, the symptoms of CFS/fibromyalgia can come on suddenly, or they can be a more gradual insidious onset that slowly progress over years.
If the onset is sudden, consider
- Viral, parasitic, bacterial infections, including Lyme
- Injury (like a car crash)
If the onset is gradual, consider
- Hormonal or nutritional deficiencies
- Yeast or Candida infections
- Autoimmune disease
- Sleep disorders
- Severe stress
To get the hypothalamus back online and make the fatigue and pain go away, 5 main areas needed to be addressed.
- Exercise (to tolerance)
Research has shown that 91% of CFS/Fibromyalgia patients will get better by following the SHINE protocol.
When to Add Antibiotics to the SHINE Protocol
Antibiotics can be added for up to 6 weeks in those who have symptoms of a bacterial infection (other than Lyme Disease)
- Low grade fevers
- Joint redness and swelling
- Nerve palsy/Bell’s palsy
- Lung congestion
- Scalp scabs
- Allergies to multiple unrelated antibiotics
Key Nutrients for Energy Revitalization
- Malic acid and other energy co-factors
- Amino acids
- High dose B complex
- Co-enzyme Q10
- Omega 3 fish oil
Dietary and Lifestyle Considerations
Recovering from CFS/Fibromyalgia requires a complete lifestyle overhaul.
- Increase water intake
- Decrease sugar intake
- Add salt if low blood pressure
- Consider a high protein, low carb diet
- Get good quality sleep, 8 – 9 hours per night
- Exercise every day to tolerance
Many CFS/Fibromyalgia patients have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, and getting enough deep sleep. These recommendations can help the body to relax and move through all the sleep stages properly so you wake feeling revitalized and refreshed.
- Passionflower and Wild Lettuce helps to calm and induce and maintain sleep
- Jamaican dogwood promotes muscle relaxation
- Valerian and Hops help you fall asleep and stay asleep
- L-Theanine can create a relaxed feeling and also has muscle relaxing properties while inducing deep sleep
- Keep your bedroom cool
- Try a hot bath before bed
The main hormones we consider in patients with CFS/Fibromyalgia include thyroid, cortisol, DHEA, testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone, because these hormones are all controlled by the hypothalamus. Even mild hormonal imbalances can be associated with many health problems, leaving you feeling tired, brain fogged, and in pain. The best way to address hormonal deficiencies is with bio-identical hormone replacement therapy.
The average weight gain in CFS/fibromyalgia patients is 32 lbs. You can help to promote weight loss by:
- Addressing thyroid and adrenal hormone deficiencies
- Taking Acetyl-L-Carnitine
- Treating Candida or yeast overgrowth
- Getting 8+ hours of sleep each night
- Addressing insulin resistance
- Daily exercise
Natural Support for Adrenal Fatigue
Adrenal fatigue is common and not yet recognized in conventional medicine. Symptoms of low adrenal function include:
- Low blood pressure
- Crashing with stress
- Frequent infections
There are several natural options for adrenal support, including:
- Glandular adrenal extracts with supportive nutrients
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)
- Adaptogen herbs
- Hydrocortisone (Low dose)
The most important infection to address first in yeast/fungal/candida overgrowth. This should be suspected in all CFS/Fibromyalgia patients and treatments include probiotics, low sugar diet, natural antifungals, or Diflucan (200 mg per day for 6 – 12 weeks). You should also be aware of other infections such as Lyme Disease, parasites, viral infections such as EBV, CMV, HHV-6, and other infections such as mycoplasma, bartonella, babesia, and chlamydia pneumonia. Zinc and medicinal mushrooms are highly beneficial for supporting immune function and clearing these infections.
When Lyme is being treated just with antibiotics, often patients will feel better initially, but then Candida overgrowth sets in and patients will feel worse. You still need a treatment like the SHINE protocol to complement antibiotic therapy and to get the hypothalamus back online.
Mind Body Connection
All illnesses have a psychodynamic connection. In CFS/Fibromyalgia, underlying issues often involve:
- Low self esteem as a child
- Trying to get approval from everyone
- Not being able to say no
- Type A overachiever personality
- Taking care of everyone except yourself
Complementary and Alternative Interventions That Are Helpful
- Massage therapy
- Spinal manipulation/chiropractic care
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Neurokinetic Therapy
- Myofascial trigger point injections
- IV therapy
Treating Pain – A Pain Relief Miracle!
Use the SHINE protocol to treat the cause of the pain, and use this for acute relief.
- BCM95 curcumin