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Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia

Bernard S. Burton DC PA

Chiropractic Physician  • Clinical Nutritionist • Certified Acupuncturist

Seven to Ten million Americans suffer from the debilitating effects of Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  This disorder affects mostly women, leaving them with symptoms that include muscle pain, tender regions in the muscles, fatigue, headaches, bowel disturbances, sleep disturbances, anxiety, and depression.

One of the most frustrating aspects of this disorder is that there is no laboratory test that confirms this diagnosis, although many attempts have been made.  Recently some researcher stated  “these abnormal findings and distribution of symptoms (associated with Fibromyalgia) point to a total body affliction…(1)”.  The grouping of CFS and FM together is fairly common since the symptoms are similar.

Although depression is frequently involved, in only a small number of cases is it a primary psychiatric problem.   Due to the constant and variation of symptoms, doctors frequently say “it is all in your head”. Especially, since most practitioners are male and most of the patients are female.  According to the Arthritis Foundation the possible causes consist of physical trauma, hormonal changes, lack of fitness, inappropriate exercise, poor posture, emotional trauma, and smoking.   It is usually treated by medication, exercise, rest, and learning to cope.

Alternative health care practitioners have shown significant improvement in patients with these problems, since they tend to treat the whole body rather than the symptoms(2,3,4,5,6).  Typically, patients have functional problems with this disorder.  By functional problem, I mean something is not working correctly or as well as it should.  This could be in the glands and organs of the body, the musculo-skeletal system, or even the nervous system.

It should be stated that an organ dysfunction is not a diseased organ.  A diseased organ is a medical concern, and medical attention should be sought.  Holistic practitioners do not treat disease.  That is the legal right reserved for the medical profession. But before an organ is diseased, it must have some loss of function that will not show up on laboratory analysis but can respond to various protocols, which are not considered by the medical professional although they are in many of the same medical texts.

Let’s take a look at some of the more common functional problems.  The adrenal glands, which are the stress glands, produce hormones that control sugar metabolism, sodium content in our blood as well as our sex hormones.  A decrease in efficiency can lead to fatigue, low back pain, decreased immunity, and poor sugar control, as well as sexual hormone problems.

The pancreas, which is the primary blood sugar regulator in the body, if not functioning properly can cause hypoglycemia as well as diabetes.  And its symptoms will include fatigue, fogginess, depression, aches and pains, and malaise.

The thyroid gland, which is the gland that controls your metabolic rate, can be dysfunctional causing fatigue, hormonal problems, and many symptoms that can be related to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  There is frequently a functional hypothyroidism with normal labwork.  This can be due to incorrect lab tests or antiquated normal values. (This is very common).

Bowel Dysbiosis:  The large and small intestines play a crucial role in health.  Through these organs most of the breakdown and absorption of nutrition occurs.  These serve as a barrier to allow only foods that have been broken down to their smallest components to pass through into the bloodstream.  If there is a problem with this mechanism, then molecules too large can pass through giving rise to the “Leaky Gut Syndrome”.  This mechanism is believed to be responsible in the autoimmune diseases including Rheumatoid Arthritis.  An improper bacterial flora in the intestines is termed Dysbiosis. Candida infections(5) of the intestines is a type of dysbiosis.  Symptoms of this problem are similar to those of CFS and FM.  All of these are treated with diet, nutrition and various (Applied Kinesiology) AK techniques.

A number of recent studies have shown that Chiropractic care can provide relief from pain of Fibromyalgia(2,3).  Chiropractic addresses the whole body with Spinal Manipulation, Trigger point therapy, massage, and physical therapy.

It is frequently found that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia starts relatively soon after auto accidents.  The would tend to support the belief that chiropractic care of the cervical spine can help prevent this problem from occurring or help in its treatment.

If you or a loved one suffers from this disorder, realize that there are other ways of addressing this problem, than you may have been exposed to.  Seek out the care that you deserve, and don’t take no for an answer.



1. R. Paul St. Amand.  The Use of Uricosuric Drugs in Fibromyalgia. Marina del Rey, Ca., Letter,  December 1994.
2. FitzGerald, R.T.D., Observations on Trigger Point, Fibromyalgia, Recurrent Headache and the Cervical Syndrome, J Manual Medicine, (1991), 6:124-129.
3. Leach, R., Hosek, R., Clinical and Mioelectric Observations on Fibromyalgia: Chiropractic Prospective Clinical Series, Proceedings of the International Conference on Spinal Manipulation, June 1994, Pgs.13-14.
4. Thiel, Robert J. Chronic Fatigue Assessment and Intervention: The Result of 101 Cases. ANMA and AANC Journal 1 (3), 1996.
5. Crook, William.  The Yeast Connection, 2nd Edition. Jackson, Tennessee: Professional Books, 1983.
6. Deluze, C.  Electroacupuncture in Fibromyalgia: Results of a controlled trial.  British Medical Journal 305: 1249-1251, November 21, 1992.


Dr. Bernard S. Burton DC PA, is a Chiropractic Physician, Clinical Nutritionist, Craniopath, and Acupuncturist in Sunrise, utilizing Applied Kinesiology in his practice.  He is located at 2045 N. University Drive, Sunrise,  FL   33322, in the University Plaza, which is at the corner of Sunset Strip and University Drive.  He can be reached at (954) 742-0332,  FAX (954) 742-7344 or his website: www.betterbacks.com.

Applied Kinesiology (AK) is a system for evaluating body function.  It was developed within the Chiropractic Profession and utilizes manual muscle testing, clinical expertise, and lab tests, to diagnose function problems which can then be treated with Chiropractic, Acupuncture, Nutrition, Deep- Tissue Stimulation, Craniosacral work, as well as a variety of other techniques.   This type of muscle testing has been termed “Functional Neurology”.