Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

What is Chronic fatigue syndrome?

Have you been told you have chronic fatigue syndrome? Then where told no one knows why you are so overwhelmingly exhausted, but they are happy to medicate your pain away?  What if we told you we believe we know why you are so tired, that we can get to the root cause and help you find relief from your fatigue naturally.  Here, Dr. Karin, our functional chiropractor, explains Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.


It is not medically known the cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, because CFS is not a disease, or caused by a disease. It is a syndrome, meaning it's just a word doctors use to describe a group of symptoms found in a group of people. It does not explain the cause. This is why many medical professionals believe Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is from "depression" and patients being "over worked". They do not understand Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, because they are used to medicating disease, not people in a dis-eased state. 

How the body gets into such an exhausted state:

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a symptom of being in a dis-eased state. 

Dis-ease is a state of being that results when a person is under prolonged stress, independent of whether it is a physical or mental stressor. Simply, it is a state of agitation and non-relaxation.

The human body evolved to handle physical stress: You either survive or you die. For example, if you get attacked by a tiger, your body automatically goes through steps to decide whether to fight or flee. Your adrenaline kicks in, activated by your fight-or-flight sympathetic nervous system. Blood flows out of your internal organs and into your arms and legs. This rerouting of energy and blood gives you extra strength and endurance and decreases the amount of blood loss you would experience from your organs if you were to be wounded (because the blood has been diverted elsewhere). Your primitive brain controls all of this automatically; you don’t even think about it. Your only job is to act and survive. 

The primitive brain cannot tell the difference between a mental and a physical stressor. Its reaction is the same: to prepare your body for fight or flight. But if your stressor is the result of your job or an argument with a loved one, the primitive brain’s fight-or-flight response is disproportional to the threat of the stressor. Your body is prepared to move, but instead you sit, tense. This is unhealthy over time because the lymphatic system (the body’s sewage system) needs movement to drain metabolic waste and stress hormones (adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine [the three major stress hormones]) out of your tissues. Toxins (like waste from cellular metabolism and chemicals from our foods) are stored in your tissues.  If you are too toxic, the lymphatic tissue will be over run, and the toxins will not be able to drain this waste. This is unhealthy over time because it leads to the buildup of toxins in the body. These toxins include lactic acid, which literally burns the tissue, making it very tender to touch. Worse, nerves get irritated by the toxins, making them over sensitive, causing them to over fire to the point of depletion where they simply can not fire to their full potential any more.  Can you see how this can make you feel overwhelmingly exhausted?

vessels being constricted

If the muscles stay tense, they not only further prevent lymphatic drainage, but also impair the blood flow to the very muscles being contracted. See image to the left. 

These constantly contracting muscles produce metabolic waste (lactic acid) and need the oxygen-filled blood to contract, yet they are blocking the very flow of fluids that brings in their nutrients and drains their waste. This sitting tense and stressed out is exhausting! Worse, tension is unhealthy over time because it leads to the buildup of toxins in the body. This is one reason why this makes it difficult to break this pattern, and people continue to be tender to touch. Can you see how this can make the muscles in your body tired, sore and tender to touch? 

Prolonged stress leads to adrenal fatigue; if you need a boost of energy, your body just doesn’t have it to give to you. Worse, it is hard to work the muscles that have been exhausted from spasms. Can you see how this can leave you overwhelmingly exhausted?

Your digestive system suffers from the diminished blood supply (because the fight-or-flight response has diverted blood away from internal organs). Then your appetite changes as you become deficient in nutrients within the intestines.  This leads to either fatigue (from malnutrition), body aches (from malnourishment), weight gain (from leaky gut) or excessive weight loss (from the inability to absorb nutrients), neither of which are healthy. Can you see how this can make every cell in your body depleted of energy?

Your blood pressure also goes up as a result of oversupplying blood to your extremities for the anticipated fight or flight. Over time, your arteries harden from being under such high pressure in a low-nutrient environment.

Stress and chronic pain can lead to depression, which makes you even more vulnerable to feeling overwhelmingly exhausted. 

Eventually, your body starts deteriorating, becoming more susceptible to sickness. Every day your body fights viruses, bacteria, and fungi as well as mutations in a few of your one hundred trillion cells. It starts to lose these battles when weakened by stress, thus becoming more susceptible to colds, flu, infections, cancer, and other grave diseases that can make your body exhausted and ache.

Stress is the number-one cause of death: it’s just given names like heart attack, cancer, stroke, suicide, etc. 

Again, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a symptom of being in a dis-eased state.

This webpage and our functional chiropractor, Dr. Karin's books contain advice on how to break this vicious cycle of stress, which leads to a state of “dis-ease,” which in turn leads to pain, physical disease (like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), and potentially, an early death.




How to resolve Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Before our functional chiropractor, Dr. Karin, reveals how to resolve Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, we must impress upon you to verify with your health care provider (hopefully that is one of our chiropractors here at Drummond Chiropractic), that it is appropriate for your specific condition.

Make sure you have been properly diagnosed with fibromyalgia and all other causes of body pain have been ruled out, including but not limited to, Multiple Sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, polymyalgia rheumatica, thyroid disease, diabetes, anemia, or other causes of body pains.

This has been written by our functional chiropractor, Dr. Karin, as a resource to help guide you with alternatives that may have not been made available, so you can go to your healthcare provider armed with information. 

How to get your energy back?

Control stress. Stress-induced emotions consume huge amounts of energy.

Lighten your load. One of the main reasons for fatigue is overwork.

Exercise. Exercise almost guarantees that you'll sleep more soundly. But be mindful not to over exert yourself, making your fatigue worse. Work out like you want to be able to work out the next day. A walk, swim or bike ride are pleasant ways to get your blood flowing without taxing your body too hard.

Avoid smoking and limit alcohol.

Have a regular routine with good sleep hygiene.

Eat for energy, high protein low carb for a steady fuel to burn through the day.

Use caffeine to your advantage.

Gut-Brain connection


Gut health is imperative to over all health. Plus, the gut is intimately connected with the brain. Gut bacteria not only help us digest our foot, the bacteria also produce hundreds of neurochemicals. These neurochemicals are used by the bod to regulate basic physiological processes of organs, tissues, cells, and biomolecules, allowing them to work together to accomplish the complex goal of sustaining the very life of our body. These neurochemicals are also essential for mental processes of our brain such as learning, memory and mood. For example, gut bacteria manufacture about 95 percent of the body's supply of serotonin, which influences both mood and GI activity.

If the gut biome is unhealthy, that can negatively impact our mind, body and overall health, making us vulnerable to unexplainable conditions like CFS.

If you are suffering from CFS, bettering the health of your gut will help you overall. Start improving your gut health by taking probiotics. Probiotics are safe for most people, and inexpensive, so worth trying.

When buying probiotics, make sure they come from a manufacture that ensures they are viable bacteria, that the bottles were not over heated or frozen during shipping and stored in a cool place. Remember, probiotics are bugs. They are dormant until ingested but will die if exposed to too hot or cold conditions. No sense buying a bottle of dead bacteria.

Plus, make sure there are at least seven strains of bacteria. You don’t need a billion of one type of bacteria, but a variety of bacteria, each helping you in their unique way.

There are hundreds of species of good bacteria.

A small example of these bacteria are: 

  • Lactobacilli:
    • L. acidophilus,
    • L. Casei
    • L. Crispatus
    • L. Delbruchkii
    • L. gallinarum and more...
  • Bifidobacteria:
    • B. adolescentis
    • B. animalis
    • B. bifidum
    • B. breve
    • B. infantis
    • B. lactis
    • B. longum
  • Other species
    • Bacillus sutilis
    • Enterococcus faecalis
    • Enterococcus faecium
    • Escherichia coli
    • Lactococcus lactis
    • Leucnostoc meseteroids
    • Pediococcus acidilactici
  • And so much more


Vitamins and supplements that may boost your energy.

If you are in a CFS crash and looking for relief, vitamins and supplements may help. Do not take unless under the guidance of a health care provider knowledgeable in herbs and vitamins. Supplements and vitamins to talk to your health care provider about include:


Rhodiola Rosea


Vitamin B12




Beetroot Powder

If you are looking for supplements, but unsure which one to pick, check out

Fullscript - list of Dr. Karin's Favorite supplements Dr. Karin has created a list of supplements she approves of. Click Here to check it out.

One cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a faulty “sewage system”

Having treated fibromyalgia for over 20 years, I, Dr. Karin (functional chiropractor) have noticed that people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome tend to have more muscle tension and lymphatic buildup.  They tend to have more swelling in the extremities, tender lymph nodes, and respond well to lymphatic drainage therapies. 

What is the lymphatic system?


Click here for our page that explains the lymphatic system. Or check out:

The lymphatic system is a very important system of the body, but many do not even know what it is or that we have one.  Most people know that we have a heart that pumps the blood, which delivers much needed oxygen and nutrients to every cell in the body and carries the de-oxygenated blood to the lungs and our metabolic waste to the liver, kidneys and other detoxing organs, so we can clear out the waste of metabolism.

But did you know that when blood flows into capillary beds, fluid leaves the vessels to bring nutrients to the cells in the tissues, and not all of this fluid makes it back to the veins?

This extra fluid is called lymph.

This lymphatic fluid is full of cell waste. Lymph also carries the infection fighting white blood cells throughout the body. 

The lymphatic system is a one-way system, moving lymph from the waste producing cells back to the thoracic duct near the collar bones, where this toxin filled fluid is dumped back into the blood.


Image above is showing the direction of the flow of the lymph.

Image below shows where the lymph dumps from the lymphatic vessels back into the blood of the sub clavicular vein (blue). 

lymph drainage into the thoracic duct

Once the lymph fluid is back in the blood, it goes to the heart where it is pumped to the lungs for oxygenation, then back to the heart where it is pumped out and split up to supply blood to every cell in the body.

Some of these branches take the blood to our organs, where it can be filled with nutrients (from our digestive system) cleaned by our liver (which removes most of the lactic acid), spleen and eventually the excess waste is peed out of our body when it flows through the filtering system of the kidneys. 

The waste has a long way to go from the cells that produced the waste, back to the heart, through the lungs, back to the heart to finally make it to the liver (which clears out waste) and kidneys (where it can be peed out). 

How does the lymph move through the lymph vessels 

if there is no "heart" or some pump like the circulatory system has?

Remember, the waste from the feet have to make it all the way to the collar bone region. That is a long way, and usually has to work against gravity. The lymphatic system can pump the fluid against gravity without a heart because the lymph vessels have smooth muscle that contract to move the fluid along. There are one-way valves along the lymphatic vessels that prevent the lymph from back flowing from the effects of gravity. Plus, when the muscles surrounding the lymphatic vessels contract and relax, this action helps pump the lymphatic fluid along. 

How can this system fail? 

By sitting too much.

While you’re sitting, your hips are bent, and the hip flexor muscles are in a contracted and shortened state.  This impairs the lymphatic and venous drainage out of your legs, increasing your risk of back up of not only the lymph but also the blood of the veins. This can lead to feet swelling and varicose veins.

Worse, you’re at greater risk of deep vein thrombosis, a potentially fatal condition where a blood clot forms in a vein, breaks off, travels through the circulatory system and gets stuck in the lungs, blocking blood supply to the lungs (a pulmonary embolism) which without medical treatment can be fatal. 

At a minimum, prolonged sitting increases swelling of the legs, and over time, the swelling can become uncomfortable and even painful.  


People of suffer from fibromyalgia often think they have plantar fasciitis, because they feel severe foot pain when they first stand up.  Upon further questioning, I come to find out their pain improves with walking.  This quickly tells me they don’t have plantar fasciitis, but likely are experiencing pain of swollen lower extremities. 

When feet are swollen, it hurts to bear weight for the first time.  As the person moves around, the swelling drains, and the pain lessens. It doesn’t take a noticeable amount of swelling to be painful.  These patients are often relieved to find out they don’t need to buy expensive orthotics. 

Feet can swell from standing on the feet for long periods of time on a regular basis, flying in airplanes, long commutes (sitting too long without moving), genetic weakness of the valves of the vessels (blood and lymph) allowing backflow of fluid, or damaged vessels.

Back flow puts even more pressure on the valves below, causing them to stretch.  Like a balloon, once stretched, it’s easier to stretch again, making the valves less able to hold back further back flow.  

To relieve their pain, they just need to do the Foot ABC’s for Lymphatic Drainage (CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE on foot pain) and elevate their feet often.  

lymph drainage

This drains the lower extremities of the excess lymphatic fluid.

If you have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, try lymphatic drainage massage.

CLICK HERE to learn more.


How to drain lymph from the breast, by Dr. Karin, Functional Chiropractor:

lymphatic drainage for fibromyalgia

Diet for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome:

Remember people with chronic fatigue syndrome tend to have a weak lymphatic, immune to gastro-intestinal system. So if your body has difficulty removing toxins and absorbing nutrients, then eat high nutrient foods and avoid food that has preservatives, chemicals (food coloring, artificial flavoring) and other inflammatory ingredients like sugar.

Make sure to drink enough water.

If you have food allergies, avoid those foods, as you do not have the extra energy to spare to deal with these inflammatory causing foods.

Try to replace as much food with organic as possible. Click the button below to learn more about healthier eating for chronic fatigue syndrome.

healthy food

Again, to combat any dis-ease, including chronic fatigue syndrome, you need to eat well, sleep well and move well.

Healthy sleep

With chronic fatigue syndrome, you may feel too tired to work out, but movement is life. So find activities that energize you and avoid work outs that wipe you out.


Stress over time can lead to chronic fatigue and pain. If you are under prolonged emotional stress, and are holding back tears, this can negatively impact your health.

If you want to learn how tears affect your health (and how holding back tears can contribute to chronic pain), check out:

To learn more about how we treat here at Drummond Chiropractic, CLICK HERE.

To go back to our home page, CLICK HERE.

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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Functional Health Chiropractor Experts

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Bloomington, IN

(812) 336 - 2423

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