Is it Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Just the Flu?

What Causes Flu-like Symptoms for Months? Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Anywhere from 836,000 to 2.5 million people in the United States suffer from CFS, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC provides several case studies of people with chronic fatigue syndrome; people in half of those case studies said they initially thought they had the flu, until their symptoms became severe or when they realized their fatigue was lasting much longer than it should. This is because the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome are similar to flu symptoms.

Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Versus the Flu

CFS symptoms usually begin suddenly, with symptoms that resemble the flu. The flu-like symptoms associated with chronic fatigue syndrome may last a lifetime.

Symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome include:

  • Profound fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches
  • Joint pain, which sometimes travels from one joint to another
  • Back or neck pain
  • Digestive disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome
  • Foggy head, difficulty concentrating, memory loss
  • A recurring sore throat
  • Enlarged or tender lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Unrefreshing sleep
  • Night sweats
  • Mood swings/Irritability
  • Depression
  • Anxiety/Panic attacks

Many of CFS symptoms are similar to the symptoms you might feel when you have influenza. Symptoms of the flu include:

  • Profound fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Body aches
  • Digestive disorders, such as diarrhea
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose and sneezing

Clearly, chronic fatigue syndrome and the flu share many symptoms. Furthermore, both can cause symptoms that last for a long time. Body aches and other symptoms associated with the flu can last for several days, according to Hopkins Medical Center, but the fatigue can last for two weeks or more. Because of this, it is very easy to mistake symptoms of CFS with symptoms of the flu.

Diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

There are no tests for chronic fatigue syndrome, and other illnesses can cause similar symptoms so doctors must diagnose CFS by ruling out other illnesses and causes. To do this, they ask about medical history, family history, current illnesses, symptoms. Next, the healthcare professional performs a thorough physical and mental health exam. Lastly, doctors rule out other illnesses and eliminate other causes, such as food intolerances and subluxations that cause misalignments in the spine.

Treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

There is currently no cure for CFS but there are treatments that reduce the symptoms of chronic fatigue. Because people can experience chronic fatigue syndrome in very different ways, personalized treatment plans are often the most effective.

Treatments may include:

Professional counseling

Therapists can help you develop strategies to cope with CFS and the effects it has on your daily life and relationships.

Balanced diet

A balanced diet provides the nutrients your body needs to function as well as it can, which gives you the best physical advantage possible.

Nutritional supplements

These supplements boost the levels of those nutrients that provide energy, reduce aches and clear your brain. As with any supplement or drug, consult with a healthcare professional before taking.

Complementary therapies

Therapies, like meditation, gentle massage, deep breathing, or relaxation therapy, can alleviate symptoms.

If you think you have chronic fatigue syndrome, make an appointment with BackFit Health + Spine. Our team of health professionals take an integrated approach to improving wellness, and will personally tailor a program specifically targeted to relieve your chronic fatigue syndrome. Make your appointment at one of our convenient BackFit Health + Spine locations by calling 1-877-BACKFIT

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