Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS/ME) and your Bad Back

So how is a bad back and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome related ? Well first off, it might not be, because when you go to a doctor and say you feel “tired all the time”, a google search will reveal that “being whacked out” is a major symptom of pretty much every illness known and unknown and being diagnosed with CFS is often a case of “other” when no other illness diagnosis can be assigned.

Having said that, I have had several patients who have come for treatment for their bad back and after it has been fixed they then tell me “oh my CFS has gone as well” – so first, your CFS might not have anything to do with your bad back – but here is how it might be… and often is:

So, you have a bad fall, maybe many decades in the past. This fall or knock jams your vertebrae together in area where the trauma occurred, but often there is a shock wave that runs up and causes damage to other areas of the spine as well – sometimes the whole spine.

Now it is often said that the heart pumps the blood around the body. Well it doesn’t. It pumps it away from the heart to the tissues, to get back to the heart, you rely on gravity and “the muscle pump”, to a large extent, as the power of the heart beat on the return route is quite weak. The lymph system, which has twice the volume of the blood system, and whose job it is to clear away toxins and debris, however relies entirely on gravity and “the muscle pump” to move lymph around and clear the tissues of waste. “The muscle pump”? this is quite simply every time you move a muscle it squashes the blood vessels and lymph vessels in and around it and this action moves the fluids along.

So, after this bad fall, you have your vertebrae jammed and a nerve signal is sent from the squashed vertebrae to the spinal muscles to go into a protective spasm to restrict movement and provide a protective corset for the spinal column. Now for small knocks this works well and when the damage is healed the nerve signal is switched off and things return to normal, but for a really serious issue this “protective spasm” remains for years even decades – and you may not even feel you have a bad back – This spasm is just a flexion of the muscle – like when you flex your biceps to show them off – it is not necessarily a cramp which would be painful. This is an important point that needs emphasising – your back does not have to be painful to have a “back back” that is causing you all sorts of health problems – it just needs to be in spasm – which is something that takes a bit of practice to spot as spasms are often not painful.

A quick Google of the “Sympathetic Nervous System”, that is run by what are known as “ganglion” – mini-brains – that lie in front of the spine, will tell you that: “The sympathetic nervous system activates what is often termed the fight or flight response” at the top of the page, and further down the page that: “The sympathetic nervous system is what makes your heart beat faster and your face flush when you see someone you fancy”.

Back Pain and CFS

So, there you are with a damaged spine for decades and hence a damaged Sympathetic Nervous System. The hardware for the Sympathetic Nervous System – these ganglion – which live along the spine (just in front) – have been living in a toxic swamp of stagnant tissues for years as the muscle pump has not worked to properly drain the tissues that surround them.

As your Sympathetic Nervous System is damaged, this alone can cause your chronic fatigue as your Sympathetic Nervous System controls and plays an important part in lots of vital body processes & repairs… including your immune system. There is not an organ or a cell in the body that the Sympathetic Nervous System does not effect. If you then get a nasty bug or the like when you are at this chronically weakened point; you may then get full-blown ME. Also, with your fight & flight mechanism not working well (again your Sympathetic Nervous System… it’s busy !)  you’ll tend to want to “stay in the cave” a lot more and not be so active, such physical stagnation and lack of fresh air etc has knock on health effects.  But now for the good news…  

Your Sympathetic Nervous System has an opposite twin, which was discovered later, called the Parasympathetic Nervous system. Why ‘opposite’ ?  Your Sympathetic Nervous System is nicknamed “Fight and Flight” while your Parasympathetic Nervous System is nicknamed the opposite: “Rest & Digest”. The Sympathetic and Parasympathetic nervous systems work with each other by working against each other: They are always “On”, always working : So there is always a signal, constant “Fight & Flight” signal from your Sympathetic Nervous System and a constant “Rest and Digest” signal from your Parasympathetic Nervous system; but the strength of these signals vary depending on the situation allowing for super fast switching from one dominant state one to the other. For example, when the stomach is empty, the Sympathetic Splanchnic ganglion in your thoracic (chest) area, detects this empty stomach and sends a strong Sympathetic “stop digesting” signal that is strong enough to counteract the Parasympathetic signal to this area to “keep digesting” and this strong signal switches off stomach acid production. The two systems working like this allow fast switching, which is super useful if you turn the corner and see a lion in front of you. “Stop digesting now right now, instantly and re-assign blood on digestive duty to the legs, arms heart etc right this very moment… or there may not be any more moments ever” ! If the Sympathetic signal to switch off stomach acid is not strong enough due to a damaged spine in this area – then the continued acid production in your empty stomach will damage the stomach lining and will wreak havoc in the rest of the digestive tract:  the gut biome – the bacteria in the lower guts – will be damaged and altered, the acid will burn the thin walls of the intestine causing leaks and will reduce the ability of the walls to absorb vital nutrients. It’ll cause polyps, ulcers… all the big GI (Gastro Intestinal) issues.  

Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is now near universally blamed for ulcers but there might be more to the story a) This discovery happened in 1985, but it wasn’t till 2005 that they won the Nobel prize for it 

as… well it had to wait till the patent on the Big Pharma “treatment” – Zantac ended in 1997 and then for the income of Big Pharma Glaxo ( to fall over the next few years due to generic versions taking their market before recognition was allowed by the money men (aka your pension fund !).

The question is though, H-Pylori reduces stomach acid and where you eliminate it – without fixing the back – people then get Gerd, so it may well have a protective effect

Whereas all your Sympathetic Nervous System is vulnerable to physical damage – due to the hardware, the Ganglion, being along the spine, so that damage to your spine will cause damage to your Sympathetic Nervous system, your Parasympathetic Nervous system largely consists of one huge nerve – called the Vagus nerve – that is mainly deep inside the body and so is rarely damaged except as it travels through the neck alongside the major veins and arteries for the brain, so if that part was damaged enough to damage the Vagus nerve, you’d be dead along time ago anyway ! (The other bit where the Parasympathetic Nervous system is also vulnerable are the pelvic splanchnic parasympathetic ganglion in the Sacrum – a useful anatomy video that covers a lot of this).

There is a bit of a fashion at the moment for the Vagus Nerve: “Heal your Vagus Nerve for a better life” themed books and articles all over the place, but like lots of fashions, it is misplaced. The Vagus nerve is rarely, if ever, a problem as it is deep in the body and well protected from trauma injury. It is the Sympathetic side of things – with the ganglion hardware lying along the spine – that is vulnerable to the effects of spinal trauma injury.

There are 4 major sets of Sympathetic Ganglion: The Stellate Ganglion at the mid to the base of the neck, the Splanchnic in the middle of the thoracic area, the Lumbar Ganglion in the lumbar region and the Sacral Splanchnic Ganglion. (Splanchnic means connects directly with Internal organs of the abdomen) . They do more than “Fight and Flight”: They do lots of monitoring of damage to organs and limbs and control of the repair work needed, they also play a large role in the Immune system – they quite likely do lots of other things as yet unknown. The ganglion sit in front of the spine right next to loads of very important lymph nodes. If the ganglion are blocked, these nodes may also be blocked – once again dramatically lowering the effectiveness of the immune system. A patient of mine once told me that when he was a child, his mother ran a hospice for the dying. “Time and time again over the years, those with cancer had really bad backs”… worth a think about.

How to fix ME/CFS: The big thing you need to do is get your back and/or neck fixed. This then gets your Sympathetic Nervous System up and running again which does all sorts of good things like get your immune system back up to full speed and it allows proper “switch-off stomach acid production” messages to be sent so your digestive tract is not being burnt by excess stomach acid, so you can then fully absorb the nutrients from your food. Some people recover quickly from CFS after their back is fixed but for others, even once the main cause has been fixed, it can take a while of convalescence to build up strength and full health again.

CFS/ME websites have a lot of useful ideas looking at lots of the usual suspects: mercury in dental fillings, aluminium in vaccines, WIFI and other EMF damage, food sensitivities…  These and other such baddies are well worth a look at – but this short blog is about a major one – maybe the major baddie – that is not even mentioned.

I myself used to have severe scoliosis and I was also diagnosed with CFS, I was exhausted all day long and looked forward all day to going back to bed. I always saw these two things as separate issues until I got my scoliosis dramatically reduced by the ASMI machine… and I suddenly had my energy back. So, it worked for me, it has worked for several of my patients… it might work for you. Prior to this ASMI treatment I had had standard osteopathic treatment – back cracking – It didn’t do anything noticeable for either my scoliosis or CFS, it was only the ASMI that made the difference.

The techniques you see in this video: EMS – Electro Muscular Stimulation, US – Ultrasound & this ASMI Advanced Spinal Mobilisation Machine video are the same techniques I use on CFS/ME patients, and it usually works to fix them or improve them. Instruct your local therapist to treat you like this. 

While you find an ASMI therapist, there is something you can do immediately that should start to help: sleep on an Inclined Bed Head High>>Feet Low as this helps gravity drain the lymph at night time. If you are too far away from an ASMI therapist, then the Ultrasound and EMS are very powerful in themselves and may get the job done for you.

Therapists note: the neck of a CFS/ME patient can be very delicate. Start with the EMS on very light mode, and if fine build up gently to higher powers – use the EMS on your own neck to get a feel for what the different strengths mean, we are trying to get the muscle pump working again but we don’t want too much compression on the discs in the neck, so light to medium is what is needed. But be aware any strength of EMS may be too much for them so just Ultrasound alone may be needed to be used. If they are prone to dizzy spells this is an indicator that EMS needs to be delayed till these have stopped. Over the years of doing this I have had one patient who could not tolerate the Ultrasound, three patients who could not tolerate the EMS. If still too delicate, it may be an idea to send them to a cranial osteopath first to see what improvements their delicate, but often quite effective, approach can achieve.

Words: The world of CFS/ME is stuck in what seems like an eternal loop: a fight around the name: “It’s ME ! – How dare anyone call ME/CFS” etc. Decades have been wasted on this and they get quite nasty on this topic – more on this distinctive feature a bit later as I think it’s an actual symptom of CFS/ME …so give them some space. The trick is not to get dragged into the word game – it is going nowhere. But for a quick moment lets look at the words:

The “Myalgic” in ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) means muscle pain – what’s it doing there ? Muscle pain is not a symptom of ME. But when this term was first coined by Dr. Melvin Ramsay at the Royal Free hospital, where it was diagnosed in 1955, it was such a big feature, that it got first place in the name. A bunch of nurses at the hospital came down with a heavy fatigue and they had muscle pain all over. A few years earlier, another term was used:  “epidemic neuromyasthenia” for the same sort of disease that appeared in Iceland in 1949 – and so was also called Icelandic Disease – again, at this time, muscle pain was a huge feature. Nowadays we would likely diagnose these two outbreaks as Polymyalgia or Fibromyalgia depending where the pain was. Dr. Ramsay’s thinking was: we can see they have muscle pain – but there is no damage to the muscles – so that must be neurological: some sort of problem with the nerves, probably coming from the spinal cord or brain or maybe both. So the spinal cord got a mention in the “myel”, the brain got a mention in the “encephalo”… and lets stick the tried and trusted inflammation ending we stick on everything: “itis”. This gets us to the suitably scary diagnosis of “Myalgic Encephalomyelitis” – where the true diagnosis should have been “We-don’t-have-a-clue-an-itis”. He didn’t stick a shout out for the fatigue in there – maybe he didn’t know the Greek or Latin word for it. Of course, when they are utterly clueless about something they then stick the word “Syndrome” at the end of it all for good luck.

Myalgia is easy to confirm by a very accurate lab test called the ESR:  the “Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate” test. Where this is done with CFS/ME patients the results are usually negative – i.e. there is no “M” in “ME”.  As for the ‘E’ – the Encephalo-myel, your Encephalon – your brain – as a rule, it’s not inflamed in CFS/ME patients, but when, on the odd occasion, in the worst cases, it is – I’d not be surprised if all sorts of other organs were also inflamed as well – your stomach, liver… At base, CFS/ME is not a swollen brain issue disease. The “myel” part is your spinal cord – again, like the brain, is not an issue in the main, and if it does happen in the most severe cases, then it’ll be one of many things inflamed all over the body – so there is also n ‘E’ in ME ! 

I’d say, best guess, that what happened in Iceland and the Royal Free hospital was that it was some sort of experimental vaccine – or a contaminated bad batch of vaccines – given to nurses and sent off to Iceland as well and it caused Polymyalgia. It wasn’t contagious outside of these groups, so it’s likely not to have been a transmissible virus. What is described at the Royal Free and in Iceland is nothing like what CFS/ME is nowadays… but is is very similar to what you see here with this vaccine damaged patient… before he was fixed with the ASMI – Here is a video showing Polymyalgia getting cured by the ASMI after being caused by an experimental vaccine.

If this patient was back then, it would have been “Here you go Doc; another one of those”. The classic CFS/ME we have nowadays has no muscle pain as a major feature, so “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome” would seem now like a more appropriate term. “Post Viral Syndrome” is likely the most accurate – but for some people it is “post chemical toxin” or “post bacteria” or even “post major emotional shock”. “ME”, I’d say, is likely the least accurate – but I don’t care what you call it – this is not where the problem is. I do find that I tend to use the term “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome” the most myself as that sounds the least scary and most fixable and I tend to use the term ME for very serious cases – as this is the least likely to get me dragged of into “the loop” !

Post Exertional Malaise (PEM) – Some ME/CFS patients have this, other don’t. Frankly patients can get quite bitchy about it (see below): “If you don’t have PEM, then you don’t have CFS/ME”. The answer to this is no. When you had that trauma injury, it might have also caused a lot of injury to the neck as well. The mini-brain in front of the neck is called the Stellate Ganglion – it’s very busy, but one of its jobs is to send a signal to the heart to pump faster and stronger and dilate the coronary arteries that feed the heart with blood itself when activity demands it. If the Stellate Ganglion is not working well, then it sends a weak signal and when you do activity your heart does not get the extra blood it needs as the coronary arteries do not get dilated. The means your body does not get the blood it needs for the activity and you are literally “running on empty”, so your whole body then works on anaerobic respiration – like a what a sprinter uses, the lactic acid builds up all over the body whacks out your whole body – and you “crash”. Some people with CFS/ME suffer from this, others who have less damage to the neck, don’t (all fixable by the techniques used at GoodBack – that should be being used all over the world). A sprinter can pay off that oxygen debt in a few seconds to minutes by continued high levels of breathing and heart beat, someone with an underperforming Stellate Ganglion has no such balancing mechanism and recovery can takes days or weeks. It has taken decades for the previous recommendation of using GET – Graded Exercise Therapy – to be removed from the guidelines in the UK. That was decades to many. 

What does it look like ? It’s not always visible, but sometimes it is, like with this patient who came in suffering from deep exhaustion – see the base of the neck:

After one session of the GoodBack therapy all her energy came back “like a flick of a switch” – see the back of the neck after session:

Further details on how Stellate Ganglion mis-function effects the heart can be seen here .

I recently had an ME/CFS patient in who is nearly fixed after a 4 sessions. When I explained this mechanism of PEM to her she stopped me in slight shock:

“Wow ! I wear a fit-bit watch and it tells me my heart beat. When I have a crash, my heart beat slows down. It took me a few times to notice the connection and I’ve never read in anywhere, but yes ! that’s what happens to me in a crash. “Heart Beat Slows down” has “Parasympathetic dominance due to Sympathetic under performance due to her congested neck causing her Stellate Ganglion to underperform” written all over it. Her Fit bit won’t show it, but her coronary arteries will have been constricted as well – her heart has not enough blood to pump, her body has not enough blood to function… crash !

“Getting quite nasty” – I want to say a little bit more about this. There is not a general nastiness with people who have CFS/ME but there is a specific one – quite targeted:

If anyone says “Oh I had CFS/ME and I get better” on a social media page then they they are right royally set upon. This happens too often to not mean something. What’s going on ?

I think this is yet another pointer that we are dealing with the Sympathetic Nervous System. The Sympathetic Nervous System is deep and primordial. Anthropologists – people who spend their lives in the jungle watching chimpanzees to better understand the behaviour of football hooligans, party politicians and other such low lifes, report that if chimps leave the pack, and in doing so weaken it, then they are set upon by the pack members and torn to shreds. “Leaving the pack” and weakening it is a major threat to the survival of the pack. I think this sort of deep primordial response is being triggered in CFS/ME. If you have CFS/ME, there is a level of isolation and vulnerability: the only people who really “get it” are others who also have it …your “pack”.  Getting better and so “leaving the pack” is weakening the pack making you more vulnerable. Your primordial sympathetic nervous system detects this as a threat and responds to it in kind. If you have CFS/ME and hear of someone “leaving the pack”, try to override your primordial response and ask them “how did they get better ?”, What worked for them, may work for you or others you meet in future.

So in summary: CFS/ME is caused by a bad back / neck  – a physical trauma injury. This then messes up your Sympathetic Nervous System and this then messes up loads of other things in your body: Basic functions & repair don’t work as well as they should do. You can then add on a big shock: a virus, bacteria, toxin or emotional shock and, as the immune system is also not working well, this can knock you down and you will stay down. So either a back back/neck on it’s own, or a back back/neck… and then add a virus.

To fix it: fix the back/neck as shown in this video and use Inclined Bed Therapy. Recovery will be quick for some, slow for others and may need further assistance: vitamin injections, lots of bone broths, organ meat and the like to rebuild long depleted nutrients.

So what’s been the results of decades of scientific research into CFS/ME by the top brains on the planet with access to $Millions in research resources ?

Sadly, the world of politics makes sense when you see it that the main, and often sole, purpose of a politician – as the politician sees it – is to get re-elected. The world of science has a similar thing: The main, and often sole, purpose of medical research is to “make money out of sick people” Lots of complex issues make simple sense when you look at it from this aspect.

People with CFS/ME got dumped with such “$cience” with the PACE trials where it was ‘scientifically’ proved that GET – Graded Exercise Therapy and CBT – Cognitive Behaviour Therapy helped people with CFS/ME. They, on the whole, don’t. Worse still, on the whole… they make it worse as explained above. But Hey-Ho “the data” proved they work and CFS/ME patients were forced into this ‘therapy’ on pain of losing their sickness benefits that kept them away from starving to death on the street for many cruel years – only just recently overturned after huge amounts of hard work by many in the CFS/ME world. So when the question is asked, in an accusative tone: “Why don’t the CFS/ME scientists use this therapy or even look at it ? “, with the accusative tone meaning: “I’ll trust it only when the ‘top scientists’ sign it off”. Translating that question into the science version of Realpolitik it becomes: “If they can spend $millions researching pills etc that might show, in some data set, some slight improvement, they will strike gold and will make $billions by forcing this on the CFS/ME patients around the globe for decades to come, but if they use the GoodBack therapy they will only make what an average per hour physiotherapist makes, if that, and that’ll be less than what they currently make as a researcher looking down the microscope all day long – so how does that fit my: ‘make money out of sick people’ Policy ? Put in those terms… the question answers itself !

What about “Long Covid” ?

Covid, ball park, is… well was at the beginning, about 2 to 3 times stronger than a bad flu. When you have kicked out an infection, there is a short time where you are still rebuilding your strength. With Covid this period could easily last several weeks or months. So Covid has a “long tail”, and the solution to this is to wait it out, eat well , rest a lot… But if it is there  many months later and you are still not feeling better, then it may be time to treat it as CFS/ME as above – I have not had such a patient yet so I can’t say how well it works. With Covid, there seems to be an issue with blood clots blocking up things all over the place, I suspect that hyperbaric oxygen might work in this situation very well to drive out these old blood clots.

Nicotine patches for Long covid:  “The agonist ligand nicotine shows an up to 30-fold higher affinity to nACHRs than acetylcholine (ACh). We therefore hypothesize that this molecule could displace the virus from nAChR attachment and pave the way for unimpaired cholinergic signal transmission. Treating several individuals suffering from post-COVID-19 syndrome with a nicotine patch application, we witnessed improvements ranging from immediate and substantial to complete remission in a matter of days.”

What else ? So you are tired and exhausted all the time and you don’t have a problem with your back, where else to look ? Nothing shows up on the tests – not, Lyme disease – not anything. Well you might have had an infection in the past that has so knocked you out that your lymph nodes are blocked. This can happen anywhere, but the neck and under the chin – especially the tonsil nodes (the nodes that the tonsils drain into) – are a common culprit. It is an easy test – if you can feel them, then they are blocked. A 5 minute a day hard massage alone can de-block them, it may have to be assisted by use of Ultrasound & EMS. Occasionally the tonsils themselves may need to be removed if they have been wrecked by previous infections. In the same way that huge amounts of problems can be fixed by fixing the back, huge amounts of problems can be fixed by unblocking the lymph nodes

Anything else ?

To “provide evidence”, means one thing now: a £48 Million clinical trial. So the system is stitched up so that only Big Pharma can play.

So this will be ignored by the main steam , but …

Yes. I once met one person who, after years of CFS/ME tried some potassium tablets.., and after a week they came back to life again. They likely have some kidney issue that has caused that but you might be missing one vitamin or mineral… or be allergic to one food you are eating.

The Carnivore diet is very highly anti-inflammatory so should be very useful: 

Mega dosing with B1 has also have very good results for several people: here is one 

B1 Video 1

B1 Video 2

B1 Video 3

There are two forms of B1 that seem to work particularly well:

  1. TTFD Thiamine Tetrahydrofurfuryl Disulphide for gut related issues
  2. Benfotiamine for Neurological symptoms 

But there is the concern that at high levels the B1 is acting more a drug that can have side effects: Managing Side Effects of Thiamine Supplementation: The Paradoxical Reaction – YouTube

In the world of heart attacks, and contracted coronary arteries, are an issue here as well, they use GTN (glyceryl trinitrate) sprays & tablets when angina hits to dilate the coronary arteries. The best way to fix CFS/ME is to fix the the neck and back but GTN  might be something to look into for PEM crashes

Academic reference on the CFS/ME – Sympathetic Nervous System connection Symptoms of autonomic dysfunction in chronic fatigue syndrome

GoodBack – London Colney, UK