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

So how is a bad back and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome related? Well first 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 these mini-brains, these ganglion, that lie along 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, as the hardware for the Sympathetic Nervous System – the 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.

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. 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 “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 thin the 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.  

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. (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 base of the neck, the Splanchnic in the middle of the chest 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. The ganglion are blocked, these nodes are also 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 it: the big thing you need to do is get your back 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 burnt by excess stomach acid so you can absorb the nutrients in 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.

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.

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 – but “getting quite nasty” – aka “being irritable” is a 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-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, 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 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” !

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

So in summary: CFS/ME is caused by a bad back – 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.

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

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.

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. 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 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 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: ‘make money out of sick people’ ? 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.

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