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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome ( CFS/ME ) and your bad back

Along the spine are a series of mini-brains called Ganglion.

These mini-brains form the hardware for what is called your Sympathetic Nervous System.

A quick Google of “Sympathetic Nervous System” 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”.

Your Sympathetic Nervous System has an opposite twin, which was discovered later, called the Parasympathetic Nervous system – why “opposite”? –

Well your Parasympathetic Nervous system is sometimes nicknamed “Rest & Digest”, while your Sympathetic Nervous System is nicknamed “Fight and Flight” and 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 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 is the pelvic splanchnic parasympathetic ganglion in the Sacrum. 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, a constant signal, from your Parasympathetic Nervous system to “rest and digest”, but when the stomach is empty, the sympathetic Splanchnic ganglion in your thoracic (chest) area detects this empty stomach and sends a stronger “stop digesting” signal that is strong enough to counteract the parasympathetic signal and so switch 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” !

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 it 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.

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 the damaged area and often this runs up the whole spine as well. 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 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.

So, there you are with a damaged spine for decades and hence a damaged Sympathetic Nervous System as the hardware – the ganglion – have been living in a toxic swamp of stagnant tissues for years as the muscle pump has not drained the tissues properly.

As your Sympathetic nervous system is damaged – so your immune system will also be damaged as well. If you then get a nasty bug when you are at this chronically weakened point you may then get the full-blown ME.

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.

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