What is fatigue? We all get tired. Very few people get the rest that they need to feel refreshed, energized and focused all of the time. Most of us get enough rest to function but not enough for us to be top of our game. Usually, a good night’s sleep will leave us feeling refreshed and ready to tackle whatever the day sends our way. However, there is a difference between tiredness and fatigue.
What is FATIGUE?
Medically, fatigue is a non-specific symptom which means that it has many possible causes. It is considered a symptom because it is a subjective feeling rather than a specific objective sign that can be observed by others.
Although physical and mental fatigue are different, the two often exist together – if a person is physically exhausted for long enough, they will also be mentally tired. When somebody experiences physical fatigue, it means they cannot continue functioning at their normal levels of physical ability. Mental fatigue, however, is more slanted towards feeling sleepy and being unable to concentrate properly.
Fatigue and feelings of fatigue can very often be confused.
Physical fatigue, or muscle fatigue, is the temporary physical inability of a muscle to perform optimally. The onset of muscle fatigue during movement is gradual, and depends upon an individual’s level of physical fitness and other factors too, such as sleep deprivation and overall health. Physical fatigue can be caused by 3 things:
- a reduction of the drive originating from the central nervous system (brain and spine),
- a decrease of the efficiency of the connection between the nerves and the muscles or,
- lack of energy in the muscle.
Mental fatigue is a temporary inability to maintain optimal cognitive performance. The onset of mental fatigue during any cognitive activity is gradual, and depends upon an individual’s cognitive ability and upon other factors, such as sleep deprivation and overall health. Mental fatigue has also been shown to decrease physical performance. It can manifest as drowsiness, lethargy, or directed attention fatigue.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) is a diagnosis we are coming across more often. It is characterized by extreme fatigue that cannot be explained by any underlying condition. It can worsen with physical or mental activity, but doesn’t improve with rest. There can be a lack of concentration and difficulty in focusing on simple daily tasks; from getting up and getting dressed, to being able to get to and from work, or planning and cooking simple meals. The feeling of extreme tiredness and exhaustion can last for a day or more.
People with CFS can experience other symptoms too. Pain in the joints, swelling of lymph nodes, pain that moves around the body, tender or painful muscles without explanation, headaches and memory loss, to name a few.
How can Chiropractic help with fatigue?
The nervous system is responsible for communication between your brain and your body and when it’s not functioning properly, all other system in the body suffer too. Subtle misalignments in the spine can cause interference in the nervous system. These misalignments, called ‘subluxations’ can affect the brain, spine or nerves. By performing safe, gentle and specific ‘adjustments’ Chiropractors can realign the spine and restore proper communication between the body and the brain.
“The more mechanically distorted the body is, the less energy there is for healing, metabolism and thought.” – Dr Roger Sperry, Nobel Laureate
Improving your brain-body connection allows your body to function at its best. Your brain will be able to better focus its attention on healing and regeneration and unlock more energy for general use.
If you or someone you know is experiencing fatigue, recommend that they get checked by a Chiropractor.
Watch the video here to find out more about Chiropractic.