"Generally, both fatigue and pain often reflect an energy crisis in the body," says Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum. "If the body is no longer able to make energy, it’s tired."
Teitelbaum is coming to Savannah to discuss the causes and consequences of fatigue, fibromyalgia and chronic pain. He’s also going to talk about how to deal with them.
A board-certified internist and researcher, Teitelbaum is the author of two bestselling books, "From Fatigued to Fantastic" and "Pain Free 1 –2 –3: A Proven Program for Eliminating Chronic Pain Now." He also maintains an informational web site at endfatigue.com.
"Chronic fatigue results in poor sleep, hormonal problems, infections, nutritional deficiencies and chronic stress," Teitelbaum says. "The hypothalamus uses more energy for its size than any part of the body. Severe stress can cause it to blow a fuse."
With worries about the economy, more people than ever are being plagued by severe stress and the resultant burnout, Teitelbaum says. "You know you’ve blown a fuse when you can’t sleep even when you’re exhausted," he says. "When you’re exhausted and can’t sleep, you develop chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia."
Teitelbaum utilizes what he calls the SHINE protocol. Its components are S for sleep, H for hormones, I for infections, N for nutritional supplements and E for exercise.
Adequate sleep means eight to nine hours each night to replenish energy and promote healing, and lack of sleep can lead to infections. Hormone deficiencies can contribute to fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia deplete nutrients, and supplements may be needed, Teitelbaum said.
If patients use supplements and exercise as much as they are able, they should see significant results after 10 weeks, he says.
"What research has shown is that the SHINE protocol can help 91 percent of people with chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia," Teitelbaum says. "These are common issues, and when you treat the whole mix, people find their energy skyrockets.
"We’re going to teach people how to get their lives back," he says. "If they have fatigue or pain, we’ll teach people how to get well."
Triggers for chronic fatigue can include physical problems such as sleep disorders, including apnea. Also lifestyle changes, such has having a new baby, may cause a fuse to blow.
"These problems get so complex and people have so much trouble finding a doctor to treat it," Teitelbaum says. "They can use my web site, vitality101.com, to analyze their symptoms and tell what is causing the chronic fatigue and pain."
An estimated 6-12 million Americans have some form of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia. "Usually, chronic fatigue syndrome’s average duration is 8 years," Teitelbaum says. "If you have a mild case, you go on vacation and feel better."
But some people are affected so severely they are bedridden. "If it is full-blown, it will not resolve itself without treatment," Teitelbaum says. "If you have fatigue that’s gone on for at least three months, especially if you have brain fog, are tired, achy, and can’t sleep, those are the hallmarks."
Sometimes a person’s background has an effect. People who were sexually abused as a child are more likely to develop chronic fatigue.
"Having a hysterectomy at young age means a woman is three times as likely to have fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome," Teitelbaum says. "It is much more common in people with any severe stress."
Teitelbaum himself had chronic fatigue in 1975, when he was in medical school. "I was paying my own way and came down with what was called ‘drop-dead flu’," he says. "I had to drop out of medical school and was homeless.
"The funny thing is that I learned more about treating patients when I was homeless," Teitelbaum says. "I met people who taught me different things about how to get well, and have spent the last 30 years researching and helping others recover."
From Fatigued to Fantastic: Bring Back Your Vitality and Live Pain Free
The free lecture will be presented by Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum Feb. 18 from 7-9pm at the Charles H. Morris Center at Trustees’ Garden. It’s sponsored by Brighter Day Natural Foods. Call 236-4703 for more info.