Many publications and books have been published in popular media stating that there is a condition called adrenal fatigue. This condition is theorised to be caused by chronic exposure to stressful situations. Burnout syndrome or simply “burnout”, refers to a decrease in the cognitive functions, emotional exhaustion, and physical fatigue that is triggered by stressful situations and associated with excessive working.
Other symptoms of these conditions include feeling exhausted, irritable and unhappy. It is suggested in the lay press that the adrenal glands in these people function below the normal threshold, with the result that individuals feel tired and stressed. The internet is inundated with claims from people that they suffer from adrenal fatigue (1).
Adrenal fatigue, is a condition that some doctors dismiss because current research has not been able to exactly pinpoint and identify the chemicals that are imbalanced in this disorder.
These symptoms can be caused by a lot of other health conditions and it is very important that these things are screened for and eliminated. Some of these are sleep obstructive apnea syndrome, mental illnesses, hormonal deficiencies; liver and kidney dysfunctions, heart conditions, autoimmune diseases, among others (2). We definitely need to rule these things out. It is also interesting to note that in studies; fatigue is often associated with Chronic Low Back Pain (2).
James Wilson a PhD Doctor has a very interesting view. He states that the brain is constantly calculating how much stress hormone (cortisol) is releases so that our bodies perform appropriately. This calculation happens every 3-6 seconds. AMAZING! The system works with wonderful efficiency as long as the stresses are not too lasting, numerous or severe. But in current modern industrial society, this is often not the case. Stresses are often prolonged, abundant, multiple and intense. In addition, the nutrients used in greatly increased quantities during such high stress states are not replenished by the normal modern diet. Even in ‘healthy’ foods, nutrient quality has been diminished by the use of chemical fertilizers, which deplete the ground of the minerals and trace minerals necessary for plants to make and store the vitamin and phytonutrient rich food which existed previously (3). Thus, people today experiencing constant and multiple stressors have fewer nutrients to replenish challenged adrenals. He believes the number of people that have this condition is as high as 67% of the population!
Dr Wilson states that as incapacitating and severe as adrenal fatigue can be and as bad as it can make people feel, its saving grace is that the right kind of therapy is nearly always successful. Fortunately, most aspects of this therapy are already used by many conscientious practitioners. At Little Sprouts we find it very helpful to manage all of the underlying dysfunctions present, and this is how we help you manage adrenal fatigue symptoms. These include lifestyle modification, stress management techniques, adjustments to diet, and nutritional supplementation and of course helping you manage your pain.