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- What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is genuine
- Support and information
- How is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome diagnosed?
- How is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome treated?
- Compensation for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Why do you need a specialist solicitor for your Chronic Fatigue Syndrome compensation claim?
- What will happen when you call us?
What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), also referred to as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), is one of a number of conditions caused by changes to the central nervous system (CNS). When this happens, the CNS becomes highly sensitive, requiring less stimulation to provoke symptoms such as overwhelming fatigue, pain, insomnia, headaches, nausea, flu-like symptoms and problems with memory and concentration.
Other conditions caused by central sensitisation include Fibromyalgia, Coccydynia and Da Costa’s Syndrome. Doctors now recognise that these conditions all belong to the same group with a shared underlying cause. To that extent, the various diagnostic ‘tags’ are now considered unhelpful because their use suggests the existence of entirely different conditions, when in reality there is a lot of overlap. For example, many of our clients diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are concurrently diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.
New, more general, names have now been coined to help address the confusion, but have yet to be widely accepted or used; most commonly ‘central sensitisation syndrome’.
“When my ME returned with a vengeance following a road accident I was so lucky to find Bruce Dyer and BLB. Bruce is so knowledgeable, understanding and supportive. The other side fought the claim tooth and nail but Bruce was always so positive and we came through in the end.” AS (£282,500 recovered), October 2017
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is genuine
Fortunately, unlike in the past, these conditions are now generally accepted by doctors as genuine and a broad consensus agrees they are associated with abnormalities of neural processing within the central nervous system resulting in normal bodily sensations being perceived as unpleasant and distressing. Chemical, electrical, physical and functional changes have been identified in the brains of sufferers. In other words, objective signs have been recognised. A number of factors are thought to be involved in making some people more susceptible, including genetics.
Support and information
Understandably, many people suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME) would say that they exist rather than live with the condition. Extreme tiredness and other symptoms means that carrying out everyday activities is very difficult and often impossible. Whilst lifestyle changes can help to a limited extent it can also be helpful to talk to and share your experiences with other sufferers.
There are many online forums and groups and in the UK and the ME Association is proactive in supporting sufferers and providing information and other resources.
How is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome diagnosed?
Whilst chemical, electrical, physical and functional changes have been identified in the brains of sufferers, there is currently no specific test to diagnose Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME).
There are guidelines for doctors to follow to help them diagnose the condition, but ultimately the diagnosis is one of exclusion, ie by excluding all other likely conditions.
The doctor will determine your symptoms by taking a full medical history and carrying out a physical examination. As some of the symptoms of ME are similar to those of other conditions, the doctor will wish to confirm or exclude the presence of those other conditions. This may involve testing blood and urine. Typically, the doctor will be looking for signs of conditions such as an underactive thyroid gland, diabetes, liver and kidney problems or anaemia.
“I really can’t imagine where I’d be now if I hadn’t found you. You’re so kind and understanding. If it hadn’t been for your constant encouragement I don’t think I’d have been able to see the claim through. Thank you so much.” EF (£146,000 recovered), October 2017
How is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome treated?
There is no one treatment for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME); treatment to relieve the symptoms is tailored to you. In recent years, as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has gained mainstream acceptance, specialist services have become increasingly available. These services adopt a multi-disciplinary approach, with input from:
- specialist doctors and nurses;
- occupational therapists;
- cognitive behavioural therapists;
Typically, treatment will involve a combination of:
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) which refers to a range of talking/counselling based therapies which focus on how your thoughts, beliefs and attitudes affect your feelings and behaviour. The aim of CBT is to help you to accept your condition and to develop coping skills.
- Medication is prescribed to help address symptoms such as pain, nausea and insomnia. One of the most common medications used is Amitriptyline, which is a tricyclic antidepressant. Despite its antidepressant label, it can aid sleep and help to relieve muscle pain.
- Graded Exercise Therapy (GET) is a structured exercise programme that begins slowly and increases over time. It should be a programme that is tailored to your needs by a trained therapist. It usually involves exercises such as walking or swimming which, whilst gentle, nevertheless increases your heart rate. Achievement goals are set which increase over time. GET has been the subject of some controversy. Whilst many experts argue that it is proven and safe, it has been argued that it can lead to serious relapses.
- Vitamins B9 (Folic Acid) and B12.Vitamin B12 plays an important role in ensuring the normal function of the brain and the nervous system. Folic acid, which is also known as vitamin B9 or folate, is most commonly associated with pregnant women, who take it as a supplement during pregnancy to reduce the risk of birth defects in the developing child. Research has demonstrated that the benefits of taking folic acid in conjunction with vitamin B12 were particularly beneficial to those diagnosed as suffering both ME and Fibromyalgia. It was also found that higher doses of these supplements led to a greater reduction in symptoms. But a word of caution…it was also found that those who took folic acid and vitamin B12 in addition to daily doses of certain medications – Duloxetine, Pregabalin and opiate-based painkillers – benefitted less from taking the supplements. Despite that, doctors treating both ME and Fibromyalgia commonly explore with their patients ways of incorporating these supplements into their daily medication regime.
Compensation for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Just like other conditions of central sensitisation, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome can develop following an accident or injury. If that happens you may be entitled to compensation.
“I have to say that at first I was sceptical that you really understood what I was going through but you’ve proved that you absolutely do know your onions! Thank you for everything.” MP (£185,000 recovered), January 2018
Why do you need a specialist solicitor for your Chronic Fatigue Syndrome compensation claim?
Over the years, we have worked with many people who, following an accident, have developed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and/or other conditions of central sensitisation. As a result we have developed not only an unrivalled understanding of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but also excellent working relationships with many of the country’s leading medical experts in the condition. As Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Solicitors, this is knowledge and expertise we use daily for our clients’ benefit.
We understand the fundamental importance of seeking early specialist treatment and are regularly able to arrange funding for both treatment and to keep your head above water financially until your claim settles.
In summary, what you can expect when you instruct us is:
- access to the leading experts in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome to get you the specialist medical help you so desperately need;
- regular requests for early interim payments to help you financially and to fund the cost of treatment and rehabilitation as recommended by the medical experts;
- consideration as to whether you would benefit from a medically qualified case manager to co-ordinate your treatment, rehabilitation, purchase of specialist equipment and any adaptations to your home.
What will happen when you call us?
For a free, confidential discussion, contact us either using the Contact Form, or call us on 01225 462871.
One of our specialist Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Solicitors will be waiting to speak with you. They will be able to talk through your situation and make a realistic assessment of how we can maximise your compensation and, crucially, help you to obtain the early, specialist treatment you need.