Post-Viral Fatigue and CFS: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment
- Post-Viral Fatigue Syndrome(PVFS)
- Post-Infectious Fatigue
- Long-Haul COVID
- Chronic Post COVID-19 Syndrome (CPCS)
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
Symptoms of Post-Viral Fatigue
Causes and Risk Factors of Post-Viral Fatigue
- Having a high chronic stress load prior to contracting the virus
- Having experienced trauma prior to contracting the virus
- Experiencing a severe viral infection (although some people who experience a mild viral illness also develop post-viral fatigue)
How Post-Viral Fatigue is Diagnosed
Diagnosing post-viral fatigue is often difficult, as its symptoms overlap with many other health conditions, and is often done by process of elimination. A medical professional will begin the diagnostic process by assessing your symptoms, taking your medical history, and performing a physical exam. Blood tests will also be run to rule out common sources of fatigue, such as hypothyroidism or anemia.
Post-viral fatigue will likely be diagnosed if:
- Other medical conditions are ruled out.
- Your symptoms reflect those of post-viral fatigue.
- Your symptoms appeared following a viral infection.
- Your symptoms don’t abate despite rest and self-care.
How Post-Viral Fatigue is Treated
Because most medical professionals don’t yet fully understand that post-viral fatigue is a limbic system disorder, there aren’t any precise treatment protocols commonly offered through mainstream medicine. In traditional or mainstream medicine, treatment generally focuses on managing symptoms while alternative medicine tends to focus on reducing an individual’s viral load and reducing inflammation. Unfortunately, both of these approaches don’t address the root neurological cause of post-viral fatigue.
Before we delve into how to treat post-viral fatigue from a neurological perspective, let’s discuss common traditional and alternative treatment options and the advantages and disadvantages of each approach.
Reducing daily activities to conserve energy
The most commonly suggested treatment is rest. This means relaxing or sleeping when you feel tired (which may be all the time), getting at least 8 to 9 hours of sleep a night, and reducing daily activities. This method is aimed at conserving energy and giving the body the downtime it needs to recover.
While it might seem that rest is helping in the moment, it doesn’t ultimately address the root cause of the condition, which is cross-wiring in the limbic system. Additionally, relying on getting excessive rest to function can significantly hinder every aspect of your life, from productivity to relationships to your sense of well-being.
Taking pain medication can help ease the muscle and joint pain that often comes with post-viral fatigue. Managing pain can help improve the quantity and quality of your sleep at night, which may help reduce fatigue during the day. Taking pain medication may provide temporary relief, but it does nothing to address the root neurochemical cause of post-viral fatigue.
Some people report feeling more rested after practicing relaxation techniques, such as yoga, deep breathing, or meditation, or receiving a relaxing treatment, such as acupuncture, massage, or reiki. These therapies may provide temporary relief and help calm an overactive stress response to a certain degree, however, they fail to address the conditioned pathways in the brain that are causing the post-viral fatigue symptoms.
Diet & detoxification
Some medical practitioners, especially naturopaths, functional medicine doctors, and integrative medicine doctors, will suggest a certain diet or detoxification protocol aimed at lowering a patient’s viral load. This treatment method is based on the theory that a latent virus is the cause of the post-viral fatigue symptoms.
Individuals may see some improvement in their symptoms through detoxification, likely due to a reduction in inflammation, however, most people aren’t able to fully resolve their symptoms via this route. This is because a latent virus isn’t the root cause of the symptoms. A latent virus may be contributing to symptoms to a certain degree, but it’s only able to do so because of a weakened immune system, which is caused by limbic system dysfunction. Once the limbic system dysfunction is addressed, the immune system will return to its normal strength, enabling it to naturally keep the virus at bay.
How We Approach Post-Viral Fatigue
How to Live and Cope with Post-Viral Fatigue
There are many suggestions out there for living and coping with post-viral fatigue, some of which include resting, joining a support group, and practicing relaxation techniques. While all of these things are good practices and could offer some short-term benefit, they don’t get to the root of your post-viral fatigue symptoms.
At re-origin, we believe that nobody should have to live or cope with post-viral fatigue. We want you to recover, eliminating the need for coping mechanisms altogether. Our program involves applying an easy-to-follow, five-step neurocognitive technique to override and rewire faulty conditioning in the brain and create new, functional neural pathways. The key to overcoming post-viral fatigue lies in systematically applying our techniques and being persistent in your efforts. With dedication and repetition, you can change your brain and thus, its physiological impact on your body. You don’t have to live with post-viral fatigue and we are excited to help you reclaim your life. You can learn more about our program with a free trial at re-origin.com/freetrial.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about post-viral fatigue and how to recover from it:
Simply put, persistent fatigue is characterized by extreme fatigue or tiredness that doesn’t go away.
Characteristics of persistent fatigue may include not feeling rested upon awakening in the morning, difficulties with memory, focus, and concentration, and dizziness that worsens when going from lying down to sitting or standing.
There are several potential causes of persistent fatigue, so it’s important to schedule an appointment with your doctor to rule out any health conditions that need attention. Some common causes of persistent fatigue include:
- Liver disease
- Heart disease
- Lung disease (COPD)
- A bacterial or viral infection
- Allergies/hay fever
If your doctor cannot find an underlying medical cause for your persistent fatigue, you may be suffering from a limbic system disorder, such as post-viral fatigue, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, or postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). Thankfully, re-origin can help you recover from these limbic system disorders using its neuroplasticity-based brain re-training techniques.
A Final Word from re-origin
- Townsend L, Dyer AH, Jones K, Dunne J, Mooney A, Gaffney F, et al. (2020) Persistent fatigue following SARS-CoV-2 infection is common and independent of severity of initial infection. PLoS ONE 15(11): e0240784. Available from: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0240784
- Kreher, J. B., & Schwartz, J. B. (2012). Overtraining syndrome: a practical guide. Sports health, 4(2), 128–138. https://doi.org/10.1177/1941738111434406. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3435910/