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The Most Checked Box on Patient Forms at Doctors’ Offices and What You Can Do About It

January 16, 2024

When you arrive for your doctor’s appointment, you typically have to fill out a form with a long list of conditions, such as headaches, dizziness, chest pain, diarrhea, and constipation.

The most frequently checked box, hands down, is fatigue.

When you leave the doctor’s office, everyone seems to be an authority on fatigue and what you should do about it, whether you’re talking to a family member, co-worker, mechanic, hair stylist, or restaurant server.

“Take more B vitamins.”

“Get a B12 shot.”

“You need to get more sleep.”

“Have an afternoon cup of coffee.”

“It’s all in your head. Just push through it.”

The problem is that fatigue is a very complicated, often misunderstood, and undertreated condition that can be the downstream byproduct of a more serious condition. Let’s take a look at what fatigue is, common causes of fatigue, and what you should do if you’re experiencing fatigue.

What Is Fatigue?

First, let’s clarify what fatigue is not. Fatigue is not feeling tired or drowsy, which can often be addressed with more rest and better sleep. Although drowsiness can be a symptom of fatigue, fatigue runs much deeper.

Fatigue is a lack of energy and overwhelming physical and mental exhaustion. Unlike drowsiness, fatigue is persistent and can affect everyday function and activities. Fatigue can also get worse with even minimal physical or mental activity.

Fatigue can be accompanied by lack of motivation, headaches, muscle aches, poor sleep, difficulty concentrating, depression, anxiety, and mood swings. Clearly, fatigue isn’t just about feeling tired.

What Causes Fatigue?

Many conditions and unhealthy habits we see every day at Natural Healthcare Center can cause fatigue, including but not limited to:

  • Prescription medication: Pain killers, antidepressants, anti-anxiety medication, muscle relaxants, etc.
  • Gastrointestinal (GI) conditions (diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, etc.): The GI system requires the most energy and, if sluggish, can drain your resources.
  • Pain: Back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, knee pain, headaches, and various forms of chronic pain.
  • Poor exercise habits: This typically involves overexertion, the wrong type of exercise, and inadequate recovery time.
  • Stress. Physical, mental, and emotional stress can take significant energy to process.
  • Thyroid conditions: Hypothyroidism (not enough thyroid hormone) and hyperthyroidism (too much thyroid hormone), both of which affect metabolism and energy levels.
  • Long-haul Covid: This is proving to be physically and neurologically debilitating for millions of Americans.
  • Chronic inflammation: Unfortunately, the vast majority of the population consumes a largely inflammatory diet, which is only made worse by many of the conditions and habits listed here.

The point here is that fatigue is not a condition or a topic of conversation that should be taken lightly. Like many health conditions, fatigue is often neglected until it becomes severe. While fatigue is the most reported condition at doctors’ offices, it is also most likely to go untreated or undertreated with band-aid therapy. 

What Should You Do If You’re Experiencing Fatigue?

First, become educated about what fatigue is and what fatigue is not. Don’t dismiss fatigue as normal. If you need a stimulant to get through the day, something isn’t right. If you don’t have enough energy to support your lifestyle, you have to look at your lifestyle and any underlying conditions that could be affecting your health.

Instead of prescribing medication, clinicians must rethink their approach to treating complex disorders. These are not single-dimensional conditions with simple solutions. Fatigue must be examined at the cellular level, where energy is created. You must break down each condition and peel back the layers until you identify the root cause of the problem. 

At Natural Healthcare Center, this is what we do every day. I saw three patients who were dealing with fatigue the day before I started working on this article.

This is why we prioritize the Triad of Health and account for the physical, psychological, and nutritional components of human health. We examine all layers of the Pyramid of Health instead of glossing over fatigue or recommending cookie-cutter treatment. A condition as complex as fatigue demands an equally complex approach to diagnosis and treatment.

If you’re not sure if what you’re experiencing is fatigue or what is causing your fatigue, schedule a free consultation at Natural Healthcare Center. We can help you identify and attack the problem at the source so you can feel better, function better, and live longer. 

Dr. Proodian

Dr. James Proodian is an accomplished chiropractic physician, health educator, and professional public speaker who founded Proodian Healthcare Family of Companies to help people feel better, function better, and live longer. His expertise is in identifying clinical imbalances and restoring the body to health and functionality. Contact: jproodian@naturalhc.com or (732) 222‑2219.