Nerve And Muscle Strain To Encourage Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Written by Dr. Ahmed Zayed
Chronic fatigue Syndrome triggered by nerve, muscle strain

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a complex disorder indicated by extreme fatigue that isn’t the result of some underlying health condition. The fatigue can be aggravated by mental or physical activity, but doesn’t improve with rest and relaxation. Although causes of CFS are still relatively unknown, scientists managed to discover various factors that contribute to its onset. The latest study discovered that muscle or nerve strain may trigger symptoms associated with this disorder. To find out more about this, keep reading.

Does Muscle Strain Really Trigger CFS Symptoms?

It is a well-known fact that symptoms of CFS can be aggravated with physical activity. The study conducted by Peter C. Rowe and team of scientists at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine aims to explain why this happens. During one of previous works on this subject, Rowe and his team discovered that in some patients with the CFS, body movements that put strain on the nerves, spine, and muscles appeared to promote some symptoms linked with the syndrome, including mental fogginess and fatigue.

This study included 60 participants with the chronic fatigue syndrome and 20 healthy individuals. Researchers assigned participants to either a 15-minute period of passive supine straight leg raise or a sham straight leg raise. In the supine straight leg raise, an individual lays on the back while raising and holding one leg. The maneuver is designed to strain nerves and muscles.

Participants were required to self-report any body pain, lightheadedness, headache, and concentration problems every 5 minutes during the 15-minute activity. They also had to report these symptoms 24 hours after the completion of the maneuver.

Results of the research, published in the journal Plos One, showed that comparing to participants with the CFS in the sham strain group, individuals in the true strain category reported increased body pain, concentration difficulties, and heightened composite symptom scores during the maneuver. Scientists concluded that longitudinal strain applied to the soft tissues and nerves of lower limbs has a massive potential to increase intensity of symptoms in individuals with CFS for up to 24 hours.

Findings from this study only add to the growing body of evidence suggesting that heightened mechanical sensitivity could trigger symptoms associated with this disorder.

CFS symptoms

Primary symptoms of CFS include:

  • Memory lapses
  • Concentration problems
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Unexplained muscle pain
  • Waking up tired i.e. unrefreshing sleep
  • Extreme exhaustion lasting 24 hours or more
  • Pain moving from joint to another
  • Enlarged nymph nodes in the neck or armpits

Secondary symptoms of the syndrome are:

  • Difficulty maintaining an upright position
  • Dizziness, balance problems or fainting
  • Irritable bowel
  • Brain fog
  • Allergies or sensitivities to odors, foods, medications, chemicals, noise
  • Night sweats or chills
  • Mood problems and depression
  • Visual disturbances

Did you know?

Contrary to the popular belief, CFS isn’t a new disorder. In fact, in the 19th century physicians used the term neurasthenia or nervous exhaustion to describe a condition whose symptoms resembled to those of chronic fatigue syndrome. The term was coined by a neurologist George Miller Beard. However, in 1938 different term comes in use; Alexander Gilliam described the illness as poliomyelitis. Different terms were used to describe similar symptoms throughout the history, but in 1988 researchers investigating the Lake Tahoe cluster proposed the name chronic fatigue syndrome that is still in use today.


Chronic fatigue syndrome is quite common, but scientists still aren’t able to pinpoint the exact cause that triggers a wide array of symptoms in affected individual. But, some contributors are defined and according to the study published in the journal Plos One, muscle and nerve strain have a tremendous potential to trigger symptoms associated with this syndrome and increase the intensity of pain. Findings from this study will help scientists get a closer insight into the syndrome.


Contributor : Dr. Ahmed Zayed (Consumer Health Digest)

This Article Has Been Published on July 25, 2016 and Last Modified on September 30, 2018

Dr. Ahmed Zayed Helmy holds a baccalaureate of Medicine and Surgery. He has completed his degree in 2011 at the University of Alexandria, Egypt. Dr. Ahmed believes in providing knowledgeable information to readers. Other than his passion for writing, currently he is working as a Plastic surgeon and is doing his masters at Ain Shams University. You can connect with him on Linkedin.

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