Complementary And Physical Therapies
There are several complementary and physical therapies that may help relieve symptoms in CFS. Acupuncture, tai chi, massage, meditation, relaxation therapy and yoga may help people to relax and increase energy, as well as treat muscular aches and pains.
Heat packs, warm baths and gentle stretching exercises may help with muscle and joint pain. TENS transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation can also provide relief from muscle pain.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a chronic illness characterized by extreme fatigue that lasts for more than six months. This fatigue cannot be explained away by an underlying medical condition. In fact, one of the diseases principle challenges is that its impossible to diagnose with laboratory tests. However, some professionals believe it is closely related to adrenal fatigue or system wide inflammation of the body.
The process for diagnosis usually begins with ruling out possible underlying diseases and chronic conditions until the only choice left is chronic fatigue syndrome. Left untreated, it decreases stamina, memory and concentration.
Chronic fatigue syndrome can result in strained relationships with friends and family, especially when it remain undiagnosed and/or untreated. Guilt, anxiety and anger are all common emotional responses for those fighting chronic fatigue.
How Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Is Treated
There is no standard treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome, clinically known as myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome . However, there are many options for managing symptoms and improving quality of life, including lifestyle changes, stress management, therapy, and medications. With the help of your healthcare provider and other caregivers, these can be tailored to your specific symptoms.
Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin
Housebound Or Bedbound With Me/cfs
About 25% of people with ME/CFS are housebound or bedbound. Those who are housebound may be able to undertake minimal daily tasks for themselves, such as brushing teeth, cooking or using a computer for short periods of time, but they have to pace their activity and often use aids to help them . They are unable to leave the house, often because this requires more energy than they have available. When they do leave the house, they often need mobility aids such as a wheelchair or mobility scooter, or other assistance . Recovery from a trip out of the house can take days, or longer.
Some people are so severely unwell that they are bedbound some or all of the time. The most severely unwell may be unable to undertake even simple tasks, like eating or going to the toilet by themselves. They may require additional medical devices, such as feeding tubes, to help them get enough nutrition and fluids, and can be totally dependent on carers.
Read Also: What Can Help Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Will I Still Be Able To Work With Me/cfs
Research shows that about half of people with ME/CFS work part-time or full-time jobs. For some people with ME/CFS, the ability to work is possible thanks to a supportive employer and certain workplace accommodations, including a flexible schedule, a quiet comfortable place to rest, and memory aids.
But, if you can’t work because of ME/CFS, you may be eligible for Social Security benefits. Learn more about applying for disability through the Social Security Administration.
What Causes Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
The cause of chronic fatigue syndrome is not known. There are various theories but none has been proved. A popular theory is that a viral infection may trigger the condition. It is well known that tiredness is a symptom that can persist for a short time following certain viral infections. For example, infection with the glandular fever virus or the influenza virus can cause fatigue for several weeks after other symptoms have gone. However, most people recover within a few weeks from the tiredness that follows known viral infections.
Even if a viral infection is a trigger of CFS, it is not clear why symptoms persist when there is no evidence of persisting infection. Also, the symptoms of many people with CFS do not start with a viral infection.
Factors that are thought to contribute to some people developing CFS include:
- Inherited genetic susceptibility .
- Exhaustion and mental stress.
- A traumatic event such as bereavement, divorce or redundancy.
It is hoped that research will clarify the cause of CFS in the future.
Recommended Reading: Muscle Aches Joint Pain Fatigue
Are You Often Subject To Intense Fatigue
How do you know your energy level?
Just by knowing if you are tired and how much/how often you get tired.
Fatigue is simply a lack of energy caused by a weak metabolism that does not produce adequate power and vitality.
This manifests itself in different ways according to the people.
You are tired in the morning when you wake up, while you have slept all night.
You get up late in the morning because you say you are an evening person.
You are tired after meals with a desire to nap, especially after lunch.
You are tired when you fast or skip one to two affiliate meals.
You are tired when you make a particular physical effort.
Several types of fatigue that simply reflect a crucial lack of vital energy is caused by weak metabolism.
An optimal metabolism allows one to have a stable and constant energy throughout the day.
Recommended Reading: How Long Does Ms Fatigue Last
What You Can Do
Before your appointment, you may want to write a list that includes:
- Your signs and symptoms. Be thorough. While fatigue may be affecting you most, other symptoms Ã¢ such as memory problems or headaches Ã¢ also are important to share with your doctor.
- Key personal information. Recent changes or major stressors in your life can play a very real role in your physical well-being.
- Health information. List any other conditions for which youâre being treated and the names of any medications, vitamins or supplements that you take regularly.
- Questions to ask your doctor. Creating your list of questions in advance can help you make the most of your time with your doctor.
For chronic fatigue syndrome, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What are the possible causes of my symptoms or condition?
- What tests do you recommend?
- If these tests donât pinpoint the cause of my symptoms, what additional tests might I need?
- On what basis would you make a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome?
- Are there any treatments or lifestyle changes that could help my symptoms now?
- Do you have any printed materials I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
- What activity level should I aim for while weâre seeking a diagnosis?
- Do you recommend that I also see a mental health provider?
Donât hesitate to ask other questions during your appointment as they occur to you.
Don’t Miss: What Are The Symptoms Of Compassion Fatigue
How Is Cfs Treated
Theres currently no specific cure for CFS.
Each person has different symptoms and therefore may require different types of treatment to manage the disorder and relieve their symptoms.
Work with your team of healthcare providers to create the best treatment plan for you. They can go over the possible benefits and side effects of the therapies with you.
What Else Could It Be
Many people who have ME/CFS have other conditions, too. If you get treated for those, it might also improve your chronic fatigue.
ME/CFS can look a lot like âmonoâ , Lyme disease, lupus, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, sleep disorders, or depression. It affects about 2.5 million Americans, but experts believe only about 20% are diagnosed.
Read Also: How To Get Tested For Adrenal Fatigue
What Is The Outlook
The long-term outlook for chronic fatigue syndrome varies from person to person. Although some people recover or have a long period of remission, many will need to adapt to living with /CFS. The outlook is better in children and young people than in adults.
Chronic fatigue syndrome affects everyone differently and its impact varies widely. For some people symptoms still allow them to carry out some activities, whereas for others they cause severe impacts on different aspects of the lives of people with CFS and their families and carers, including activities of daily living, family life, social life, emotional well-being, work and education.
How Long Does Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Last
Chronic fatigue syndrome is a fluctuating condition in which your symptoms can change unpredictably in nature and severity over a day, week or longer. The impacts are variable in severity, but can involve flare-ups and relapses even if symptoms are well managed.
There is no test to diagnose the condition. The diagnosis is made in people who have a certain set of symptoms .
Read Also: How To Beat Menopause Fatigue
Concluding Remarks And Future Directions
This review suggests that the beneficial effects of nutritional supplements are not random, but that their action is due to the removal of one of the causes of the CFS/ME. There is evidence that supplements may benefit CFS/ME patients therefore, nutritional supplements should be recommended, at least in CFS/ME patients with a biochemically proven deficiency. Studies investigating nutritional interventions in CFS/ME remain very limited most studies have had small sample sizes, and lacked long term followup . Despite the relative consistency in case definition, the studies differed with regard to inclusion and exclusion criteria and reporting participants sociodemographic characteristics and clinical features . This heterogeneity in study design makes the application of the findings to the clinical setting more difficult. Therefore, longerterm RCTs in homogeneous populations that use more specific case criteria are now warranted.
In agreement with several previous studies, pacing was consistently shown to be the most helpful treatment, CBT was useful for some patients but not all for all graded training may cause the condition to worsen. However, the results must be interpreted with care, as the participants are not a representative sample.
Also Check: What Causes Fatigue In Menopause
Depression Stress And Anxiety
Adjusting to a chronic, debilitating illness sometimes leads to other problems, including depression, stress, and anxiety. Many patients with ME/CFS develop depression during their illness. When present, depression or anxiety should be treated. Although treating depression or anxiety can be helpful, it is not a cure for ME/CFS.
Some people with ME/CFS might benefit from antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications. However, doctors should use caution in prescribing these medications. Some drugs used to treat depression have other effects that might worsen other ME/CFS symptoms and cause side effects. When healthcare providers are concerned about patients psychological condition, they may recommend seeing a mental health professional.
Some people with ME/CFS might benefit from trying techniques like deep breathing and muscle relaxation, massage, and movement therapies . These can reduce stress and anxiety, and promote a sense of well-being.
Don’t Miss: Extreme Fatigue Bloating And Constipation
What Are The Treatments For Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
There is no cure or approved treatment for CFS, but you may be able to treat or manage some of your symptoms. You, your family, and your health care provider should work together to decide on a plan. You should figure out which symptom causes the most problems and try to treat that first. For example, if sleep problems affect you the most, you might first try using good sleep habits. If those do not help, you may need to take medicines or see a sleep specialist.
Strategies such as learning new ways to manage activity can also be helpful. You need to make sure that you do not âpush and crash.â This can happen when you feel better, do too much, and then get worse again.
Since the process of developing a treatment plan and attending to self-care can be hard if you have CFS, it is important to have support from family members and friends.
Donât try any new treatments without talking to your health care provider. Some treatments that are promoted as cures for CFS are unproven, often costly, and could be dangerous.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Talking With Your Doctor About Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
If you are experiencing fatigue on an ongoing basis despite getting adequate sleep, talk to your doctor. While you could be facing chronic fatigue syndrome, many illnesses ranging from obstructive sleep apnea to iron-deficiency anemia can cause fatigue. Your doctor will need to ask questions and order tests to determine what is causing fatigue in your personal situation. Preparing for your appointment can help it go more smoothly.
You May Like: Vitamins To Help With Fatigue
How Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Treated
Treatment is determined by your healthcare provider and based on:
- Your overall health and medical history
- Extent of the condition
- Your tolerance for specific medicines, procedures, or therapies
- Expectations for the course of the condition
- Your opinion or preference
- Medicine, including corticosteroids, antidepressants, and others
- Light-intensity aerobic exercise
- Dietary supplements and herbal preparations
- Psychotherapy and supportive counseling
How Do People Report Reducing Their Symptoms And Moving Toward Recovery
In the absence of any approved medical treatment for ME/CFS, sufferers of the disease take their healing into their own hands. Many people who report improving their symptoms or recoveringlike Bruce, Carrie, Kenneth, and Karendescribe how they used pacing to help them very gradually increase their activity levels and regain their health.
Pacing is basically what it sounds like: paying attention to your energy level and other symptoms, and only doing what you can do without making your symptoms worse. ME/CFS patients often find it helpful to have planned periods of rest throughout the day. It can take a great deal of willpower and discipline to modify your lifestyle in this way, sticking to what feels like a very limiting schedule. But the alternativeoverdoing it and triggering the out-of-proportion intensification of symptoms is worse.
The focus on pacing as a method of recovery can make it sound like ME/CFS is a psychosomatic condition, but research has clearly shown that it is a physiological illness involving multiple systems of the body and causing many physical symptoms. The reason why pacing is helpful in recovery is simply because slowing down and paying attention to what your mind/body needs allows your systems to gradually heal and return to homeostasis.
If you have reduced your symptoms or recovered from ME/CFS by any means and would like to share your story, I will add it to this post so that others can learn from your experiences. You can email me at
Read Also: Widespread Body Pain And Fatigue
Causes Of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Despite considerable research, the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome remains unknown. Controversy exists as to whether there is a single cause or many causes and whether the cause is physical or mental, but either way the symptoms are very real to the person.
Some researchers believe the syndrome ultimately will prove to have several causes, including genetic predisposition and exposure to microbes, toxins, and other physical and emotional factors.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Treatments
Unfortunately, there are no specific treatments for Chronic Fatigue Syndrom. But that doesnt mean you are going to sit idle and do nothing about it while suffering silently. Since every person has their own individual problems and symptoms, not all forms of treatment are going to be applicable to everyone universally.
Moreover, you can always take steps and opt for a type of chronic fatigue syndrome treatment that can prove to be beneficial to your health. Scroll down and find out all the ways you can treat chronic fatigue syndrome in your body!
Dont Miss: Can The Flu Shot Cause Fatigue
Recommended Reading: How To Fix Fatigue Quickly
Memory And Concentration Problems
Memory aids, like organizers and calendars, can help with memory problems. For people with ME/CFS who have concentration problems, some doctors have prescribed stimulant medications, like those typically used to treat Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder . While stimulants might help improve concentration for some patients with ME/CFS, they might lead to the push-and-crash cycle and worsen symptoms. Push-and-crash cycles are when someone with ME/CFS is having a good day and tries to push to do more than they would normally attempt .
Complementary And Alternative Medicine
CFS/ME patients tend to use more alternative medicine treatments than people without . Patients often leave orthodox medical care because they feel that their condition has been unjustifiably attributed to psychological causes: they are given the message that it is all in the mind. In a twin study, 91% of twins with CFS/ME and 71% without CFS/ME used at least one alternative treatment. A large proportion of the study participants stated that alternative treatments were helpful .
Recommended Reading: Can Low Blood Pressure Cause Fatigue
Don’t Miss: Clarinsmen Anti-fatigue Eye Serum
Summary Of The Conventional Treatment Plan For Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Lets assume the symptoms of your chronic fatigue include fatigue, sleep issues, pain, and depression/anxiety. With this symptom cluster, you may see four different doctors. A rheumatologist for your pain. A psychiatrist for your depression/anxiety. A sleep specialist for your insomnia. And your family physician. Each doctor will likely prescribe a different medication designed to address one of your symptoms. In this example, you may end up with prescription pain killers, sleeping pills, and an antidepressant.
There is no research done on either the long-term effects of taking those medications. Or, how those medications may interact with each other. And my greatest frustration is that there is no over-arching treatment plan. The treatment is to take these medications forever. This is not how you should treat chronic fatigue syndrome.
Note: this is the first article in a series. Once youre finished this article, be sure to check out part II The best ways to treat chronic fatigue through an alternative or holistic medical framework.
Now, I want to hear from you!
What conventional therapies increased your energy? Leave your answers in the comments section below!