Other Treatments for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
Overall health problems can affect your CFS. The better you are overall, the easier it will be to manage CFS. The following may be helpful additions to your treatment plan:
A balanced diet can help you feel better. It gives your body the fuel and building blocks for recovery. On the other hand, a poor diet will make you feel more tired and sore.
Talk to your doctor or a dietitian if have trouble eating enough food. Supplements may help you get better nutrition. However, some can interfere with medicine. Talk to your doctor before starting supplements.
Limit or avoid alcohol. It has a tiring effect on the body.
Physical activity is an important part of CFS treatment. It can help your body work more efficiently, so daily tasks aren't as exhausting. Make your workout fit how much energy you feel that day. This may mean having a plan for low energy days and better days. Don't push too hard, it may make your symptoms worse. Track your activities and how long you did them. This way, you will be able to make a plan ahead of time.
When starting any activity, do so slowly. Build up your activity level over a period of time. Talk with your doctor or a trainer for help.
There are many different types of counseling. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a one option. CBT allows you to examine your feelings and thought patterns. Once you are aware of them you can develop better coping skills for them. This may include changing your focus to what you can do rather than what you can't.
Some people find comfort in joining a support group. Family therapy may also help if CFS is affecting others around you.
Changing Sleep Habits
Your body needs sleep to recover. However, you may have problems sleeping. Many times, making small changes can help. For example:
- Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Do the same whether you have to work or not.
- Setting up a relaxing routine. Start about an hour before bedtime. This may include reading, taking a bath, or listening to music.
- Don't take naps late in the day.
- Keep your bedroom dark and cool.
- Don't use electronic devices in your bedroom.
- Block out noise with earplugs or a fan that absorbs sounds. White noise can come from a bedside machine or a smartphone app.
- If you wake up for more than 15 to 20 minutes, get out of bed and move to another room. Watch TV or read until you feel tired enough to go back.
Not every method works for everyone. It will take time to adjust. Be patient and try different things. If nothing seems to work for you, talk to your doctor.
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Treatment of ME/CFS. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/me-cfs/treatment/index.html. Updated July 12, 2018. Accessed February 8, 2019.
Yancey JR. Thomas SM. Chronic fatigue syndrome: diagnosis and treatment. Am Fam Physician. 2012;8(68):741-746.
Last reviewed December 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcin Chwistek, MD Last Updated: 2/8/2019