Treating chronic fatigue syndrome(CFS) presents a significant challenge for people with CFS and their physicians. As yet, there is no known cause, cure or universal treatment for CFS. Until a treatment is developed which will improve all the symptoms of CFS, or correct the underlying cause, therapy is based upon the individual's presenting symptoms.
Medications that provide symptom relief are frequently the first line of treatment chosen by primary care providers for the person with CFS. These include medications for pain; sleep disturbances; digestive problems such
as nausea, flu-like symptoms and, if present, depression and anxiety. Medications may be supplemented by supportive
Therapies that help people to relax and improve coping skills fall into this category and may include counseling for emotional and mental health, cognitive behavioral therapy, sleep management therapy and massage.
Many persons find complementary therapies such as acupuncture, tai chi and alternative food and herbal supplements to be helpful. Please note that adding food and herbal supplements to your therapy regimen needs to be done with care and with your physician's and pharmacist's knowledge to prevent undesirable side effects.
Altered digestion, food intolerances, decreased energy, fatigue, cognitive problems and sleeplessness
create the need for revisions in daily living routines. These can include changes in diet; exercise modifications;
alterations in activities of daily living according to one's energy level; and sleep/rest management.
All may require the assistance of professional clinicians, such as a dietitian, physical and/or occupational
therapist, mental health professional and sleep therapist.
Other Treatment Options
For people who have been diagnosed with an autonomic nervous system abnormality such as orthostatic intolerance, fluid and salt loading may be a treatment of choice. Surgery for Chiari Malformation, a defect in the area where the lower brain/spinal cord meet, is a treatment
option for persons who have been found to have this condition.
Treatment may incorporate any, or all, of the above categories as people with CFS seek to improve their condition. The person with CFS can experience much frustration when attempting to secure treatment. Keeping an open mind and speaking candidly with a health care provider is important to any treatment plan.
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