Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (cont.)
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) can be neither prevented nor cured. Home treatment and, when appropriate, certain medicines can help control or reduce symptoms.
Home treatment is the most important part of treating chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). If you have CFS, you can take steps to control and sometimes relieve your symptoms:
- Adjust your schedule to take advantage of times when you feel more energetic and less tired. Keep a diary for a week or so and record the times of day when you have energy and when you are tired. If there is a pattern to how your energy level changes during the day, try to plan your work, school, or other activities around that pattern.
- Try not to do too much when you are feeling energetic. If you do too much, you may become overtired, and it may take several days for you to recover.
- Improve your sleep habits. Sleep problems may contribute to your fatigue and other symptoms.
- Go to bed only when you are sleepy, and get up at the same time every day, regardless of whether you feel rested.
- If you lie awake for longer than 15 minutes, get up, leave the bedroom, and do something quiet until you feel sleepy again.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco before bed.
- Keep the bedroom at a comfortable temperature, and eliminate all sound and light disturbances.
- Make sure your mattress provides good support. Use a neck support pillow to keep your head and neck from moving too much when you sleep.
- Take naps if you need to. Keep them short (20 to 60 minutes), and try not to take them late in the day or evening.
- Insomnia: Improving Your Sleep
- Get light, gentle exercise regularly. Stretching is a good beginning exercise. Light aerobic exercise such as walking, swimming, or riding a bicycle or stationary bike can also be helpful. You need to find a balance between exercising enough to benefit from it and exercising so much that you become overtired.
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Using Graded Exercise to Get More Energy
- Try taking nonprescription pain medicines to relieve muscle and joint pain and headaches caused by CFS. Medicines that may be helpful include acetaminophen (such as Tylenol), aspirin, ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin), or naproxen (such as Aleve).
- Join a support group. These groups can be a good source of information and tips for managing your illness and a chance to share your frustrations and problems with others who have CFS. Ask your doctor or contact a local hospital for the location of a support group near you.
- Avoid unproven remedies, such as special diets or vitamins.
- Eat a balanced diet that is low in fat and high in carbohydrates and fiber. For more information on good nutrition, see Healthy Eating.
Be patient, and keep in mind that consistent home treatment usually helps relieve or control CFS symptoms. Your doctor may suggest cognitive-behavioral therapy to help you with your home treatment. For information, see:
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Using Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy.