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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - Home Treatment

Home treatment is the most important part of treating chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). You can take steps to control and sometimes relieve your CFS symptoms:

  • Adjust your schedule to take advantage of times when you have more energy and feel less tired. Keep a diary for a week or so. Write down 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.
  • Do what you can to take charge of your fatigue level. Try not to do too much when you have more energy. 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 add to your fatigue and other symptoms.
    • Go to bed only when you are sleepy. Get up at the same time every day, whether or not 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 well before bed. Alcohol can disrupt your sleep when you drink it within 4 hours of bedtime. Caffeine is a stimulant that stays in the body for 12 hours. So make sure to avoid it during that block of hours before your bedtime.
    • Keep the bedroom at a comfortable temperature. Get rid of 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.
    actionset.gif Insomnia: Improving Your Sleep
  • Get light, gentle exercise regularly. Stretching is a good start. Light aerobic exercise such as walking, swimming, or riding a bicycle or stationary bike can also be helpful. Try to keep a balance between being active enough to benefit from it and exercising so much that you become overtired.
    actionset.gif 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), ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin), and naproxen (such as Aleve). Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label. Talk to your doctor if your pain is not relieved by nonprescription medicine.
  • Join a support group. These groups can be a good source of information and tips for managing your illness. They also give you 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.
  • Eat a balanced diet. Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, grains, cereals, legumes, poultry, fish, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products.

Try to be patient. Keep in mind that daily home treatment usually helps relieve or control CFS symptoms. Your doctor may suggest cognitive-behavioral therapy to help you with your home treatment.

actionset.gif Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Using Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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