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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Health Center

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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - Treatment Overview

Since there is not yet a cure for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), the key to living with CFS is treating your symptoms.

  • Find a primary doctor who understands CFS and how to treat it, and who helps you feel supported.
  • Track what helps you feel better, as well as the things that make your symptoms worse.
  • Use a mix of medical care, daily self-care, and support.
  • For regular support you can count on, work with a professional counselor, a CFS support group, or both.
  • Get specialist care when you need it. Sign "release of information" forms so that your doctors can work together as a team.

Treat the worst first

Start by listing your worst symptoms-the ones that make it hardest to get through the day. With your doctor, focus first on treating those symptoms. Decide whether a specialist might be helpful for any of them.

The most common CFS symptoms can also be the most treatable.

Sleep

Good sleep habits can help improve the quality of your sleep. If you also try medicine for sleep, it's best to start on a low dose. Certain antidepressants help with sleep, mood, and chronic pain, so your doctor may suggest trying one.

actionset.gif Insomnia: Improving Your Sleep

Pain

Different kinds of pain can be treated in different ways. If one treatment doesn't work, you and your doctor can try another until you find what works best for you.

  • It's important to control focused pain, such as arthritis or migraine, because this kind of pain can make CFS body pain worse. First try an over-the-counter pain reliever, like acetaminophen (such as Tylenol), ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin), or naproxen (such as Aleve). Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
  • There are different types of prescription medicines that help with pain, such as antidepressants for chronic pain and narcotic medicine for severe pain. A narcotic is a short-term treatment because it can become addictive if you use it a lot.
  • Other treatments that can help with CFS pain include acupuncture, massage, or yoga.
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