The treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome is not specific, but it involves sleep initiators, antidepressants, analgesics, stimulants, muscle relaxants, anticonvulsants, vasopressors and beta blockers. These drugs are used to manage the signs and symptoms experienced by the patient. Patients who find it difficult to sleep are given sleeping pills and muscle relaxants. Patients who develop depression are given antidepressants. Those who experience pain anywhere in their body are given analgesics. Whenever changes in blood pressure happen, beta blockers and vasopressors are given. Stimulants are also given to improve the energy and mental acuity of patients.
While the above medications are prescribed to patients as chronic fatigue syndrome treatment, supplements and herbs are not discouraged. Melatonin and valerian root are often given to induce sleep instead of the usual sleeping pills. To boost the energy, vitamin B complex, DHEA, magnesium malate and CoQ10 are given. For pain, Vitamin D, B complex and white willow bark are used. To increase their mental capacity, ginkgo biloba is advised, while olive leaf extract is for immune system support. Sometimes, physicians give supplements in a cocktail known as Myers’ cocktail. It consists of B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium, and calcium, and is administered intravenously.
Apart from these, complementary therapies are also provided to patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. Part of chronic fatigue syndrome treatment is bodywork, which includes myofascial release therapy, therapeutic massage, and energy medicine. Myofascial release involves manipulation of the fascia or the connective tissue between the skin and muscles. The goal of the therapy is to release the restricted and tight fascia so that pain is eased and the patient’s range of motion is increased. In therapeutic massage, soft body tissues are manipulated to aid in relaxation, improvement of blood circulation, stress and pain reduction, and induction of sleep. Lastly, energy medicine is done by putting the practitioner’s hand over the patient’s body and then identifying energy imbalance. Though this is practiced, little scientific evidence supports its effectiveness.
Proper exercise is also part of chronic fatigue syndrome treatment. Doctors encourage patients to move as much as they can, making sure that they take frequent rests. They should stretch their muscles from time to time throughout the day, and breathing should start from the lower part of the diaphragm. Known as deep breathing, this practice can improve blood circulation, as well as release tension from the body. Exercise sessions should also be broken down in 3-minutes per session instead of a 15-minute one-time workout. CFS patients won’t be able to tolerate exercises for a long time, so short sessions of exercises are preferred.
Though these treatment modalities are available, the most important thing for CFS patients is to have a well-grounded social support system. Families are often part of chronic fatigue syndrome treatment, and if this is not possible, patients are referred to different support groups so that they will know other people who have the same condition. They can share their experiences with each other, and coping with this chronic illness won’t be as tough.