Over the course of a career, rehab professionals will see symptoms and health related issues that may be foreign to them. Often they are textbook, with defined symptoms and effective treatment protocols to quickly advance patients to the next level of care. However, there is a chance that you will come across symptoms or a group of symptoms that may leave you as perplexed as the rest of the medical community. As a Therapist, having a solid foundation can help you to identify symptoms quickly and provide effective treatment options for individuals that suffer with mysterious illnesses like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), is derived from Myalgia (defined as muscle pain and Encephalomyelitis), meaning there is inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. CFS causes persistent fatigue (exhaustion) that affects everyday life and doesn’t reside with sleep or rest, albeit symptoms generally improve over time for some patients.The effectiveness of treatments depends on how CFS affects your patient. Early diagnosis, balancing rest with activity, medication to control certain symptoms, and self-help measures can all help. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) advises that an individualized program of treatment should be offered with the aims of:
- Maintaining and, if possible, extending your emotional and physical abilities
- Managing the physical and emotional effects of your symptoms
Treating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that aims to change the way that a patient thinks, feels and behaves. CBT helps your patient realize that their problems are often created by them. It is not the situation itself that is making them unhappy, but how they think about it and react to it.Graded Exercise Therapy: Graded exercise therapy (GET) is a structured exercise program that aims to gradually increase how long your patient can carry out a physical activity. This will usually involve aerobic activity (exercise that raises the heart rate), such as swimming or walking.Activity Management: Activity management is another aspect of your treatment program for your patient that involves setting individual goals and gradually increasing their activity levels. They may be asked to keep a diary of their current activity and rest periods to establish a baseline. Activities can then be gradually increased in a way that you find manageable.Pacing: Pacing is an important way of controlling CFS symptoms. It involves balancing periods of activity with periods of rest. Pacing means not overdoing it or pushing yourself beyond your limits since that could slow down your progress long-term. Over time, you can gradually increase periods of activity while making sure they are balanced with periods of restRelapses:A relapse is when your symptoms get worse for some time giving you the inability to function at the level you previously were. Relapses are a common part of CFS and can be caused by a number of factors such as an infection or an unplanned activity. Sometimes, there may not be a clear cause.The healthcare professionals treatment can help you manage your relapse, by:
- Including more breaks with your current levels of activities
- Teaching you relaxation and breathing techniques
- Encouraging you to be optimistic about your recovery
Although there is no cure for CFS, treatments can help relieve symptoms. CFS may last for years however, many people recover or at least adjust their lifestyle to improve their symptoms. By utilizing these effective treatment practices, you will afford a higher quality of life to those afflicted by this debilitating medical condition.If you are a rehab professional looking to make a change relative to your career . Our Strategic Search Consultants can help you with the next step of your journey. Contact us today 800-535-0076.