Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Are You Suffering From Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), is a condition that affects a person’s nervous system. The term myalgic encephalomyelitis means pain in the muscles, and inflammation in the brain and spinal cord. CFS is a debilitating and complex disorder that is not a single disease but the result of a combination of factors. Thus it is characterised by intense fatigue that is not improved by bed rest.

The causes of CFS are not well understood and therefore can be hard to diagnose. There are no tests for CFS so your doctor will have to rule out other causes of your fatigue.

The severity of CFS varies from person to person. Around 25 % of people will have a mild form allowing them to go to school or work either part time or full time, while reducing other activities. About 50% will have a moderate to severe form of CFS and not be able to get to school or work. The other 25% of people will experience severe CFS and have to stay at home or in bed.

As CFS is a very complex, multi system chronic illness, where the symptoms vary based on the individual affected and the severity of the condition. The most common symptom is fatigue that’s severe enough to interfere with your daily activities.

For CFS to be diagnosed, fatigue must last for at least six months and must not be curable with bed rest. Additionally, you must have at least 4 other symptoms;

  • loss of memory or concentration
  • feeling unrefreshed after a night’s sleep
  • Chronic insomnia (and other sleep disorders)
  • muscle pain
  • frequent headaches
  • multi-joint pain without redness or swelling
  • frequent sore throat
  • tender and swollen lymph nodes in your neck and armpits

People with CFS react differently to physical activity. Evidence shows that exercise therapy was more effective at reducing fatigue compared to passive treatment or no treatment. Exercise therapy has a positive effect on people daily physical functioning, sleep and self-ratings of overall health. Exercise therapy did not worsen symptoms of people with CFS.

Not all forms of exercise are the same. Exercising the wrong way can wreak havoc on your health, exercising the right way will likely be an essential piece of your return to optimum health. Exercise can counteract many of the negative factors that come from having CFS. This includes deconditioning, pain, stiffness, anxiety and depression. Exercise can help you reverse that downward spiral by increasing your levels of fitness, reducing fatigue, pain, stiffness and improving mood.

If you or someone you know suffers from CFS come in and speak to one of the Optimum Health Solutions Exercise Physiologists. Ultimately, we will be able to discuss an appropriate exercise plan specific to you, helping you to increase your overall health and quality of life.

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