What is chronic fatigue syndrome / ME?
Chronic fatigue syndrome is characterised by severe and long term tiredness which does not improve after sleep or rest. Chronic fatigue syndrome is also termed as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). Myalgia means muscle pain and encephalomyelitis means inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.
CFS / ME is a long term debilitating disease and can affect any age group but most commonly affects people in their 40s and 50s. Additionally, CFS / ME is more common in women than men. Chronic fatigue syndrome can affect people in a variety of different ways and can vary hugely in severity. The condition can impact significantly on people’s everyday lives and can result in serious disability. In some cases, however, people are still able to work or study, although people need to rest adequately which results in reduced leisure activities and hobbies.
What causes chronic fatigue syndrome / ME?
The causes of chronic fatigue syndrome / ME are generally unknown although it is thought to be triggered off by a viral infection of some sort such as glandular fever or the influenza virus. Other factors that may contribute to the onset of chronic fatigue syndrome include:
- Viral infection
- Inherited gene
- Emotional / stress
- Traumatic experience
- Poor diet
- Recurring infections
- Too little exercise
- Too much exercise
What are the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome / ME?
With chronic fatigue syndrome, you will experience long term and persistent fatigue. The fatigue will impact significantly on your everyday activities and you will feel both mentally and physically tired. The fatigue will be different from regular tiredness and it will not be eased with sleep or rest. The fatigue will be made worse on exertion with longer recovery times after certain activities.
Additionally, other symptoms include:
- Mental difficulties – poor concentration, poor memory and disorientation
- Insomnia – sleeping difficulties such as disrupted sleep, early waking and inability to fall asleep
- Muscle and joint pains
- Headaches and migraines
- Sore throat
- Dizziness, nausea and palpitations
Severity of symptoms associated with chronic fatigue syndrome:
Chronic fatigue syndrome / ME can vary significantly in severity among sufferers:
Mild - You are able to care for yourself and you are able to work or study. However you may need regular days off to rest. Weekends are used to recover therefore leisure activities and hobbies become difficult to maintain.
Moderate - Your condition causes you to have a reduction in mobility and your symptoms are intermittent and vary in severity. Moderate CFS causes poor sleep patterns and you are dependent on day time sleeping and regular rest periods.
Severe - You maintain the ability to carry out minor daily activities such as cleaning your teeth and getting dressed. However, you may occasionally need a wheelchair and regular rest periods. You will have mental difficulties such as poor short term memory and difficulty concentrating.
Very severe – Wheelchair bound. You are unable to carry out any daily activities and require constant care. You need best rest for majority of day and you may demonstrate intolerance to noise and bright lights.
If you are suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome / ME, physiotherapy is a very effective method that will help significantly ease some of the symptoms that you are experiencing.
What physiotherapy treatment will I receive for chronic fatigue syndrome / ME?
Physio.co.uk offers a variety of treatment options that aim to help ease the symptoms you are experiencing as a result of chronic fatigue syndrome / ME.
The specialist physiotherapists at Physio.co.uk will provide you with a thorough assessment along with a comprehensive physiotherapy programme which aims to focus on your personal goals and the problems you are experiencing. Physiotherapy treatment may include:
- Pain control modalities
- Heat orcryotherapy (ice) – for muscle and joint pain
- Relaxation techniques
- Electrical stimulation
- Education on how to make lifestyle changes that may affect your condition – advice on diet, managing sleep and managing rest
- Graded exercises that gradually increase in difficulty to help improve overall fitness and health levels (walking or swimming)
Chronic fatigue syndrome / ME is defined as a condition that causes severe tiredness that doesn't improve after rest. Chronic fatigue syndrome / ME can also result in debilitating muscle and joint pain as well as inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. Chronic fatigue syndrome can happen after an infection, or less commonly after stress or an accident. Chronic fatigue syndrome can cause fatigue, pain, difficulty performing various activities, sleep problems, memory problems and poor concentration. Physiotherapy uses a variety of treatment methods to significantly help ease some of the symptoms associated with chronic fatigue syndrome. The specialist physiotherapists at Physio.co.uk will provide you with a personal programme that will focus on your problems and help you to return to your everyday activities and hobbies. Call Physio.co.uk now on 0330 088 7800 for more information or to book an appointment please contact us. You can also book online today!