At-Home Treatments for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)
What is myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome?
Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is a medical condition defined by persistent, severe fatigue that lasts for months or years. It can affect the ability to work, go to school, participate in social activities, and complete daily tasks, such as taking a shower or making a meal.
In addition to conventional medical treatments for ME/CFS, several at-home treatments may also help reduce symptoms, such as fatigue and pain. These treatments include over-the-counter medications, temperature therapy, and various lifestyle changes.
- Over-the-counter pain medications
Medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen can help relieve muscle aches, joint pain, or headaches.
- Temperature therapy
Applying a heating pad or warm compress to sore muscles or joints may reduce pain. Taking a warm bath may also help.
- Over-the-counter sleep medications
If ME/CFS prevents proper sleep, short-term use of over-the-counter sleep aids may be beneficial. However, these medications can have side effects, including daytime sleepiness or dizziness.
- Good sleep hygiene
Good sleep hygiene, such as going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, keeping the bedroom cool and dark, and avoiding the use of cell phones or other devices before bedtime, can help manage symptoms of ME/CFS. Limiting or avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine can also help with sleep issues.
- Relaxation techniques
ME/CFS can lead to depression, anxiety, or stress. Deep breathing, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation are techniques that can be used at home to help promote mental well-being.
- Proper hydration Individuals who experience orthostatic intolerance should make sure to consume enough salt and drink enough fluids throughout the day. This can help prevent symptoms such as dizziness and faintness when moving from a reclined position to sitting upright or standing.
- Balanced diet
A balanced diet promotes overall well-being. Eating foods with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats and limiting consumption of saturated fats, refined carbohydrates, sugar, and other sweeteners may be beneficial. Eating smaller meals and snacks throughout the day may help even out energy levels.
These at-home treatments can be used alone or along with conventional or alternative/complementary treatments for ME/CFS.