When we got sick prior to coming down with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, we used to take an antibiotic and get better. Even after we’ve had a chronic illness for a while, we still want to believe that there must be some medicine or treatment out there that can cure us.
In most cases of ME/CFS, however, no medical cure exists. This fact is hard to accept, but it’s just the way it is.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything to improve your situation, but it means that you should be suspicious and careful with throwing your money at someone who promises a cure.
That said, there are medical treatments for particular symptoms and those that work for sub-groups of patients, and I believe it’s worth investing some time in discovering what particular treatments may be able to improve your situation.
Where to find out about the best medical treatments?
Fortunately, there are excellent Chronic Fatigue Syndrome treatment guides available. It’s important that you get your hands on them, because so few doctors know how to treat Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. In order for you to receive good treatments, you’ll want to read up on treatments yourself.
The best treatment guide I’ve come across is the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A Treatment Guide, 2nd Edition by Erica Verrillo. This guide offers easy to understand and comprehensive information on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome treatments. Excitingly, it has just been updated in 2012, making it the most up-to-date treatment guide available today. At $3.99, it’s a steal and you can buy the guide here, using my amazon affiliate link.
When you click the link, you’ll notice that at this time, the guide is only available as a “kindle” e-book version. Don’t worry; you don’t need a kindle to read a kindle ebook. You can read the ebook directly in your webbrowser, computer, or smartphone with one of these kindle reading apps. There are many upsides to having Verrillo’s treatment guide in the e-book version: you can search it quickly using the electronic search function, it’s cheaper, and it is impossible to lose.
I highly recommend you check out the book. It can empower you with the knowledge it takes to improve your condition.
Another good CFS treatment book is Dr. Jacob Teitlebaum’s From Fatigued to Fantastic. Dr. Teitlebaum has many years of experience with treating CFS using his SHINE protocol.
On the downside, Dr. Teitlebaum’s book hasn’t been updated as recently as Erica Verrillo’s book, costs more, and is a bit biased toward Dr. Teitlebaum’s affiliated brands of nutritional supplements. On the upside, however, it is an interesting read, contains much valuable information, and can be a worthwhile addition to Verrillo’s treatment guide.
The fastest, free way to get started on treatments for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is Dr. Charles Lapp’s article, How Your Doctor Can Help If You Have CFS/ME. Dr. Lapp is one of the most reputable CFS doctors out there and has written this concise, informative article to get you started on finding medical treatments.
What symptom should I treat first?
It’s usually best to begin with improving your sleep because improved sleep will likely have a positive effect on your other symptoms as well. Once you sleep better, your cognitive ability and levels of energy, pain and fatigue will likely improve as well. To get started on sleep issues, read the section on sleep disorders in Verrillo’s book or the first third of Dr. Lapp’s article. I also highly recommend reading Bruce Campbell’s article on Treating Sleep, as it offers a great mix of lifestyle changes and medical treatments for solving your sleep problems.
Once you’ve read up on what medical treatments exist, you’re ready to go to your doctor (here is how to find a good one) and ask him to help you implement the treatments you’ve learned about. Although it’s likely that after reading those articles you know more about CFS than your doctor, it’s important that you don’t let your doctor notice it too much. You’ll want to be a master at helping your doctor treat you without making him feel inadequate ;).
What if you can’t afford medical treatments?
If you want to try all of the CFS treatments out there, you can spend tens of thousands of dollars on them. If you don’t have this much money, you might feel pretty desperate and left out.
I hope you’ll take heart from this: medical treatments are not the most important part of your getting better. At this time, all of the treatments out there are considered alternative because there is no known cure for CFS out there. I even know people who could have afforded medical treatments, but decided against them because they felt that their their time was invested better in adjusting their lifestyle and learning to cope, rather than researching yet another “alternative” treatment.
Speaking for myself, I did have the money, tried quite a few medical treatments, and didn’t regret it either. I think it’s OK to spend $20 000 or more of money on your health, despite the fact that chances for success are slim, because our health is so incredibly valuable.
But if you can’t afford these treatments, know that your disadvantage is minor and that there are still many low-cost ways for improving your situation, for example, the Amygdala Retraining Program and behavioral techniques. You can improve your situation and regain your happiness.
How to find out what treatments will work for you?
Unfortunately, the only reliable way to discover which one of the zillion treatments out there will work for you is by trial and error, or by “conducting experiments” as I like to call it.
There are exceptions though, such as antiviral treatments that have a high chance of working for you if your blood tests indicate that the respective virus is causing you problems. For the majority of treatments, however, you have to try the treatment to discover if it works for you.
Trying out treatments can be done the right and the wrong way. You’re doing it the right way if you’re taking records on what treatments you’ve tried and how they affect you daily. Without keeping records and notes you’re doing it the wrong way, because a year after you’ve tried a treatment, you’ll have forgotten how it worked for you, and you’ll have to try it all over again.
Since conducting experiments is so important, I’ll dedicate lesson #9 of this e-course to this topic entirely. It’s an exciting topic, so stay tuned!
First, pick the symptom that’s bothering you the most (or start with sleep if you don’t sleep well, because sleep should be addressed first).
Then scour Verrillo’s treatment guide and Dr. Lapp’s article for treatment options. Take some notes on what treatments you identify for those specific symptoms and take the notes with you to your next doctor’s appointment.
And then, with excitement, wait and see what happens as you try those new treatments you discovered with the help of this week’s lesson.
While no magic bullets exist, there are many treatments that can support you in regaining your health and happiness. Good luck in using this upcoming week to discover which treatments will work for you!
If you’ve got here without being subscribed to the free CFS Recovery Project E-Course, you’re missing out. This is lesson #4 on how to reach your maximum health and happiness potential if you have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia. If you’re not already a subscriber, click here to learn more about it.