The search for pain relief in people with chronic fatigue syndrome: A descriptive study – Source: Physiotherapy Theory and Practice, Nov 1, 2010

The purpose of this study was to investigate the use and perceived benefit of complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) and physiotherapy treatments tried by people with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) to ease painful symptoms.

This study used a descriptive, cross-sectional design. People with CFS who experienced pain were recruited to this study. Participants were asked during a semistructured interview about the treatments they had tried to relieve their pain. Each interview was conducted in the home of the participant.

Fifty participants were recruited, of which 10 participants were severely disabled by CFS.

• 18 participants were trying different forms of CAM treatment for pain relief at the time of assessment.

• 3 participants were currently receiving physiotherapy.

• Throughout the duration of their illness 45 participants reported trying 19 different CAM treatments in the search for pain relief.

• Acupuncture was reported to provide the most pain relief (n=16).

• 27 participants reported a total of 16 different interventions prescribed by their physiotherapist.

The results of this study suggest some physiotherapy and CAM treatments may help people manage painful CFS symptoms.

Future research should be directed to evaluating the effectiveness of interventions such as acupuncture or gentle soft tissue therapies to reduce pain in people with CFS.

Source: Physiotherapy Theory and Practice, Nov 1, 2010. PMID: 21039301, by Marshall R, Paul L, Wood L. Nursing & Health Care, Faculty of Medicine, University of Glasgow, Scotland, UK.

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