Chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), is a debilitating condition that affects an estimated 20,000 New Zealanders. ME is a complex condition that is often misunderstood and misdiagnosed, making it difficult for those who suffer from it to receive proper care and support. In addition to medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes, mobility aids can also be helpful in managing the symptoms of chronic fatigue.
What is ME?
ME is a complex and often disabling condition that is characterized by unexplained fatigue that lasts for six months or more. In addition to fatigue, people with ME may experience a range of symptoms, including muscle and joint pain, headaches, cognitive difficulties, sleep disturbances, and gastrointestinal problems.
Treatment of ME
There is currently no cure for ME, and treatment options are focused on managing symptoms and improving quality of life. Treatment plans may include a combination of medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes. Medications may be used to manage pain, improve sleep, or regulate mood. Therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), may be used to help manage symptoms and improve coping skills. Lifestyle changes, such as exercise, nutrition, and stress management techniques, may also be helpful in managing symptoms.
Living with ME
Living with ME can be challenging, but there are several things that people with ME can do to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. Some tips for living with ME include:
- Pace yourself and conserve your energy
- Take breaks throughout the day
- Set realistic goals and prioritize tasks
- Seek support from family, friends, and support groups
- Practise stress management techniques, such as meditation or deep breathing exercises
- Work with a healthcare provider to develop a treatment plan that works for you.
Mobility Aids for ME
Mobility aids can help people with chronic fatigue manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. Here are some of the mobility aids that can be helpful for people with ME:
Walking aids: Walking aids such as canes, crutches, and walkers can help people with ME conserve their energy and reduce the risk of falls.
Wheelchairs: Wheelchairs can be helpful for people with ME who experience severe fatigue or mobility limitations. Wheelchairs can also help people with ME conserve their energy and participate in activities that they may not be able to do without a wheelchair.
Scooters: Scooters can be helpful for people with ME who need to travel longer distances, such as through a shopping mall or at an event.
Adjustable beds: Adjustable beds can be helpful for people with ME who experience pain or discomfort when lying down. These beds can be adjusted to provide support to different parts of the body, making it easier to find a comfortable position to sleep.
Lift chairs: Lift chairs can be helpful for people with ME who have difficulty getting up from a seated position. These chairs can lift the person up to a standing position, making it easier to stand up without putting strain on the muscles and joints.