The Lancet reports that researchers have confirmed that chronic fatigue is significantly improved by exercise that was both guided and graded. Fatigue was lessened and physical function improved. In the tests physio-therapists guided patients through a self-help booklet of graded exercise one time in person and then followed up 3 times on the phone. The patient was then on his/her own for the 12 week trial.
This test was significant because many suffering from chronic fatigue find it difficult coming regularly to in person physical therapy. Those with worse physical function showed the greatest improvement.
There was some trepidation with patients at the start of the test that exercise would exacerbate fatigue symptoms but it was discovered that exercise only lessened the fatigue. It was also noted that patients with related symptoms, including fibromyalgia, also benefited from guided, graded exercise. This adds to the growing evidence that non-pharmacological solutions such as exercise are effective treatments for fatigue. Cognitive and behavioral remedies appear effective and can be administered as self-help therapies, without a doctor or physical therapist.
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