My Experience of having Post-Viral Fatigue (PVF)
In 2007 I was juggling a lot of factors in my life. I had been using my annual leave to complete a university course and was running on empty. I then came down with laryngitis and found I that although I recovered from the infection with antibiotics, I could not recover my energy. I tried to return to work several times unsuccessfully.
I had a wonderful G.P at the time whose daughter had suffered and recovered from ME. Her insight guided me through ruling out other conditions such as Lyme’s disease. I was referred to the NHS PVF/ME team who diagnosed and assisted me in the management of this condition. I undertook a CBT course which assisted me in pacing and graded exercise. The management of PVF was a slow marathon effort. Traditional Acupuncture also assisted my energy levels greatly in the first few months of recovery.
How it has helped me as a practitioner
I hope my experience has made me more empathetic to others going through a similar post viral situation. I found it helpful to have clinicians accessible to walk the walk with me. There are many factors to PVF and therefore different clinicians maybe involved from your G.P. to dieticians and occupational therapists. You may require a specialist therapist or nurse to advise on breathlessness. I have worked alongside pain clinic and spinal consultants in the NHS and frequently receive referrals from these doctors, to assist patients in pain and activity management.
How I can help others
Whilst we are working remotely, I can use a secure video-link or the telephone to consult with you.
I can advise you on activity management and relaxation. I use pacing charts and I am qualified to give you graded rehabilitation exercises. These can be sent out in the post or via email.
Physiotherapists and Osteopaths can advise on acupressure; TENS machines and other home self- help tools to help address the muscle pains.
Once back in clinic, we will often use Traditional Acupuncture for sore muscles and to enhance energy and wellbeing. We also can apply manual therapies to release restrictions which can occur.
What you can do to help yourself
- Please refer to the leaflet on the ME Association's website for further advice for post-viral fatigue, specifically following corona virus infection. It is a good starting point for advice on sleep, medication and financial support.
- The leaflet advises speaking to your G.P. first if your post-infectious fatigue is continuing beyond 4 weeks.
- The ME society have a phone line which is open every day of the year – 0844 576 5326
- Consider a daily journal.
Post by Sarah Massey Bsc (Hons) Physiotherapy.