Friday, February 10, 2023

Extensive Evidence That GET & CBT Are Harmful to ME/CFS and Long-COVID Patients

That headline should be nothing new to the large and growing population of patients with ME/CFS (myalgic encephalomyelitis / chronic fatigue syndrome) and long-COVID, also known as PASC (post-acutes equelae of COVID-19). But, unfortunately, far too many doctors and other medical professionals worldwide continue to urge their ME/CFS and long-COVID patients to exercise and/or prescribe traditional physical therapy, in spite of evidence that these practices are often harmful to these populations.

Now, there is a single scientific paper that pulls all that evidence into one short summary: Treatment Harms to Patients with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, published in Advances in Bioengineering and Biomedical Science Research in January 2023.

This paper references nine different research studies or scientific papers previously published that all come to the same conclusion: that forcing patients with ME/CFS or long-COVID (PASC) to exercise makes them worse, and that it is unethical for doctors to choose any treatment path that could be harmful.

Just the fact that this many previous studies and papers have been published--and, as the author points out, as a result, the UK's NHS revised its NICE guidelines in 2020 to reflect these findings--should mean that doctors are no longer causing harm to their patients in these ways. Unfortunately, that's not the case, and doctors all over the world continue to urge their ME/CFS and long-COVID patients to be more active, exercise, and are even still prescribing traditional physical therapy.

So, if you have encountered one of these misinformed medical professionals who still insists on recommending increased activity, exercise, GET (Graded Exercise Therapy), or traditional physical therapy, click that link above, print the brief paper, and share it with him or her. The best way for us to help change these outdated and harmful practices is to help spread the word.

And once you've educated your doctor that exercise and GET are harmful, help him or her to understand how they can help you with real medical treatments instead. My Effective Treatments for ME/CFS (and Long-COVID) summary is a great place to start. The treatments that have helped my sons and I the most are almost all inexpensive and readily available through any primary care doctor/general practitioner (and there are even some treatments you can try on your own, though it's always best to do so under a doctor's supervision).

I've also written some articles on treating ME/CFS and long-COVID that are perfect for sharing with medical professionals because they are brief and include scientific references at the end (and are written so you can understand, too)--and these are the best treatments to start with, for maximum benefit:

Correcting Sleep Dysfunction in ME/CFS

Treating Orthostatic Intolerance/Dysautonomia in ME/CFS (including POTS)

The best part? If you start by treating Orthostatic Intolerance (OI) effectively, then you often can begin to tolerate increases in activity and small bits of exercise, at your own pace while listening to your body and wearing a heart rate monitor. But you need to treat the underlying causes of exercise intolerance (including OI) first.

Help spread the word! Print a copy of this new paper to share with your own medical professionals!


BroadwayGal_GA said...

Thank you for spreading the word about how harmful GET is. I feel like I've been a lone wolf. I've printed numerous articles and taken to doctors. Still, I get advice to exercise. I don't know if they forget I have ME/CFS, or they're just stuck on a recorded loop to always advise exercise. Thank you for the link to the latest article. I just emailed it to my doctor.

Sue Jackson said...

I'm so sorry to hear you've been treated that way by doctors. It's an uphill battle for us since for decades, the UK's NHS had guidelines stating that GET and therapy (CBT) were the ONLY treatments - it seems that it's hard for doctors to unlearn that terrible guidance.

I hope this new article helps! I love that it references all the studies in one place. Good luck!