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Multiple Sclerosis Fatigue

Fatigue is a common symptom for those with MS. Your healthcare team can suggest different ways of managing fatigue from multiple sclerosis, such as assistive devices or monitoring your activity levels. Your doctor may also prescribe medications to help treat your fatigue.

Multiple Sclerosis Fatigue: An Overview

Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms you might experience if you have multiple sclerosis (MS). In fact, as many as 90 percent of patients with MS have reported feeling extremely tired. Multiple sclerosis fatigue can be more than just "feeling tired or sleepy" and it can happen even if you're not doing anything active.
It is true that MS-related fatigue can affect your musculoskeletal system (muscles and bones), but it can also make it more difficult for you to think clearly. Many patients report feeling mentally tired. You should know that having trouble concentrating or "thinking straight" is a common symptom of MS.
You may also find that your mood can change when you're more tired than usual. Some people with MS often feel that their quality of life is not as good as it could be if they didn't feel so tired all the time.

Managing Your Fatigue

There are some things you can do to manage your fatigue level. It is important to learn about different ways to manage your fatigue. Learning about fatigue can help you talk with your doctor and healthcare team so that you can find a solution together.
Try to figure out if your fatigue symptoms are caused by something besides the MS. Is something keeping you awake at night, such as leg spasms or bladder problems? Are you taking pills for depression that might make you sleepy? If your fatigue has been worse in the last six weeks, let your doctor know so that he or she can work with you to change your care.
You and your doctor will want to discuss how much time you spend resting and how much time you are active. Your might think about assistive devices, such as a cane, wheelchair, or positioning aid. Other suggestions to consider include:
  • Exercise
  • Environmental changes
  • Stress reduction.
Gradual, monitored exercise, such as standing and walking, can be beneficial. Cooling therapies can also help with symptoms of fatigue. If these options aren't working as well as you would like, there are prescription drugs available you may want to ask your doctor about.
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