Many factors are involved in causing fatigue including medications you may take, sleep disturbances, and depression. In addition, abnormal nerve conduction can cause fatigue. So can lack of exercise, which causes deconditioning (your muscles become weak when they are not used.)
Finally, MS can cause a unique “MS fatigue” or lassitude. This type of fatigue occurs daily, worsens as the day goes on, and is often aggravated by heat.
Yes, fatigue is a difficult symptom to treat, but you CAN manage your fatigue.
- Learn energy management techniques. Consult a physical or occupational therapist!
- Prioritize. You can be realistic and responsible.
- Pace yourself. Remember the tortoise and hare!
- Delegate. Asking for help can be difficult but it will help conserve your energy.
- Exercise. Sounds contradictory when you want rest! But it can increase your energy level and decrease deconditioning. Talk to your physician or rehabilitation professional about your options.
- Use technology. Consider assistive devices. Wheels on a laundry cart. Wheels on a chair. They can both help with efficiency and mobility.
- Evaluate your environment. Consider the lighting, physical layout and body mechanics in your work and home environments. All may contribute to fatigue.
- Take medication. Speak with your physician about what’s available for MS fatigue. Medications can be helpful, but may not be enough.
Use your healthcare team to differentiate MS fatigue from secondary causes, such as depression, pain, or an overactive bladder that is robbing you of sleep. Many secondary causes can be treated. A guided program of regular physical activity will help you manage MS fatigue.
Staff, Can Do Multiple Sclerosis