8 Ways to Manage Fatigue with MS
Fatigue is one the most common symptoms of MS—affecting about 80 percent of people with the condition, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Fatigue can make it difficult for people to perform daily functions at home and at work. The good news, though, is that there are steps a person can take to manage their fatigue.
People with MS can help themselves by determining which activities are most important and saving their energy for completing those tasks. By prioritizing, a person with MS can be both realistic and responsible.
Trying to do too much too quickly is likely to deplete energy and worsen fatigue. It is important to learn what your body can and cannot handle and plan accordingly.
There is nothing wrong with asking for help. Call on your support team, whether it's family, friends or co-workers. You might be surprised at how asking for help can help you conserve your energy.
Although exercising when you’re fatigued sounds contradictory, doing physical activities can help increase your energy level. People with MS should speak with their physician or rehabilitation professional about what exercise options can be good for them.
Assistive devices can improve efficiency and mobility and can help people with MS to conserve energy. Some examples of assistive devices could be wheels on a laundry cart, a scooter or long-handled vacuum cleaners.
Factors such as lighting, temperature and the layout of your home and office could contribute to fatigue. Consider ways to make your environment the most energy efficient, such as avoiding too much heat, which can aggravate fatigue.
In addition to energy management strategies, certain medications may help treat fatigue. Speak with your physician about what medications are available to you.
Research has found that about 30 percent of people with MS have trouble sleeping at night, which can contribute to daytime fatigue. Managing symptoms that interfere with sleep—such as sleep apnea, bladder dysfunction or spasticity—is crucial in helping people with MS to have more energy during the day.