I have blogged about MS and fatigue a couple of times. There is another story on everydayhealth.com, which is the website I have told you about before. It’s from a guest contributor, Mona Sen. She talks about her life moving into a phase where she has to choose her day’s worth of activities and to decide what would work hour to hour. I can truly relate to that!
She lists six ways to cope with fatigue:
- Recognize fatigue happens
- Try a power nap
- Stick to your routine
- Use assistive devices to preserve your energy
- Start the day with the right attitude
- Experiment to find what works for you
Fatigue is something I thought I would never have to deal with. I’ve always been high energy and full speed ahead. In my book, I share an experience that happened a year ago. I had to go to Sam’s Club to pick some things up. I was in between anti-fatigue medication because of an insurance change. I finished up at Sam’s and was so tired that I thought I might have to call 911 to come get me to my car. I sat in the food court for at least 10 minutes, ate a protein bar that I just bought, and finally could get to my car. Then I rested again before I drove home. I hate the fact that I have to take a medication to get through the day, but I guess I am also glad there is one!
I’ve always been a morning person. Now that’s the worst part of my day. It takes so much energy to shower, do my make-up, dry my hair, and then get dressed. Why does it take so much energy to get dressed? I haven’t figured that out yet.
Mona mentions to stick to your routine. I’ve always been a very routine, analytical kind of person. So for me that is just normal.
She also mentions using the WalkAide. Not only are they very expensive, but my experience is that it really hurts every time it sends electrical stimulus to your leg. For me, right now, Ampyra is working very well. This again is another medication, but I have seen great results!
Lastly she talks about finding what works for you. That is so important! All of us with MS are different with our strengths and weaknesses. So that’s one of the best pieces of advice I think!
Devin Garlitt, a contributor to multiplesclerosis.net says that fatigue is not from something that I might have done. It’s caused by damage to my nerves and brain. That is good to remember.
Another article posted by everydayhealth.com called 7 ways to fight MS fatigue. Dr. Cohen from the Cleveland Clinic MS Center says that “MS symptoms may come and go but fatigue seems to be a constant”.
This article lists three different causes of fatigue. Indirect fatigue can come from stress, sleep deprivation due to muscle spasms, or side effects from medications. Depression can also add to fatigue.
The second kind of fatigue listed is called a neurological fatigue. This includes tremors, muscle weakness, and muscle spasms (which I experience). All of which takes up a lot of energy and therefore contributes to fatigue. The third type of MS fatigue that is listed this autoimmune fatigue. This is described as the type of fatigue experienced in chronic fatigue syndrome.
This article goes on to list 7 ways to manage MS fatigue. Work closely with your MS healthcare providers, avoid heat exposure, take care of yourself, combine exercise with mindfulness, take breaks, discuss medication with your healthcare team, get help from depression, and simplify your life.
I really appreciate the “permission” to simplify my life. I was laid off from my last job, and moved to assist my aging parents, and in essence I retired. So my life has become simplified because of that fact. I have many opportunities to rest in between activities now. And that really helps.
The National MS Society says that fatigue is one of the most common symptoms occurring in about 80% of those of us with MS. The NMSS describes another kind of fatigue, referred to as lassitude. This is unique to people with MS. And this MS fatigue makes it different from fatigue experienced by persons without MS. The page goes on to mention several factors for managing fatigue. They are occupational therapy, physical therapy, sleep regulation, psychological interventions, heat management, and medications.
I hope I have helped you in some small way to assist you with your fatigue. I think the best advice is to find out what works for you. We are all different, different as snowflakes. So give yourself a break, experiment with different solutions. Find out what works for you and be flexible, knowing that every day is different!!