Fatigue limits the lives of 85% of people with multiple sclerosis. It is important that fatigue is taken seriously and its management is carefully considered.

MS fatigue is different for everyone, for some it causes overwhelming tiredness, whilst in others it worsens symptoms like visual disturbance, difficulties with concentration, memory, mobility and muscle spasms. Fatigue may make dealing with everyday activities that much more difficult.

Primary fatigue is experienced as a direct result of damage to the central nervous system. The body responds to this damage by slowing down reactions and thus causing fatigue. People with MS experience different types of fatigue including:

Secondary fatigue can be experienced as a result of other factors that are not necessarily directly related to your MS.  These can include:

Fatigue management requires a co-ordinated approach that involves active participation and involvement from family and colleagues, as well as health professionals.

You may feel that your personal relationships are affected because people do not understand how fatigue affects you.

Rest and relaxation If there is a regular pattern to your fatigue, it is ideal to take the rest before it is at its worst, as this enables the body to recuperate more quickly.

Relaxation techniques are available on compact discs or audiotape and are an effective method of complete relaxation.

The relaxation method used must not require active contracting and relaxing of muscles, as this can increase muscle spasm.

Prioritisation of daily activities, if you make a list of your regular habits and routines, some activities will be an obvious priority. Others can be shared, altered or even eliminated. Some changes will require the cooperation of others, it is important that everyone understands why the changes need to be made and the benefits they will have to you.

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