It was the middle of the day, I was on the couch, all I wanted was a cup of tea. But the thought of that was the most overwhelming thing in the entire world. My legs felt like molasses, breathing was difficult and my mind couldn’t comprehend how to even make tea. I was tired, exhausted, fatigued. Moving was impossible and I felt glued to the couch. I didn’t know how I’d get up and move.
Fatigue in MS
Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis, affecting about 80% of individuals with MS. MS Fatigue is different from other types of fatigue. MS related fatigue usually includes an overwhelming sense of weakness, and you may feel tired, exhausted, physically and mentally sluggish. Fatigue significantly interferes with life, and can often lead to individuals leaving the workforce. Fatigue is often a primary symptom, no matter what other symptoms are present, and individuals often report this is the most debilitating symptom they experience.
There are many different types of fatigue related to MS. Fatigue can be caused by waking up several times during the night due to nocturia, spasticity, muscle weakness and balance problems because these symptoms make competing daily tasks that much harder. Depression, another common symptom of MS can contribute to having fatigue as well.
Another form of fatigue that is specific to MS is called lassitude. Lassitude is not caused from lack of sleep or depression, but directly related to MS itself. As with everything else, the cause of Lassitude unknown at this time. The symptoms of Lassitude present as:
- Interfering with daily responsibilities
- May become worse with increased exposure to heat and humidity
- Is more severe than normal fatigue
- Generally occurs on a daily basis
- May occur early in the morning, regardless of a good night’s sleep
- Tends to get worse throughout the day
- Comes on suddenly and without warning
Managing MS Fatigue
Since fatigue can be caused by a variety of different things, if you start to experience an increase in fatigue suddenly, I’d recommend a trip to the doctor to get a check up. Depression, thyroid issues, anemia, medication side effects, muscle imbalances can be just a few of the causes. Other interventions to help fatigue include occupational therapy, physical therapy, sleep interventions (therapy and medications), stress management and relaxation and medications.
How I Manage Fatigue
One of the things I have found to be the most helpful with my MS fatigue has been following the Autoimmune Protocol. I believe this has lowered my inflammation and helped to increase the energy delivered to my cells. This helps me to make it through the day without the debilitating fatigue that I used to have a on a daily basis. Now I only have fatigue occasionally, when it’s extremely humid or if I’ve realllly over done it. I consider that a big improvement!
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