Fatigue is a common symptom for those with Multiple Sclerosis that is experienced as a daily lack of energy, an excessive all-over body tiredness, and is generally not relieved by sleep. This symptom has a dramatic effect on one’s quality of life. Though good nutrition and exercise can help combat fatigue, there are ways to help one manage fatigue.
Warning signs of fatigue can include, sleepiness, tired eyes, tired legs, lack of motivation, malaise, muscle stiffness, irritability, nervousness, and anxiety.
Planning helps alleviate fatigue in some situations. For instance you can change where the things you need throughout the day are located; to make them more accessible and cause fewer trips to reach them. Ask for help with certain tasks; delegating will certainly help. Plan each of your weeks ahead of time to eliminate overloading certain days. Balance is key to maintaining energy levels.
Schedule breaks. If you plan rest periods as you do your work you are more likely to take the breaks you need. This plays a big part in keeping your energy up.
When doing something physical, use proper body mechanics. Lift with your legs by bending at the knees instead of your back. Sit up straight instead of bent over. Use a cart or make a few trips instead of trying to carry heavy loads all at once. By using proper body mechanics and alternating periods of sitting and standing we stress our bodies less.
Try to limit the amount of work you do that causes tension in your muscles, especially reaching overhead. Make sure you breathe properly when you carry out these tasks, do not hold your breath.
Avoid temperature extremes and the work you do in these extremes. This includes long hot baths or showers. These are triggers for fatigue. Also; Avoid smoke and fumes. Make sure you wear clothing that breathes and comfortable shoes.
Make sure that your fatigue is not something that is related to sleeping disorders, or something keeping you up at night such as cramping, bladder problems or medications.
Finally if need be; you can discuss medications that prove beneficial for people with Multiple Sclerosis; such as, Amantadine (Symmetrel®), Methylphenidate(Ritalin®), Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine®), or Modafinil(Provigil®).