Pain and fatigue

Pain and fatigue

Fatigue
Some people living with MS find that an overwhelming tiredness, or fatigue, is the symptom that affects them the most. Fatigue isn’t a normal kind of tiredness you feel at the end of a busy day, instead it’s an extreme tiredness with no obvious cause. People living with MS tend to find their fatigue changes throughout the day or week. It can also affect things you might not expect, for example it can: 

  1. Make your limbs feel heavy and harder to control, making it difficult to hold objects or to write
  2. Contribute to balance problems
  3. Contribute to problems with vision
  4. Make it hard to concentrate

I am isolated because of extreme fatigue. Bedridden because of fatigue. I don’t know what to do.” – Amy, Living with multiple sclerosis (MS)

Managing fatigue

Fatigue can have a major impact on your life and can be frustrating to explain to those around you. Have a look at our page on how you can find support from those around you here. One of the ways to manage fatigue is to try and improve any sleep problems you may be experiencing. Your doctor or MS nurse could suggest you stop taking certain treatments or that you try suitable physical exercise or adjust your working hours. Or if you find your fatigue gets worse at certain times or after certain activities, try keeping a diary as this can help when you discuss your MS with your doctor or MS nurse. 

Pain

Pain is a common symptom for people living with MS and it can be one of the most difficult. Pain can be described and experienced by people in different ways. Some might feel crushing, squeezing, cold, hot, stabbing or burning and some people describe a tightness in their chest, sometimes called the MS hug. Suffering from pain can be an exhausting and emotional experience, which can cause a great deal of distress and fear. 

Managing pain

Pain is a common MS symptom and you can experience it for a number of reasons. You might find you’re compensating for muscle weakness by overusing other muscles, which can end up causing you pain. You may experience pain associated with nerve damage, called neuropathic pain, this can lead to you feeling pain from things that wouldn’t normally cause you pain. 

Depending on your pain and preferences, your doctor or MS nurse may recommend over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers, exercise, massage therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy or relaxation techniques. 

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