Fatigue in MS has been described as an “overwhelming sense of tiredness.” Up to 80 percent of people with MS experience the disabling effects of fatigue. This overwhelming tiredness could occur at any time in the course of MS, and it has not been shown to be related to measures of disability such as the EDSS (Expanded Disability Status Scale). Many people with MS find that fatigue increases as the day goes on, and worsens with a rise in body temperature, which might be caused by hot and humid weather.

Fatigue in MS can be difficult for family members and friends to understand because it is invisible to others. If fatigue is poorly understood, a person with MS who is experiencing fatigue might be characterized as “lazy.” Educating family, friends, and partners about MS fatigue is very important.

Treatments for fatigue in MS include conserving energy, certain types of “easy exercise” (such as yoga and aquatic therapy), controlled cooling if in a hot environment, and medications. Additionally, the healthcare team will need to look for other influences, including poor sleep or poor diet, sedating medications that someone may be taking for treatment of MS or its symptoms, as well as untreated comorbidities such as infection or depression.


Conserving Energy

Energy-Saving Techniques

Relieving Fatigue through Cooling

Medications for Fatigue

Updated in December 2023 by Dr. Barry Hendin, MSAA Chief Medical Officer
Original content reviewed by David Rintell, EdD

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