8 Ways to Fight MS-Related Fatigue

Disturbed sleep, depression, symptom flare-ups, overheating, and normal, everyday activities all contribute to the fatigue associated with multiple sclerosis. There are steps you can take in almost every area of your life to help combat these feelings of extreme exhaustion.

1. Diet

Eat well-balanced meals and space them so you never go more than five hours without eating. Eating regularly helps keep your energy levels up. It's also a good idea to keep caffeine to a minimum. Caffeine provides stimulation, which is not the same as energy you get from food.

2. Exercise

Swimming and yoga are two good activities for people with multiple sclerosis, according to Ohio State University Wexler Medical Center. A physical therapist can develop an individualized exercise program for you and also teach you ways to conserve energy when you are walking or engaged in other routine activities.

3. Temperature Control

At home, maintain cool temperatures. When out and about, avoid spending time in hot places and activities that may cause you to become overheated. Wear light, cotton clothing and cover your head when you are out in the sun. Spray yourself with water, if necessary, and carry a portable fan in your bag when you travel during warm months. If you are near a lake or an ocean, you can cool your whole body by simply standing in cold water—no need to completely submerge yourself.

4. Sleep Management

Other symptoms of MS, such as loss of bladder control, pain, and spasticity, can make it difficult to sleep through the night. The solution is to treat these underlying problems so you can get rest. Speak to your physician about short-term use of medication.

5. Aspirin Therapy

A small Mayo Clinic study found that people with MS who take four aspirin a day feel significantly less fatigue. Since long-term use of aspirin can lead to other health issues, it is important to speak with your physician if you are considering taking aspirin on a regular basis.

6. Conserve Energy

Plan your day to divide your activities up so that you can rest in between. Plan in advance so that you can get your most important work done first and then use any energy you have left on other tasks and activities.

7. Get Help

At home, have someone help you with everyday chores such as housecleaning and shopping. Whenever possible, use delivery services. At work, ask coworkers to help with occasional heavier tasks.

8. Find Support

Emotional support can be uplifting. If you feel you need more than friends and family can provide, you may benefit from individual or group therapy.




Giovannoni, G. "Multiple Sclerosis Related Fatigue" Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry with Practical Neurology. 2006 Jan;77(1)2-3 Web June 2012.

Lee, D. et al. "Treatment of Fatigue in Multiple Sclerosis: A Systematic Review of the Literature." International Journal of Nursing Practice. 2008 Apr;14(2):81-83 Web June 2012.

Mayo Clinic: Aspirin for Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis-Related Fatigue Web June 2012.

Ohio University Wexler Medical Center: Fatigue Web June 2012.