Why are Fatigue and Tiredness so common in MS?

Fatigue is, perhaps, the most common symptom of multiple sclerosis, with the majority of people suffering from MS experiencing it at some point in the course of the disease. It may be that the fatigue is a permanent feature of your MS, or it may come and go without plausible explanation.

Generally, MS fatigue can be classified as either mental fatigue or physical fatigue. Stephen Walker is aware of the consequences only too well.

Physical Fatigue

The physical fatigue, I think, is fairly self-explanatory. You do some physical labour, you get tired, you lie down and rest, sorted.

However, apparently, for reasons not fully understood. The efficiency of demyelinated nerves deteriorates very rapidly with use.

If you were to go out for a walk, you may begin in a sprightly manner, but very quickly you slow down. And, begin to find it increasingly difficult to lift your feet or coordinate your leg movements. The nerve function has begun to fail. This will recover with rest.

Overwhelming Sense of Tiredness


When thinking about the operation of my CNS, I like to make the analogy with electrical wiring. If an electric circuit is working too hard, the wires will overheat, the insulation may start to break down, the connection may burn out. All, potentially, catastrophic failures.

Something of this ilk is happening when you over-tax your body and your nerves are handling too many signals.

However, one of the most noticeable symptoms that I experience; is my eyesight. This starts off well enough in the morning. But, deteriorates as the day progresses. My Optician called it old-age (Cheeky young whippersnapper, I was only 48 at the time, although I am considerably older now.)

However, it was my MS nurse who made the connection. The nerves that control the muscles that focus the eyes are becoming tired and not working as they should.

Mental Fatigue

Mental fatigue is not so clear-cut. It is often, but not exclusively, associated with depression. A word I try to use sparingly.

Mental fatigue can be a vicious cycle. It can lead to bad moods, bad decisions, and a lack of motivation. When you feel mentally fatigued you’re less likely to take care of yourself or your surroundings. The bad news is that mental fatigue is a behavioural pattern that you can easily get into. The good news is that it’s easy to break yourself out of it! Read on for some simple steps to start bridging the gap between your mind and body today.

In my experience mental fatigue seems to manifest itself as a lack of motivation, or an “I can’t be bothered” attitude. My local rehabilitation centre places a great store on Fatigue Management, but what this entails I have yet to discover, as I am still on the waiting list for the classes.

There are also times when you just can’t think clearly. Quite often, mid Blog posting.

Fatigue Management

  • Occupational therapy to simplify every-day tasks
  • Physical therapy to find more energy-efficient ways of daily tasks
  • Relaxation training
  • Heat management
  • Medication (Amantadine and Modafinil are two oft used)

But, if you do suffer from chronic tiredness in any way do not feel guilty about resting. You should rest at any time day or night. I know I did for a while, and was frequently accused of being lazy which I take great offence at.

Most of the criticism came from me. I would be lying on the settee having a rest but, knowing that I had things that I wanted to do.

A Lack of Cellular Energy

It is now several years since I first wrote this post. Albeit, this is a new Blog and I am curating my older material. My attitude has changed and I now have more energy than I have had for years. What is the reason for this?

I discovered The Wahls Protocol and a thorough explanation of how mitochondria power our lives. See the link for my detailed account of the discovery.

The mitochondria are responsible for all the energy in our bodies. The energy needed by our bodies comes only from mitochondria.

Furthermore, an effective immune system needs an ample source of energy.

What your cells use to fuel the chemistry of life comes directly from what you feed yourself.

Dr Terry Wahls

It all makes sense. Moreover, a change of diet can transform your life.

We need to be feeding ourselves well. Because, by feeding ourselves well, we will be feeding our mitochondria well. A happy mitochondrion delivers good health for all of us!

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