This part will show you how to deal with your MS symptoms and complications in a way you’ll find easy to understand, easy to follow, and you will just like it.
Any of your concerns about your MS will be discussed here, and many practical suggestions will be given to you on this page to help and guide you just live happily with your MS and feel happy the way you are.
The contents of this page will start soon and it will grow to cover things those concern MS sufferers with thoughts, ideas, and practical suggestions to help you enjoy your life and feel confident with your MS.
Subjects covered in this area will include:
Fatigue and how to deal with it.
Pain and other sensory symptoms.
Spasm, cramps, leg jerkiness, and restless leg syndrome.
Bladder problems, and how to cope.
Depression, anxieties, worries, and lack of confidence . . . on how to sort them out, and how to get rid of them.
Memory problems and how to improve your memory.
Pregnancy and how to cope.
Lack of Sleeping . . . and how to sleep without sleeping pills.
Married life and sexual disorders in MS.
Your questions and queries all answered in this place
In this area, I will deal with fatigue as a daily problem and how to make life easy for you despite of your fatigue.
Fatigue is very common in MS. Almost, every sufferer of MS will experience fatigue irrespective of the stage, duration, and type of MS. Fatigue can precede MS diagnosis by many months or even few years. Unexplained fatigue in a young female should raise the thinking about MS at least from the professional(neurologist) side.
Before I move on this subject, please let me make a quick reminder(more details are mentioned on the first part of the MS area on this website under the category of “About”).
We know as neurologists that everything we do is electrical in nature. For electricity to be produced we need a cell(neuron), and for it to be effective we need thousands if not millions of neurons to be triggered at the same time. That needs a very good connection between cells via inter-cellular bridges called “dendrites”. For the produced electricity to be transmitted(passed) we need fibres(nerves), and for better transmission we need myelin sheath to cover those nerves seperately. Myelinated fibres(white matter in the brain) have around 10 fold better speed of transmission than the non-myelinated fibres. Hence, demyelinating disease(MS) does strip nerve fibres from their myelin sheaths, and that means reducing their electrical transmission !!.
Reduced electrical transmission means reducing performance for everything produced by brain cells(grey matter). That include of course muscle power, cognitive power, psychological performance and integrity, and obviously results in a “fatigue”.
Before we blame every tiredness on MS, we need to know that not every tiredness is because of MS. We may feel tired and exhausted after a strenuous exercise, or an extended daily activities. That sort of tiredness usually improves in 2-3 days time and the person returns back to normal. If you repeat the same amount of physical activities on many days or weeks, you will just get used to them and your liability for tiredness(fatigue) gets less or none.
Fatigue can be due to stress, depression, lack of sleep, or could be secondary to illnesses such as infections e.g viruses, inflammations e.g rheumatoid arthritis, or metabolic disorders e.g underactive thyroid. Fatigue can be secondary to anaemia, low blood sugar, low sodium, low calcium, or low protein in the body.
Hence, any one suffers from unexplained fatigue must contact their doctor, and the doctor will look for any treatable cause, and treat accordingly.
Anyone with MS who started to suffer from tiredness(fatigue) must look carefully for other things before blaming MS. Stress(internal or external), worry and anxiety, excessive physical activities, and above all lack of a sufficient and proper sleep. We need to remember always that sleep is not just a quantity, it is a quality as well.
Fatigue in MS
Between 93 – 97% of patients with MS experience fatigue at one stage of their daily living. Fatigue in MS is different from tiredness and other forms of fatigue. Fatigue in MS is not yet clearly explained, but I would consider here “electricity & transmission”. Generally, electricity is produced as usual, but transmission is significantly affected in MS.
Patients with MS do get tired easily, and most of the time, they do fail finishing tasks as they aspire. They do get frustrated and they do lose confidence in their abilities over time.
Many patients with MS look and appear very healthy on the outside. They don’t some times show signs of tiredness or exhaustion, and observers do most of the time fail to understand their ordeal. That obviously can include closest members of their families including their spouses. Healthy looking MS patients can very easily be branded “lazy” or “greedy”, or “feeble”. That does frustrate MS patients most of the time and made them loose their confidence in themselves. That might as well affect family relationships, and may in some circumstances lead to a divorce or seperation.
How can you beat or reduce fatigue in MS?
Make sure that it is because of MS, but not other illnesses.
Make sure that you are not suffering from insufficient sleep.
Make sure that your spouse, children, and close relatives understand your fatigue(your neurologist can help very much in this area to explain to them).
Keep your confidence of yourself and your powers(both physical & mental).
Never go beyond your threshold of performance(your ability). Try not to challenge your physical resolve .
Always remember that your nerve channels(lanes) are not all open. You don’t have much reserve for extra efforts or actions. The time you start feeling tired is the time YOU MUST rest.
Short breaks (10 – 15 minutes) are sometimes all what you need to refresh(reset) your powers. Some times short naps(siesta) is magic for you to refresh and feel energetic again.
Finally, let me give you this example to appreciate what I am talking about. This example will make you understand your physical and mental abilities.
Just imagine a motorway with few lanes on each side. Imagine a broken vehicle or a small accident blocking one lane in the motor way at a peak traffic time. Once that lane is blocked, jams(queues) of vehicles will very quickly build up. Drivers will then struggle and compete to use other functioning lanes. They will very quickly create(generate) havoc and anarchy. They will get angry at each other, and they may shout or fight or quarrel with one another. All what they need at that very time is a “traffic police car” to arrive very quickly and sort the traffic out. Within less than half an hour, the clever traffic police will manage to direct traffic by giving priorities and make the transfer from the blocked lane very smoothly. Drivers will then find their way happily, and the traffic jam just melts down !!.
That is exactly what you need to do when you get tried, confused, puzzled, or frustrated. Calm down, think, plan, and do one thing at a time !!. Try to re-direct functions to the none-blocked channels(lanes), and manage your own internal signal traffic to the open lanes, and you will guarantee to be there in no time !!.