Fatigue and MS

Maggie, a participant on the MS Register recently reviewed a scientific paper for us. It was published in ‘Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders’ and was created in collaboration between Birmingham University and the UK MS Register, looking at Fatigue and MS.

High levels of fatigue were reported by 56.4% of participants

Fatigue is a common problem for MS patients.

How the management of fatigue in MS patients is conducive to a better outcome in the treatment of mental and physical problems affecting day to day living.


Fatigue is a debilitating symptom of MS and is potentially caused by central nervous system lesions and inflammation leading to pain and poor sleep. The side effects of medications may also add to the problem and lead to the general deterioration of the ability to function day to day.

Between September 2016 and May 2018 fatigue was assessed as it affected 3398 participants in the U.K. MS Register questionnaire on the subject. The benefits of having a large number of people willing to answer questions on all aspects of their health in relation to fatigue are apparent and show how the U.K. MS Register can help the relevant professionals in their research into MS.

The study aimed to examine differences between personal experiences of fatigue in MS patients, who provided information to the U.K. MS Register and answered questions for the Fatigue Severity Scale. high levels of fatigue were reported by 56.4% of participants and higher levels of fatigue were associated with higher levels of anxiety and depression among other variables. 69.5% of the participants were female and 56% had Relapsing Remitting MS. 56.4% of the respondents experienced high levels of fatigue. Fatigue affects the quality of life in many MS patients and influences walking ability and the ability to do household tasks. It causes depression and anxiety and mood disorders. Like many MS problems, fatigue is not a visible symptom of itself. It is reflected in the problems which are visible to others, but the effect is often exacerbated by the impression that the patient is not trying hard enough, a common problem which leads to mood swings and anxiety and a draining depressive state. A reduction in social interaction and participation is also a result of fatigue.

The study posits that a personal intervention tailored to a patient’s specific needs would have positive health benefits. Some patients would respond well to an exercise programme, others to psychological support.




About me

My name is Maggie and I have Secondary Progressive MS which is thankfully not active at present and has stabilised to a problem with spasticity and some very small problems with brain function no doubt caused by a multitude of brain lesions. Management of fatigue has involved a personal imposition of routine and a determination to keep to that as regards sleep and meal times.

The scientific paper that was used for this report was:
Fatigue and fluctuations in physical and psychological wellbeing in people with multiple sclerosis: A longitudinal study.
By Jet Veldhuijzen van Zanten , Michael R Douglas, Nikos Ntoumanis  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33176231/