I went to a great MS seminar (part one - fatigue)

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Forum Moderator

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 3547
   Posted 7/2/2008 8:15 PM (GMT -7)   
Hey eveyone,
I just recently attended an MS seminar hosted by the MS Society.  It was very very interesting.  I took copious notes and I am now willing to share (bore you?) with you all that I have learned.  I want to break this up into more easily processed chunks.  I hope you find it easier to read.  I just cannot read LONG posts. 
I learned about MS and how it is affected by:
     *bowel and bladder
     *the body as a complex system
Ok, I hope you learn something and I am not just prattling on about stuff you already know!
Let's start with fatigue.
Fatigue is caused by poor nerve transmission.  It takes incredible amounts of energy (both physical and mental) to push neuro transmissions through damaged/demyelinated axons.  It tends to get worse as the day wears on. 
depression, heat, sleep deprivation, deconditioning, dietary factors, illness (cold etc.), medications, other symptoms such as vertigo, spasticity, cognitive issues.
Fatigue causes all other symptoms to increase.  When you are fatigued, you will notice that your spasticity is worse as well as your bladder problems, cognitive problems etc.  That being said, you MUST manage your fatigue in order to minimize all of your MS symptoms.  So, if you feel your spasticity worsening as the day wears on, that is actually fatigue.  You need to take some time to rest as soon as possible.  It can be as simple as sitting for ten minutes and having something to drink and resting your brain.  You may need to take an actual nap for an hour or more.
Know your limits and experiment with what works for you.  Try to plan your day accordingly.  Do things that you know are more difficult for you early in the day.  See what kind of breaks and rests you need to incorporate in your day in order to minimize fatigue.  Managing your core body temperature is a critical part of managing fatigue.  Learn to be tolerant of your own limits.  Be aware of what you normally can accomplish and use it to track your overall functioning so you can report to your doctor on clinical progression. 
Professionals that can assist you with creating strategies:
Neurological physical therapist, occupational therapist, neuropsychologist.
Medications that can assist you with fatigue:
 (psycho-stimulants) Provigil, Focalin, Ritalin, Adderall, (anti-depressants)  Prozac, Zoloft, (Anti-spastics) Zanaflez, Baclofen
I hope this gives you some helpful strategies to consider.  The next installment will address heat. 

Gretchen       co-moderator MS board       diagnosed with MS July 2006

Post Edited (Gretchen1) : 7/3/2008 10:56:36 AM (GMT-6)

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 83
   Posted 7/3/2008 5:10 PM (GMT -7)   

This is awesome. Thank You for sharing.You are a great teacher. This is especially helpful for us new to this. Little lessons at a time. When I try to teach something I sound like Charlie Brown's Teacher lol. wa wa wa

mystery reader
Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 257
   Posted 7/4/2008 10:49 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks G!

Barb/mystery reader
Diagnosed April 2007
Started betaseron --  May 2007 -- experienced allergic reactions after 2 weeks
Started copaxone -- June 2007 -- stopped after 4 1/2 months;experienced  severe 5 IPIR's
Started tysabri -- December 2007
Stopped tysabri -- April 2008 (developed antibodies/severe reactions)

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 343
   Posted 7/5/2008 9:01 PM (GMT -7)   
Gretchen, thank you for posting this and taking the time to share this knowledge, it most definitely defines me and my war with my body and something I must develop a strategy with.
The provigil helps my fatigue but as I suspected, it masks it so that the spasticity then shows itself because I'm ignoring the fatigue now... so yes, I can understand this clearly. Thankyou for being willing to convey the seminar info!
Fear knocked ~ Faith Answered ~ No one was there! :)
 ~ Ephesians 6:13 ~  * ~ Psalm 27:1 ~

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 88
   Posted 7/5/2008 10:03 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Gretchen- that is helpful and even when I've heard some things before, I often need reminders.  Case in point, "be tolerant of my limits".   Not so good at that and I'm in a big place of frustration turning to depression because of my fatigue this last week.  A couple of meds for me to talk to doctor about- there were two new ones there I hadn't heard of.   Thanks again- Willow

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 3547
   Posted 7/5/2008 10:36 PM (GMT -7)   


I am glad the reminders have helped.  That is what I got from it too.  Solid reminders plus some new stuff for me.  Hang in there with the fatigue.  It will get better.  Talk to your doctor when you get a chance. 

Gretchen       co-moderator MS board       diagnosed with MS July 2006

Motown John
Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 475
   Posted 8/7/2008 5:47 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Gretchen!!!
To  me, fatigue is THE, of many, MS symtoms we all experience.
And...no one can understand the depth of our fatige unless they are another MS patient.
DX'ed June 21st, 1987

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