Home - National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Skip to navigation Skip to content
Healthy Living with MS

MS and Fatigue

Fatigue is a lack of physical energy, mental energy, or both. Everyone has low-energy days. And everyone knows what it's like to be down in the dumps and not feel like doing much of anything.

MS-related fatigue (also called MS lassitude to differentiate it from tiredness resulting from other causes) is different, and it's not always easy to spot. Although no one knows what really causes MS-related fatigue, we do know some things that can help.

General Information
 Fatigue: An overview
 Fatigue: What You Should Know
Read about the types of fatigue, the causes and treatments of MS-related fatigue, suggested basic lifestyle changes, and more
 Sleep Disorders and MS: The Basic Facts
MS symptoms and the sleep problems that interact with them
Research indicates that moderate aerobic exercise can reduce fatigue and depression and increase strength
 Occupational Therapy
Learn how to save energy by simplifying work tasks
 Physical Therapy
Learn energy-saving ways of walking (with or without assistive devices) and performing other daily tasks, and to develop a regular exercise program
Fatigue Workshop-in-a-box

“Fatigue: Take Control” is a six-week workshop on managing MS fatigue.

It includes two videos plus manuals for chapter workshop leaders and take-homes for the people who attend the six 2-hour sessions.


Contact your chapter to see if this program is offered in your area

Living with Fatigue
 You CAN...Manage Fatigue
Helpful tips and tricks
 Assistive Devices
Tools or implements that make a particular function easier to perform can help conserve energy.
 Housing Modifications
An uncluttered look is a definite plus for cutting down your workload.
Dr. Ng "Recently, scientists have suggested that changes in blood pressure and heart rate regulation in people with MS may contribute to fatigue," says Dr. Ng. "We are investigating this possibility." Read more about Dr. Ng and his research

Contact Your Doctor

Because fatigue can also be caused by treatable medical conditions such as depression, thyroid disease, anemia, or may occur as a side effect of various medications, persons with MS should consult a physician if fatigue becomes a problem.

Graphic on fatigue
What We Know About MS-Related Fatigue
  • Generally occurs on a daily basis
  • Tends to worsen as the day progresses
  • Tends to be aggravated by heat and humidity
  • Comes on suddenly and may be overwhelming
  • Is generally more severe than normal fatigue and is more likely to interfere with daily responsibilities.

Read more about fatigue


Multiple Sclerosis International Federation MS in Focus

Multiple Sclerosis International Federation's new magazine

Issue 1: Special Focus on dealing with fatigue (PDF)



Ongoing fatigue or loss of energy can be sign of depression. People with MS and other chronic illnesses experience depression more than the general population.
Read more on depression

Food for Thought

Fatigue may result in a decrease in appetite, activity, and less interest in food preparation. Here are some tips to ensure that you get the nutrition your body needs when fatigue becomes a challenge. Read tips

Last updated October 18, 2007