What Can You Do If You Experience Side Effects
The CDC recommends people talk to their doctors about taking over-the-counter medicines like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, or antihistamines, for any pain and discomfort after getting vaccinated.
“You can take these medications to relieve post-vaccination side effects if you have no other medical reasons that prevent you from taking these medications normally,” the CDC states. “It is not recommended you take these medicines before vaccination for the purpose of trying to prevent side effects.”
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What Can I Do If I Have Fatigue
Although fatigue cant be cured, there are techniques that can be used to reduce the impact it has on your daily life.
There are two main aspects of managing fatigue.
- Ensuring you have the best levels of energy available eg, through eating healthily, staying active, getting enough sleep, reducing stress and improving your mood.
- Learning how to use that energy in the most efficient way eg, by planning in advance, prioritising and delegating tasks, and pacing yourself.
Although the key person in fatigue management is you, health professionals, such as an MS nurse, occupational therapist or physiotherapist, can support you through this process and help you develop strategies to manage your fatigue.
Do reach out to them if fatigue is an issue and you need some advice and support you don’t have to manage fatigue on your own.
What Causes Fatigue In Patients With Multiple Sclerosis
The exact cause of MS-related fatigue is still unknown. There are several theories on the subject:
- One theory is that fatigue is related to the general activation of the immune system. Chemical messengers are called cytokines these levels are higher in patients with MS and may be higher still in patients with fatigue. One way of describing this is that you may feel like you have a virus all of the time.
- Another theory is that people with MS may have to use more parts of their brain to do the same task as someone without MS in essence, they are working harder.
- Another theory is that fatigue is related to reduced electrical transmission of signals in the brain.
Whatever the theory, we know that fatigue from MS is a very real part of the disease.
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What Is A True Relapse Of Multiple Sclerosis
A plaque in the brain or spinal cord changes the electrical signals that zip up and down nerves. They can get slower, distorted, or stop altogether. Those signal changes cause the symptoms of MS. One example of an MS flare is optic neuritis, inflammation of the nerve that connects the eye and the brain, which makes it harder to see.
Flares can be mild and not cause major problems, or they can severely affect your day-to-day life. They usually last from a few days to several weeks, though some can stick around for months.
Fatigue Makes Simple Tasks Feel Impossible
For me, when fatigue sets in, it feels like my entire body is weighed down. Like Im submerged in an invisible layer of quicksand that makes every move extremely arduous. The simplest of tasks becomes incredibly difficult. I could be lying on the couch and just trying to reach for the remote control can seem like a near-impossible task. Thats something that I dont think people understand. Its not just that Im too exhausted to go do something, Im too exhausted to do anything. Simple tasks like taking a drink of water or going to the bathroom become astonishingly difficult for me.
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Women Share Their Experiences Managing Ms In The Cold
To warm up your feet, try a wrap that’s filled with rice or beans that can be heated up in the microwave and put on any body part that’s chilly. You can put one on your feet and one over your shoulders. You can also stick your feet in hot water. Wearing thick socks to bed helps too.
Cooling down burning feet is a little trickier. The solution can be something simple, like sticking your feet outside the sheets when you’re in bed, standing on cool bathroom tiles, or putting a cold, wet washcloth on them.
How Is Pain Treated
How your pain is treated will depend on the cause and severity of the pain. This means that you need a thorough assessment to decide whether the pain is nerve pain, muscle pain or might be due to causes other than MS. Assessment may be carried out by a neurologist, MS nurse, physiotherapist, or occupational therapist, amongst others, depending on the type of pain and the likely choice of treatment. You may be referred to a pain clinic to see the specialist pain team.
Treating pain often means trying several treatments one after the other, or perhaps at the same time, to see what works best for you. You have a role to play, not only in following the advice of your health professionals about treatments, but in making changes to your daily life to minimise your pain and its effects on you. Your health professionals should review your treatment regularly and suggest alternatives if something is not working well.
It may not be possible to get rid of your pain completely so it may be a case of managing it as well as possible to reduce its impact on everyday life.
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Treatment For Vertigo When You Have Ms
When you have vertigo as a result of MS, there are a number of treatments available. Lightheadedness and dizziness are common MS symptoms, but vertigo is more severe. There are many ways in which vertigo can be managed including:
You will benefit from physiotherapy as the therapist will determine which head positions make the vertigo worse and then work with you to build up your tolerance in those positions.
Exercise will improve your strength and muscle tone and elevate your mood. It can also help with any mobility issues and your balance and coordination.
When you feel vertigo it will help you to feel more comfortable if you:
Find somewhere to sit down
Avoid moving your body and head
Move very slowly when you do feel the vertigo passing
Turn down bright lights. If a vertigo episode happens during the night while you are in bed, turn on a dim light and sit up straight. Lying down in the dark may trigger the vertigo symptoms to return.
Whatever the cause of your vertigo, there are actions you can take to feel better.
Fuel Your Body With High
Theres no specific diet for MS, but the NMSS recommends following a healthy diet thats low in fat and high in fiber. According to the NMSS, the foods you choose to eat affect your energy levels.
Consuming simple carbohydrates such as sugary foods and highly refined foods such as white bread, white rice, or pasta can cause blood sugar levels to spike and crash. The crash can exacerbate preexisting fatigue in persons with MS, explains Barbara Giesser, MD, neurologist and MS specialist at Pacific Neuroscience Institute at Providence Saint Johns Health Center in Santa Monica, California.
How can you avoid this? Regularly choosing high-quality foods can help, says Dr. Giesser. Good options include:
- Protein-packed options, like beans, nuts, and lean animal proteins
- Fiber-rich foods, like oatmeal, brown rice, and high-fiber breakfast cereals
- Fresh fruit and leafy green vegetables
- Fat-free or low-fat yogurt
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Make Things Easier On Yourself
When Im working out and doing things to strengthen my legs, I cant do them like everyone else. When youre doing exercises like lunges or squats, sometimes you need extra stability so they dont tire as quickly. I have found that holding onto something, especially when performing lunges, helps my legs stay stronger longer. Also when walking, wherever it may be, if you know your legs might get weak, make sure youre in a place where seating is nearby. Its better to be safe than sorry.
Take Breaks And Pace Yourself
Pacing yourself and taking breaks during the day can help you stay healthy, says Wentink.
When Im drained and continue to push, I think Im putting myself at risk for getting sick, he says. When I feel fatigued, I take it as a sign that I need to step back and take a break.”
Symptoms tend to get worse when severe fatigue sets in, says Wentink. I try to slow down before that happens because I dont want to bring on a relapse, he adds.
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What Does Ms Leg Weakness Feel Like
Leg weakness can be difficult to describe, and people with MS may experience it in different ways. Members of MyMSTeam often use metaphors to explain how leg weakness affects them.
- My legs feel like jelly, other times they feel like they have weights on them.
- My left leg feels like I’m dragging a block of wood around, and my right leg buckles under me.
- Anyone ever feel like their legs are Jell-O and cement at the same time?
- My legs are like Jell-O, wobbly and unpredictable, making it hard to walk.
- I felt like one leg was shorter than the other and felt unbalanced all the time.
- I had what I called spaghetti legs because my legs felt like they had about as much substance as a cooked noodle.
However MyMSTeam members describe their leg weakness, they agree it is a frustrating and often debilitating symptom of MS.
How To Manage Ms Fatigue
It can be useful to learn to recognise the early signs of fatigue and how it affects you. Likewise, talking with family, friends and/or colleagues may help them understand any limitations.
MS fatigue often results from secondary factors, such as co-existing medical conditions, poor diet, lack of fitness or sleep, medication side effects, stress, depression, hormonal changes or heat sensitivity. Identifying any contributing factors, should help you to develop a tailored management plan.
Fatigue management strategies include:
- Stay active exercises to increase your stamina and strength may be useful.
- Monitor sleep patterns and address any issues.
- Manage other contributing MS symptoms, such as depression.
- Rest/take breaks.
- Vary heavy with lighter tasks for example, if you have more fatigue in the afternoon, do harder jobs in the morning.
Some Of The More Common Descriptions Include:
You may have a totally different description for your pain. Nerve pain is particularly difficult to describe and people with MS sometimes worry that they wont be believed or they are going mad. However, pain and unusual sensations are common in MS and treatment should be discussed with your health professionals in the same way as for any other symptom.
Sensory Symptoms And Ms
Changes in sensations such as numbness, pins and needles and tingling are common MS symptoms, related to damage to nerve covering in certain areas. These sensations can occur anywhere on the body such as the arms, legs and face. They can be mild or could interfere with your ability to use the affected part of your body, such as difficulty in writing with a pen.
The new onset of sensory symptoms may be associated with a relapse and should be reported to your MS healthcare team.
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What Can I Do If I Have Pain
You can manage your pain using drug treatments or other therapies, such as physiotherapy. Sometimes a combination of drugs or other treatments works best. Not all pain requires treatment, it depends on how much effect it is having on your life.
Managing pain may include learning coping strategies or making changes to everyday life so that pain has less impact on you. It is important to manage your pain as well as possible or you may lose sleep or become understandably irritable, angry or depressed.
In addition, other things that are happening in your life can make the pain feel better or worse so it is important to manage stress, get support and be as positive as possible about managing your pain. Like many MS symptoms, heat sensitivity or, sometimes, cold sensitivity can make pain worse. So can fatigue, lack of sleep, feeling isolated or depressed.
Fatal Problems For Those On The Upper End Of The Scale
For an up-close and often intimate and brutally honest look at what life is like for someone on the upper end of the scale and their caregivers, I highly recommend you read some of the articles by Donna Steigleder about her life with her husband Lynn, and his progression over the past few years. Donna writes on the challenges of fighting infections and keeping Lynn healthy.
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People With Ms May Experience Pain For Other Reasons Including:
- as a side effect of medication eg headaches or injection site reactions to disease modifying treatments
- as a result of infections, such as a bladder infection
- from an accident or other health condition not related to MS
It is common to experience more than one type of pain.
Treating MS pain may include drugs or non-drug treatments, such as physiotherapy. You can also make changes to your everyday life so that pain has less impact. Effective pain management often means trying a range of approaches to see which ones work best for you and then adopting several at once to get the best overall effect.
The Most Common Ms Complications
MS is a disease of the central nervous system, and although it doesnt directly cause death it can create problems that cause other forms of physical disability to create complications. Being in a wheelchair or bedridden can make the person more susceptible to infection, blood clots, and pneumonia. According to the NMSS common complications for people with advanced MS include:4
- Pneumonia, especially aspiration pneumonia which happens when someone is choking and inhales food or liquid in the lungs
- Pressure sores occur when people are limited in their positions and spend long periods of time in one position seated in a wheelchair or lying in bed. Pressure sores can become infected and very difficult to heal.
- UTIs the dreaded urinary tract infections for most of us can become life-threatening for people who are not moving about as much. Their kidney and bladder infections can go unnoticed for long periods of time allowing infections to possibly spread through the blood stream.
Any of these problems can be fatal for someone who has health problems, but especially for a person who is already bedridden and medically vulnerable.
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Problems With Thinking Learning And Planning
Some people with MS have problems with thinking, learning and planning, known as cognitive dysfunction.
This can include:
- getting stuck on words
- problems with understanding and processing visual information, such as reading a map
- difficulty with planning and problem solving people often report that they know what they want to do, but can’t grasp how to do it
- problems with reasoning, such as mathematical laws or solving puzzles
But many of these problems aren’t specific to MS and can be caused by a wide range of other conditions, including depression and anxiety, or even some medicines.
Multivitamins Reduce Fatigue Improving Quality Of Life
After the five or six years, the fatigue scores were found to be similar between groups and were not significantly different from the scores at baseline or at 12 months. The researchers noted that this lack of differences could be explained, at least in part, by the absence of those with the greatest improvements at 12 months.
Changes in behavior lifestyle changes that had been implemented by participants after each of their programs also were examined as part of the follow-up. More than half had learned and were using certain behaviors to manage their fatigue, according to the researchers. The most commonly implemented behaviors in both programs were actively prioritizing daily or weekly activities, the follow-up showed.
Of note, there were no differences in the proportion of patients implementing each behavior change in each group, nor in the number of changes.
Overall, fatigue impact was stable and behavior changes were similar between groups 56 years after a fatigue self-management program, the team wrote.
While MSTC did not teach specific behavior change strategies to manage fatigue, these strategies are well-known and available, and all were being used with similar frequency in both groups 56 years later, the investigators concluded.
Limitations of the study were its inclusion of few men, and the lack of participant retention, the researchers said, noting that all follow-ups should be planned at initial trial design.
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Treatments For Musculoskeletal Pain
Musculoskeletal pain may be helped by common pain relieving drugs such as paracetamol, ibuprofen or aspirin. If the pain is due to muscle stiffness , then treatments for spasticity may be offered.
A physiotherapist can identify any changes in your posture or walking that may be causing pain. They can also advise you on exercises to strengthen certain muscle groups and so keep you flexible and mobile and reduce your pain. If you have difficulty moving, a friend, family member or carer may be able to gently help you stretch.
If the pain has arisen as a result of poor posture when sitting or standing, a physiotherapist will help you to correct that posture and relieve the strain on the painful joints or soft tissues. A referral to the wheelchair clinic may also be helpful to be assessed for devices, like shaped cushions or T-rolls, to use in your chair to improve posture.
An occupational therapist can suggest equipment that might help you at home or work, or when getting out and about. OTs may also suggest lifestyle changes to make things easier for you and help relieve your pain. Making several small changes can add up to a large improvement in managing your pain.