Exercise: A natural remedy for MS fatigue

Physical activity may help reduce fatigue in patients with relapsing-remitting MS.

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Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a condition that affects the nervous system and can lead to various symptoms, including fatigue. A new study explores the connection between fatigue, disability, and daily physical activity in people with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS).

Fatigue is a common and often challenging symptom for people with MS, impacting their daily activities and overall quality of life. Researchers are exploring ways to manage this fatigue, and one potential approach is engaging in regular physical activity.

Researchers conducted a study at the University of Easter Finland, involving individuals with RRMS. They used special accelerometers to measure the participants’ activities in their daily lives. Additionally, the participants were asked about their feelings of tiredness. The researchers also assessed the level of disability each participant had.

Understanding the impact of fatigue on daily life for individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) is complex. The findings revealed exciting connections. RRMS patients with moderate disability levels (EDSS 0–2.5) experienced more fatigue than healthy individuals but less fatigue than those with higher disability levels (EDSS 3-5.5).

There was a clear link between the level of disability and the amount of fatigue experienced. Moreover, a strong relationship was found between fatigue and disability, as well as between daily physical activity and fatigue. Also, researchers found that people with a lower disability rate, better physical condition, and higher daily activity levels tend to have lower fatigue levels.

Tiredness increased with higher disability. People with lower disability, better fitness, and more activity experienced less fatigue. Fatigue significantly affects MS individuals, influencing work and early retirement, which holds societal significance.

Doctoral Researcher Marko Luostarinen of the University of Eastern Finland said, “The findings are interesting and support previous studies very well. Patients with MS should find a suitable form of exercise, considering their disability, which maintains their functional capacity and reduces fatigue. This study is unique because it was large and used modern methods. However, more detailed research into patients’ disability and physical activity levels is needed.”

In conclusion, the study suggests that incorporating regular physical activity into the routine of individuals with Multiple Sclerosis may help prevent or reduce fatigue. While more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms behind this effect and determine the most effective types of exercise, these findings provide valuable insights for improving the quality of life for people with Multiple Sclerosis.

Journal Reference:

  1. Marko Luostarinen, Anne M Remes et al., Correlation of fatigue with disability and accelerometer-measured daily physical activity in patients with relapsing-remitting MS. Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders. DOI: 10.1016/j.msard.2023.104908.
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