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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Painsomnia: An Exhausting Problem


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One of the most commonly reported symptoms of multiple sclerosis is fatigue. So it’s no surprise that those suffering with MS may hear that they need to get some rest. Indeed, many suffering from MS will certainly try to get some rest and will end up failing miserably at that endeavor because of what I like to call “Painsomnia”. Painsomnia is the inability to sleep or rest because your body is in pain. It’s something that affects a large number of those with chronic illness, myself included, and it can make the normal fatigue we suffer from even more unbearable.
Painsomnia: An Exhausting Problem
There is a popular meme that is often distributed on social media that reads that “It takes people with MS five times more energy than people without MS to complete a simple task”. I don’t know if that is scientifically accurate but I can certainly attest to it feeling that way. Life with MS is draining! On top of the fatigue (which feels like trying to go through life while constantly swimming in quicksand), everything seems to exhaust me much quicker than it did prior to getting this disease. I was once a ball of energy that seemingly never needed rest or sleep. These days, I’m the opposite of that. I grind to a halt fairly quickly, faster if the weather is warm.
The thing with MS fatigue is that most of the time, no amount of sleep is going to help. You’ll still have to slug through many days and fight through it as best you can. However, that fatigue is made exponentially worse when you can’t get a good night’s sleep. To really survive that crushing fatigue, you need a good foundation of rest that is, unfortunately, very hard to get because of the MS-related pain that many of us experience.
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