Feb 26, 2024 Fatigue in Multiple Sclerosis: A Physical Therapist’s Perspective

Upcoming Program: Multiple Sclerosis Fatigue Management Workshop
April 17, 2024 | 12 - 1:30 pm  |  Ambulatory Care Center

Join Andrew Sylvester, MD, Medical Director of The Multiple Sclerosis Care Center, and therpaists from the Comprehensive Outpatient Rehabilitation Department, to learn more about MS fatigue and review strategies to help you better manage symptoms in your daily life. Learn more and register.


By: Ashley Dembeck, PT, DPT, MSCS, Barnabas Health Ambulatory Care Center

Do you have Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and experience “brain fog” or feel like you are “hitting a wall”? Fatigue is an invisible and often debilitating symptom that can affect many people with MS. The good news is, there are both medical and rehabilitation-based management strategies that can help to reduce fatigue.

From a physical therapist’s perspective, there are several approaches that can be beneficial to conserve and even improve energy levels. This includes the following:

  1. Avoid overheating by adjusting the temperature in your home environment, wearing layered clothing, taking lukewarm showers/baths, and using cooling equipment such as ice vests or neck wraps when exercising.
  2. Be open to adaptive equipment such as ankle braces, walking poles, rollators, or even power scooters/chairs to aid in mobility, especially when you have to travel longer distances. Improving how you move with the help of mobility aids can reduce the energy required to get from point A to point B.
  3. Exercise to improve fitness! Did you know, the National MS Society recommends 150 minutes of physical activity per week? Start slow with 10-15 minutes of exercise and over time you will be able to improve your functional endurance. Consult with a PT if you are unsure where to start!

These lifestyle changes are not intended to take anything away from you, but rather to help you lead a more independent and meaningful life with less fatigue.

Ashley Dembeck, PT, DPT, MSCS, is neuro physical therapist based at the Barnabas Health Ambulatory Care Center in Livingston, NJ. She has been working with patients with MS for 5 years and is a co-presenter for the MS Fatigue Management Workshop: Medical and Rehabilitation Approaches lecture series.

The experienced and compassionate staff at Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center Rehabilitation centers, with locations in West Orange and Livingston, offers adults and children the specialized care they need to resume an active life after surgery, injury or illness. Staff is committed to providing patients with the most advanced services in a safe, caring and soothing environment. For high-risk patients who are unable to visit in person, telehealth is an option. Patients do not need a prescription for physical therapy services.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call 973-322-7500.