There are many things you can do to reduce the impact of fatigue. Start by working out the possible causes then talk to your healthcare team so they can look at different ways to help you manage it. If you think your drug treatment may be causing your fatigue, talk with your doctor about reviewing your treatment. They can also look for signs of other conditions that may be causing fatigue, and check your inflammation or anaemia levels.
If you have signs of active inflammation, your doctor may alter your medication to improve your symptoms, which will help to ease fatigue. If you have certain types of inflammatory arthritis, you may be prescribed a biological therapy, which can significantly reduce fatigue in some people. However, it’s unusual to make major changes to drug treatments to control fatigue unless there’s significant evidence of inflammation as well.
No specific drugs can treat arthritis-related fatigue, but there are many ways that you can reduce the impact of fatigue on your life without medication. Changing behaviours like this does work, but most of us need support to do it, so discuss this information with your GP or rheumatology team, who should be able to help you work through it (particularly your occupational therapist, rheumatology nurse specialist or physiotherapist).
Try combining some of the following tips on self-management. You can read more about them by following each link:
Use the four ‘P’s’ to help with fatigue
The four ‘P’s’ – Problem solving, Planning, Prioritising and Pacing – can all help to minimise the impact of fatigue. Read more
Monitor your energy output and fatigue
It may be useful to monitor how much energy you use on different tasks. Create a chart to record your activities, when you do them, how long they take and how tired you feel. Read more
Talk to family and friends about fatigue
It may be useful to monitor how much energy you use on different tasks. Create a chart to record your activities, when you do them, how long they take and the energy levels you use. Read more
Learn to say no to activities that will increase fatigue
If you feel that certain activities will increase your levels of fatigue, learn to say no or think about whether a compromise could be reached. Read more
Join a self-help group for people with fatigue
Many people who experience fatigue find that talking it over and learning from other people’s experiences is helpful. Read more
Increase your physical activity to help fatigue
Although doing too much can increase fatigue, lack of exercise reduces fitness levels and contributes to muscle weakness, and can therefore be a cause or a result of fatigue. Read more
Deal with stress or anxiety to help fatigue
If you experience fatigue, try to tackle any stress as soon as possible. Think about breaking tasks down into more manageable chunks and learning relaxation techniques. Read more
Find support for low mood to help fatigue
Fatigue may make you feel low or even depressed. You might find it useful to talk about negative feelings and thoughts with your GP or rheumatology team, or your friends and family. Read more
Get a good night's sleep to help ease fatigue
Poor sleep can contribute to fatigue. To help yourself get a good night's rest try getting into a relaxing bedtime routine, allowing yourself time to wind down after the day's activities. Read more
Eat a healthy diet to help with fatigue
Eating a well-balanced diet that provides all the nutrients you need should help keep your energy levels up and help with fatigue. Read more