How do people cope with fatigue?


My husband has rheumatoid arthritis and fatigue is becoming a major problem for him. One day he is almost feeling euthoric the next he can hardly function.


  • Anna
    Anna Moderator Posts: 991

    Hi @Lexi2015 and welcome to the online community,

    Fatigue such as your husband is experiencing is a common symptom of Rheumatoid Arthritis and it’s sometimes difficult to explain to people how different it is to ordinary feelings of tiredness.

    Unfortunately, there is no one reason why it can affect someone and it is so unpredictable - you can go to bed feeling fine and wake up feeling completely debilitated. It could be due to the side effects of the medication that your husband takes; inflammation, or sometimes overdoing it when you’re feeling fine so that the next day you’re completely wiped out. It’s worth your husband talking to his GP or consultant because many of the reasons can be dealt with - for example he might be anaemic but only a blood test could show this.

    Other members on the forum may be able to share with you some self- help tips on dealing with fatigue, but meanwhile you might be interested to read this article from Versus Arthritis that explains some of the causes and also suggests ways to help prevent or alleviate it:

    All the best to you and your husband - do let us know how you’re both getting on.

    Anna : )

    Need more help? - call our Helpline on 0800 5200 520 Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm

  • Lexi2015
    Lexi2015 Member Posts: 9

    Thank you for replying. It's hard seeing him on top of the world one day and so wiped out the next.

  • Airwave!
    Airwave! Member Posts: 2,466

    Not easy! I have irrepressible urge to carry on my hobbies and interests in life, occasionally I get defeated and have a veg out. Reading books, newspapers, films and internet surfing till I feel guilty or need tea or feel better then I’m off again.

    if I have any angst left I do things like clean the oven or steam the floor and hoover the house, that makes me feel better about myself!

    I felt really down over the past week so I ordered some wood and built a shelter in the garden, I love doing stuff like that, totally absorbing. I still feel crap but I achieved something.

    its a grin, honest!

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,742
    edited 10. Nov 2020, 00:00

    Hi @Lexi2015 I have OA, and the fatigue that goes with it often takes me by surprise and I have a complete “flat battery day”, or feel exhausted by really minor exertion. I hadn’t expected that this would be part of the arthritis package.

    But as a former ME / CFS sufferer, a few things come to mind that your husband may find useful. It’s mainly to do with pacing and making choices.

    1. This is the hardest one, accept that you don’t have the energy you want or need, and adapt your life around it.
    2. Find new ways to do things, prioritise, let some things go (I used to call it putting them in the “stuff-it bucket”, although I didn’t say “stuff it”! 😉)
    3. avoid boom and bust. It’s tempting to dash out and enjoy yourself or try to get loads done if you’re having a good day, but you’ll pay for it many times over on the following days. Try to picture that you have fixed units of energy available to you each week. If you use them all up on day 1, you won’t have anything left for the rest of the week.
    4. if you do have to have a busy day, shopping, working, hospital appointment, family event, whatever, rest up for a few days before hand so you’re not starting with flat batteries, and allow recovery days after.
    5. allow yourself small pleasures. It keeps life bearable when you’re having a tough day. Replace things you can’t do with new ones, and try not to mourn the things you’ve had to let go too much. Focus on the things you can still do.
    6. be kind to yourself. Your body needs help, you (the sufferer) are the one it has to start with. Don’t beat yourself up about it, work with it.

    But you know what? Every now and then having a hyper and euphoric day isn’t a disaster. It’s part of who we are, it makes great memories, it can be mentally restorative, which can also have physical benefits, and we can always recover the next day.

  • wildflowers

    I know fatigue for me is awful but I also only have a kidney function of 26% and I'd just add know your own limits and it might be worth asking for a full blood count to check for B12 deficiency and thyroid function. I have B12 by injection and it makes a huge difference even though its a painful injection. Another thing to do is make sure your well hydrated and take regular breaks and give yourself permission to sit down. I find that exercise helps and use a Nordic trainer for a few minutes every other day. I'm going to try the exercise programme on here this week.I've had RA for many years and still have a duvet day every now and agin, its not a common thing but I just think its ok and tomorrow is another day. Its awful to worry your letting people down if thats a day when a social arrangement has been made but real friends understand and invariably turn up to make a cup of tea. lol xx