Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2013 May 9;14:163. doi: 10.1186/1471-2474-14-163.

Patient perspectives of managing fatigue in Ankylosing Spondylitis, and views on potential interventions: a qualitative study.

Author information

  • 1College of Medicine, Swansea University, Swansea, South Wales, UK.



Fatigue is a major component of living with ankylosing spondylitis (AS), though it has been largely over-looked, and currently there are no specific agreed management strategies.


This qualitative exploratory study involved participants who are members of an existing population-based ankylosing spondylitis (PAS) cohort. Participants residing in South West Wales were invited to participate in a focus group to discuss; (1) effects of fatigue, (2) self-management strategies and (3) potential future interventions. The focus groups were audio-recorded and the transcripts were analysed using thematic analysis.


Participants consisted of 3 males/4 females (group 1) and 4 males/3 females (group 2), aged between 35 and 73 years (mean age 53 years). Three main themes were identified: (1) The effects of fatigue were multi-dimensional with participants expressing feelings of being 'drained' (physical), 'upset' (emotional) and experiencing 'low-mood' (psychological); (2) The most commonly reported self-management strategy for fatigue was a balanced combination of activity (exercise) and rest. Medication was reluctantly taken due to side-effects and worries over dependency; (3) Participants expressed a preference for psychological therapies rather than pharmacological for managing fatigue. Information on Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) was received with interest, with recommendations for delivery in a group format with the option of distance-based delivery for people who were not able to attend a group course.


Patients frequently try and manage their fatigue without any formal guidance or support. Our research indicates there is a need for future research to focus on psychological interventions to address the multi-faceted aspects of fatigue in AS.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for BioMed Central Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk