Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a disease where your body attacks itself, specifically the fatty coating called the myelin sheath on nerves in the brain, spinal cord, and eye area. This causes many scars to develop, which prevent the nerves from communicating as they should. This communication breakdown creates a range of symptoms from mild to severe, and from temporary to permanent.
No two people experience MS exactly the same way. Certain treatments (disease-modifying drugs) can help slow the progression of MS, and the time between relapses varies greatly. Currently there is no cure.
People with MS have it for life.
Physical therapycan ease many of your MS symptoms and help you get around better.
It can help you with Balance problems Trouble moving your body Feeling tired Finding anexerciseroutine that's right for you Pain Weakness Ways to save your energy Better ways to move or do everyday tasks You may start working with a physical therapist right after you get a diagnosis. You can schedule follow-up appointments with them when you need them. Some hospitals have physical therapists on staff that specialize in MS treatment. You will need to ask your doctor for a formal referral, but check with other people who have MS for suggestions on where to go in your area.
On your first visit, your therapist will talk to you about your symptoms, see how well you can handle different tasks, and show you exercises you can do at home.
On follow-up visits, you may learn Stretches to prevent or ease muscle spasms Moves to keep muscles strong Range-of-motion exercises, like straightening and bending your arms and legs Tips to prevent falls How to use canes, crutches, scooters, wheelchairs, or other aids, if necessary Your therapist will also help you come up with a fitness program that's good for your strength and goals. Regular exercise helps with all types of MS, but it can be hard when you're tired or you get overheated easily. You'll learn how to work around these issues to get the most from your workouts.
Most therapists can give you more sessions to help you reach any specific goals you have, like overcoming a foot drag that slows your pace.
If your MS symptoms make it hard to do your job, your therapist can take you through some tests and document the kind of trouble you're having.
It's called a functional capacity evaluation. It measures whether you are able to work an eight-hour day and may help if you need to apply for Social Security disability benefits.
All physical therapists are prepared through education and experience to treat Multiple Sclerosis. However, MS is a unique condition and you may want to consider A physical therapist who is experienced in treating people with neurological conditions, specifically MS.