Do You Know That Physical Therapy Is Best Option for Multiple Sclerosis?

By: Researcher Taymur

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological disease that affects the nerves. This damage often leads to severe symptoms such as:

  • muscle pain
  • vision problems
  • numbness
  • tingling
  • weakness

MS can be aggressive and advance rapidly in some people. In other cases, with long periods of inactivity, it can be mild and develop at a much slower pace.

In any case, for people with MS, physical therapy (PT) can be an important part of treatment. Read on to learn what PT can do to help you manage your MS.

Understanding Physical Therapy For MS

PT for MS includes exercises to strengthen your muscles and improve your gait and balance and coordination. It also includes stretches to help you stay mobile and avoid muscle spasms. PT can also include training on how mobility aids such as a cane, walker or wheelchair can be used.

Even in the earliest stages of MS, PT can be helpful.

  • learn how to support and cope with your changing body
  • avoid aggravating symptoms
  • develop strength and endurance
  • recover skills after a relapse of the disease

A discussion with a physical therapist can help you understand how the disease is going to change your body. Getting PT can help you prepare for these changes and help you maintain a healthy lifestyle or improve it.

Understanding Physical Therapy on MS Stages

At different stages of your condition, and for different types of MS, PT can be helpful.

1st is at Diagnosis Stage

It is necessary to see a physical therapist for a baseline evaluation at the time of your MS diagnosis. This examination allows the therapist to see what your body can do now so that they can compare it to your future abilities. You can also address your physical limitations and consider the fitness and physical activity rates that are ideal for you.

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You may not need to keep seeing a physical therapist after the initial test. But, if you have an aggressive, fast-growing type of MS, you’ll probably want to continue with PT.

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2nd is at a Relapse Stage

A relapse sometimes referred to as a flare or exacerbation is a time when MS symptoms are more frequent and extreme. You may have more trouble with everyday tasks during this time, which include:

  • walking
  • bathing
  • working
  • cooking

Through doing a physical examination and comparing it with your initial assessment, the physical therapist will understand how the relapse impacts you. You will visit your physical therapist after a relapse to restart PT. After a relapse, therapy may help you recover some of the strength that you may have lost during the relapse.

3rd is at Progressive Stage

You don’t suffer relapses if you have primary progressive MS. Rather, the condition is worsening slowly and steadily.

If this type of MS is diagnosed, ask your doctor immediately to refer you to a physical therapist. For your health and well-being, starting PT as soon as possible is crucial. PT will show you how to make up for the changes you are going to experience. You may also need to learn how to use a mobility aid like a standing or wheelchair unit.

4th is at Advanced Stage

Individuals with advanced MS experience severe symptoms of MS. People with advanced MS are non-ambulatory in most cases. This means that without help from another person or a motorized device, they cannot walk or get around. People also have an increased risk of developing other health conditions like osteoporosis or epilepsy at this stage.

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People with advanced MS still have the potential to benefit from PT. For example, PT can help you learn how to sit properly, develop strength of the upper body and maintain the ability to use mobility aids.

Understanding Treatment Plan

If you have MS, discuss your recovery plan with your doctor. If you want to start working with a physical therapist, ask for a referral from your doctor.

For everyone, MS is different, and some people may well respond to some exercises, while others may not. Be frank about your symptoms and how you feel with your doctor and counselor so that they can develop an effective PT plan for you.

Resources

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3375103/

nationalmssociety.org/Living-Well-With-MS/Health-Wellness/Exercise

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