Multiple sclerosis (MS)—a chronic, often progressive neurological disease caused by the loss of myelin, the protective material that sheaths nerves—has no known cure, but stabilizing and improving a wide variety of movements through physical therapy can help control MS symptoms and enhance quality of life. In fact, it is important to consult us as soon as possible after a diagnosis of MS. Early intervention can often improve the initial difficulties—with walking and balance, for instance—and possibly even slow the disease’s progress.
Along with the other health care professionals on your team, we will custom design appropriate exercises for you. We can take advantage of remission periods you may experience and plan exercises to build yourenduranceandstrength while you are able to perform them, to carry you through and beyond that particular remission.
At other times, when you feel less stable, a physical therapy exercise regimen can help you build strength and stamina. The following activities can help reduce your fatigue, weakness and pain, as well as improve balance, comfort and efficiency while performing daily activities, flexibility, mood and the use of a cane or walker:
- Pool-based aquatic exercise: MS patients often find aquatic exercise comfortable and helpful, especially if breathing difficulties exist. The water provides a gentle resistance during arm and leg motions, which helps build muscle strength.
- Use of a stationary bicycle, rowing machineor treadmill: Exercise programs for MS patients using these machines help keep muscles strong to counteract the effects wrought by problems in the nervous system.
- Yoga and tai chi: These ancient practices can be soothing as well as beneficial in managing MS. In addition, they offer gentle ways to calm one’s mind while strengthening the body.
No matter what the stage of your MS, we can create an individualized physical therapy plan for you to help manage your condition optimally.