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Physical Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is often a debilitating disease in which your brain doesn’t send the right signals through your body. But, it can be managed with physical therapy.
It’s estimated that in the U.S. alone, nearly 1 million people over the age of 18 have Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Worldwide, that number shoots up to 2.3 million. While MS can occur at any age, onset usually happens between 20-40, and women are more likely to see relapses of the disease than men.
While MS can feel debilitating to those who have it, it isn’t an automatic sentence to limit your quality of life. Thanks to advancements in science, technology, and techniques, there are ways to manage your MS and live more comfortably.
What is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disease. It causes the immune system to malfunction and gets rid of the protection over the nerve fibers found in the brain and spinal cord. While it is unknown what actually causes MS, it is a long-lasting disease for most people who get it.
There are so many areas of the body that can be impacted by Multiple Sclerosis. It can affect the brain, spinal cord, and even the eyes because it disrupts the way the brain sends signals through the body. As a result, MS can cause vision issues, trouble with balance, and in some cases can make you lose the most basic functions of your body.
According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, there are four stages of MS:
- Clinically-Isolated Syndrome
- Relapsing-remitting MS
- Secondary progressive MS
- Primary-progressive MS
As you might expect, each of those stages worsens in severity, causing symptoms in those dealing with MS that can be hard to handle.
What Are the Symptoms?
Speaking of symptoms, it’s important for everyone to know and understand the early signs of Multiple Sclerosis. The sooner you know what to look for in terms of symptoms, the sooner you can seek out the appropriate MS treatment.
Some of the most common symptoms of MS include:
- Numbness/weakness in the limbs
- Lack of coordination
- Vision problems
- Slurred speech
- Pain or tingling in certain parts of the body
Some of the earliest signs of the disease also include bladder problems, balance issues, and even cognitive problems.
As you can see, MS can severely impact your life in a negative way. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, some days it may even be hard to do something as simple as getting out of bed. In fact, one of the most common symptoms listed above, fatigue, is often one of the biggest problems for those dealing with MS. It causes more than just “sluggishness”. The fatigue associated with Multiple Sclerosis makes it difficult to do much of anything because you feel so tired and weak.
If you want to learn more about what it can be like to live with MS on a daily basis (and how it can be managed), check out this TEDxTalk with Robin Brockelsby:
How is it Diagnosed?
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the symptoms listed above but you haven’t been officially diagnosed with MS, it’s important to contact a doctor immediately. You cannot get the right treatment without a proper diagnosis. Typically, MS is diagnosed after a series of tests, including blood work, a spinal tap, and even an MRI. While you are awaiting the results, you can start seeing a physical therapist that treats MS so you can start to get results right away. You do not need a script to see a physical therapist and it is covered by most insurance plans. Our goal at Holistic Healing Center is to help you do more of what you love with the people you love most.
Is Multiple Sclerosis Treatable?
There are a few important things to understand about MS. First, it is a chronic, long-lasting condition. While most people around the world who have Multiple Sclerosis have a normal life expectancy, they will likely have to deal with the symptoms of the disease for many years, if not for the rest of their lives.
Typically, MS relapses and then goes into remission. So, those who do have it may not have to deal with symptoms for a period of time. That can be weeks, months, or even years. But, it doesn’t mean the condition is gone, and you could relapse at any time.
While there is no cure for MS, there are treatment options that can make the symptoms easier to manage and allow those living with the disease to have fuller lives with less pain and discomfort.
Some of the common Western medicine treatment options that can help to ease pain, reduce fatigue, and make everyday living more comfortable include:
- Muscle relaxants
- Medications designed to get rid of fatigue
- Medications that can help with walking
But, one of the most popular ways to manage MS is with physical therapy. Physical therapy (PT) for MS consists mostly of stretching and strengthening exercises, first monitored by a physical therapist. These stretches will not only help with mobility, but if you’re dealing with muscle spasms as a result of your MS, they can help to keep them under control as well. Our physical therapists at Holistic Healing Center also provide manual therapy for the muscle spasms and pain. It is very effective to help you manage your pain naturally and effectively.
A therapist will also teach you exercises you can do at home to continue to build strength. You may also learn how to use certain devices that make it easier to get through your day, including mobility aids like canes or walkers, if you struggle with weakness.
Physical therapy can help with everything from muscle strength to improving your gait when you walk. Since many people dealing with MS also have balance issues, physical therapy focuses on improving balance, as well.
Physical therapy is one of the best options for MS if you don’t want to depend on medication or other invasive treatment solutions. If you or someone you know is dealing with MS and you’re looking for help, contact Holistic Healing Center for more information. Today, MS doesn’t have to mean a life of immobility and pain. We can help you to manage your symptoms naturally, so you can make the most of each day and learn how to take care of your MS symptoms at home for years to come. Text us or give us a call at 732-252-6155 or email us.
What is Multiple Sclerosis?
Dr. Nancy explains what MS is and how to successfully treat it naturally with physical therapy and a healthy lifestyle.
How Physical Therapy Can Help Multiple Sclerosis
Dr. Nancy explains how our team treats patients with Multiple Sclerosis. Working one-on-one with patients allows us to personalize each person's experience!