Living with multiple sclerosis (MS) means that daily tasks that most people take for granted can become complicated and overwhelming. But don’t worry, there is help available!
One treatment that is beneficial for people living with MS is physiotherapy. Physiotherapy is essential at every stage of multiple sclerosis. However, the exact goals of physiotherapy will be determined by the stage of the disease.
Physiotherapy is an effective treatment option for managing MS symptoms and improving quality of life. Physiotherapy can help improve your balance, movement and function, making daily activities more accessible.
What is multiple sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic inflammatory neurodegenerative disease. In MS, the immune system attacks the protective covering of the brain and spinal cord, myelin, causing inflammation and, in some cases, myelin damage. When this occurs, the normal flow of nerve impulses along nerve fibres (axons) is disrupted.
MS signs and symptoms vary greatly depending on the extent of damage and which nerves are affected. Not everyone with MS will experience all symptoms, and symptoms often improve during periods of remission.
A series of relapses typically characterise MS, and the prognosis is unpredictable, though a small percentage of people with multiple sclerosis, around 15%, experience a steady progression of disability.
Common symptoms of multiple sclerosis
MS is typically characterised by subtle symptoms that may or may not worsen with time. Symptoms vary depending on which region of the central nervous system is affected and the extent of the nerve damage.
The following are the most prevalent symptoms:
- Some patients with multiple sclerosis develop complicated patterns of disability that affect both physical and social function.
- Muscle spasms, loss of balance and coordination, and muscular weakness are all symptoms of a lack of control over bodily movements.
- Continence issues include both urinary incontinence and constipation.
- Fatigue and heat sensitivity. A hot day, a hot bath, or even a hot cup of coffee can worsen symptoms.
- Other nervous symptom issues include vertigo, pins and needles in the hands and feet, dizziness, neuralgia, and vision problems due to damage to the optic nerve.
The different stages of multiple sclerosis
Clinically isolated syndrome (CIS)
Clinically isolated syndrome, or CIS, is the most common form of multiple sclerosis. A single bout of neurological symptoms suggestive of multiple sclerosis is called CIS. MRI examinations frequently reveal indications of abnormalities in the brain or spinal cord.
Relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis is characterised by relapses that are unpredictable but clearly defined (also known as assaults, exacerbations, or flare-ups), during which new symptoms develop or existing ones worsen. Between relapses, a person’s function usually recovers to normal.
Secondary progressive MS
Most patients with relapsing-remitting MS will proceed to a stage of the disease known as secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. This stage of the disease is characterised by increasing deterioration and fewer relapses.
Primary progressive MS
Primary progressive MS is characterised by a steady impairment accumulation, with stabilisation and slight improvement intervals but no periods of remission.
People with advanced MS may have more difficulties moving. They could be unable to move without the assistance of another person or mobility devices.
What are the benefits of multiple sclerosis physiotherapy?
- The awareness you develop to manage your fatigue levels is one of the most beneficial aspects of physiotherapy for multiple sclerosis.
- Physiotherapy can help you improve your physical capacity, manage your symptoms, and create the space you need to stay active.
- Physiotherapy enhances:
- Range of motion
- Cardiovascular fitness
- Your physiotherapist will collaborate with you to develop a strategy for success. With the proper guidance, it is possible to live safely and independently. The goal is to reestablish your independence while maintaining your sense of well-being and improving your physical fitness.
- Physiotherapy combined with multiple sclerosis exercises improves your participation in daily activities such as:
- Toileting and bathing.
- Cooking and cleaning are instances of household chores.
- Getting around on your property.
- Completing routine community tasks such as shopping.
Final thoughts on Managing Multiple Sclerosis with Physiotherapy
Physiotherapy is an effective treatment for managing multiple sclerosis. It can help to improve function, mobility, and symptoms.
Physiotherapists use various techniques to reduce inflammation, improve strength and mobility, and help you live as independently as possible.
If you are living with multiple sclerosis, talk to one of our experienced physiotherapists about how they can help you stay healthy and active.
Our team at Home Physio Melbourne can come to your home, business, gym, or any other location that is convenient for you. The goal is to make you as comfortable as possible in order for you to get the most out of your session.
Book an appointment with us today! Our team of experts will lead you down the best treatment path for multiple sclerosis based on a comprehensive assessment.