Multiple Sclerosis is treatable graphic.

Your central nervous system is the primary driving force controlling your body. It manages movement, sensation, and even critical mental processes. So it’s no surprise that if your central nervous system is affected – your entire mind and body is effected.  

Since Multiple Sclerosis interacts with your central nervous system, it’s important to recognize and understand what’s happening and how it works. This article covers the most important details surrounding MS and explains how physical therapy treatment can help.

What is Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Multiple Sclerosis is a neurological disease that damages or distorts the nerves between the mind and body. All of the nerves found in your body are covered in a thing layer of protective tissue called myelin sheath. This thin layer essentially acts as a lubricated pathway to send signals back-and-forth between the mind and body. If these

MS is an autoimmune disease. Meaning; their immune system attacks their own body. When the myelin sheath layer on the nerves is attacked/damaged – it affects the communication signals.

Slow or distorted signals cause complications in the context of precise movement or sensation recognition. It would be similar to removing the water from a waterslide… The path is still there – but the signal cannot reach its destination in the most effective/efficient way.

Due to the severity of how MS affects day-to-day life, many people want to do everything in their power to make things better. Patients, family, and friends familiar with MS are fully aware of its effects and realize how much it changes life.

In MS, a person's immune system attacks the central nervous system, causing inflammation that damages myelin, the fatty coating that insulates and protects nerve fibers.

Symptoms and Causes of MS

Although modern research is still learning more about how this complex disease works, here is what we know so far.

The symptoms:

  • Numbness or tingling
  • General fatigue
  • Muscle weakness or lack of strength
  • Sensory distortion (blurred vision, prickling feeling)
  • Motor/movement distortion
  • Loss of balance
  • Paralysis or temporary loss of movement
  • Bladder/digestion dysfunction
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Trouble speaking or swallowing
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Anxiety or depression
Anyone can get MS. "It is a disease that is more common the farther north from the equator one gets. It tends to be more common in women than men and to occur in people between 20 and 40, but people of any age can get it." According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, about 200 perople are diagnosed with MS every week.

The causes:

Unfortunately, it isn’t entirely clear what exactly causes MS. It is most likely a wide range of genetic and environmental conditions all at play. But we do know there are some clear statistics available that help us get a better idea of whom MS usually affects the most.

  1. Women are more likely to be diagnosed with MS than men. (About 2x more likely)
  2. Those with a family history of MS are more likely to be diagnosed.
  3. Caucasians are the most likely race to have MS
  4. MS is most prevalent ages 15-60
  5. Anyone with an existing autoimmune disease is more likely to have MS
Experts recognize 4 courses of MS: progressive-relapsing, secondary-progressive, primary-progressive, and relapsing-remitting.

Physical Therapy Treatment Options for MS

On the positive side of things, physicians and physical therapists are discovering ways how light exercise and physical therapy can help with Multiple Sclerosis. Some of the simple exercises below can be done at home or at a personal gym.

General Exercises:

  • Light-weight, low-resistance training (3 sets of 10-15 reps)
  • Cardio or endurance training (15-30 minutes)
  • Balance, stretching, and aerobic exercises
  • Aquatic exercise (reduced strain and fatigue)
  • Low gravity or anti-gravity exercise machines

These exercise should help patients feel better, but if you want long-lasting noticeable results you’ll need a professional.

Out of the approximately 400,000 people who live with MS in the US, about 8,000 to 10,000 are children or adolescents.

Get an assessment and support from a Physical Therapist

Home exercises are great, but getting help from a medical professional is even better and easier now with direct access.

A licensed physical therapist will help you monitor, manage and improve many parts of your life:

  • Posture, balance, and static motor control
  • Stride, gait, and mobility
  • Dynamic motor control and range of motion
  • Neurological function
  • Respiratory function

If you or someone you know would like to explore the benefits of physical therapy for MS – contact us today.

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