Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a progressive neurologic disease that damages nerves in the body. This damage often leads to serious symptoms such as numbness, weakness, muscle pain, and vision problems.
In some people, MS can be aggressive and advance very quickly. In others, it can be mild and progress at a much slower pace, with long periods of inactivity. In any case, physical therapy can be an important treatment for individuals suffering from MS.
How PT Can Be Helpful
Physical therapy for MS involves exercises meant to strengthen your muscles and improve your gait (how you walk), your balance, and coordination. It also involves stretches to help you maintain mobility and prevent muscle spasms. Physical therapy can also include balance training and how to properly use mobility aids such as a cane, walker, or wheelchair as balance is often affected.
In the earliest stages of MS, a Physical Therapist will conduct a baseline evaluation. This exam allows the therapist to see what your body is capable of now so they can compare that with your future abilities. During this early stage, a Physical Therapist can also help you:
Learn how to support and cope with your changing body
Avoid exacerbating symptoms
Develop strength and stamina
During a relapse, a period of time when symptoms of MS are more frequent or severe, you may have greater difficulty with everyday tasks including:
A Physical Therapist will know how the relapse is affecting you by conducting a physical exam and comparing it with your baseline evaluation. Following a relapse, you should meet frequently with a physical therapist to resume physical therapy. This may help you regain some of the strength and mobility that was lost during the relapse.
If you’re experiencing MS, physical therapy is a great option to maintain your mobility and independence for as long as possible. To schedule an appointment, give us a call at 801-571-0099.