Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoinflammatory disease of the brain and spinal cord. It mainly affects the white matter tissue (myelin tissue) (myelin tissue) which isolates aksons – single fibers of nervous cells that transfer the impulses between upper motor neuron (UMN) in brain with lower motor neuron (LMN) in spinal cord. When myelin sheath thinners and finally disappears the
information from the brain reaches the LMN with ‘wrong’ timing. the effect of that is the movement that is inaccurate and poorly coordinated.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological condition which affects around 100,000 people in the UK.
Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20-40, but it can affect younger and older people too.
Roughly three times as many women have MS as men.
Throughout the disease process of MS, patches of damage called plaques or lesions appear in the brain and spinal cord.
There are different types of Multiple Sclerosis characterised by the course of the disease.
Relapsing and remitting multiple sclerosis where the person can fully or partially recover from the symptoms.
Progressive relapsing and remitting follows a progressive pattern with relapses along the way with reduced recovery in between relapses.
Physical symptoms of MS might commonly include vision problems,balance problems, fatigue, dizziness, bladder problems, stiffness and spasms.
Physiotherapy Treatment for MS
Due to the complex nature of Multiple Sclerosis one of our specialist neuro physiotherapists would need to asses the individual to determine the symptoms which affect their own physical ability and independence.
After a comprehensive assessment has been completed the physiotherapist would then develop a treatment plan to address your needs. A realistic and achievable goal plan would then be discussed with you.
Physiotherapy works with people with MS to assess physical difficulties and help improve the quality of movement and other functions of the body. Exercise is one of the key ways in which they do this.
Because MS is a progressing disease you will be exercising with the physio in remission phase to regain your abilities. This is very important because the more you gain during exercises the more abilities you will keep after each relapse.
Physiotherapy can be useful to help you find exercises that meet your specific needs and abilities. A physiotherapist may suggest exercises that concentrate on a particular area of the body, or help you manage a specific effect of your MS. Also you will undergo breathing training as during relapse of MS you may partially loose the strength or coordination of your respiratory muscles. It will ease your breathing, communication and swallowing.
Treatment could involve the following:
Positioning and posture advice both in bed, in sitting and standing.
Stretches to improve or maintain muscle and soft tissue length. This could involve the physio, the individual and carers.
Muscle strengthening exercises to maximize arm and leg strength as well as core stability to achieve physical goals.
Tone management to reduce spasticity and spasms. This could involve stretches, a standing programme and correct positioning. Also advice on possible splinting and medication.
Practice of functional tasks such as transfers, sitting balance, standing, walking, standing balance. Also outdoor tasks and wheelchair mobility.
Advice on sensory impairment and pain management.
Advice on fatigue management and pacing.
Physiotherapy might also involve the physiotherapist working ‘hands-on’ with you – for example they may hold and move your limbs for passive stretching and range-of-motion. They might also do massage or manipulation treatments if necessary if you have muscle tightness or spasm.