Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a disease that effects the central nervous system by damaging the myelin sheath, or protective coating, of nerves. Depending on which nerves are affected, determines the severity of symptoms.
Picture Credit: Northshore University Health System/Bluering Media
There are a multitude of symptoms that can occur but two of the most common ones early on are changes in vision and weakness. Listed below are other symptoms of MS.
Numbness or weakness in one or more limbs that typically occurs on one side of your body at a time
Electric-shock sensations that occur with certain neck movements, especially bending the neck forward (Lhermitte sign)
Lack of coordination
Unsteadiness or inability to walk
Partial or complete loss of vision, usually in one eye at a time; pain during eye movement
Prolonged double vision or blurry vision
Problems with sexual, bowel and bladder function
Poor tolerance to heat
Diagnosing Multiple Sclerosis can be tricky depending on the timing of any symptoms or flare ups. One must consult a neurologist who will likely order imaging of the brain and spinal cord to see if there are any lesions or changes within the central nervous system. Additional tests may also be performed to confirm the diagnosis.
There are 4 types of MS that are based off of frequency and progression of symptoms. With Relapsing Remitting, there will be periods of flare ups followed by periods of recovery where symptoms may lessen or go away completely. Most people are first diagnosed with this type of MS. As the disease progresses, the symptoms usually remain or worsen.
Photo Credit: Robust Segmentation of Focal Lesions on Multi-Sequence MRI in Multiple Sclerosis
Physical Therapy helps people with MS maintain function by working on strength, balance, coordination, and how to modulate symptoms, such as fatigue, throughout their day. Physical Therapists may prescribe specific devices to help people move easier and safely, along with decreasing risk of falls.
Medications are commonly prescribed and may be changed throughout the lifetime. Some are prescribed to reduce inflammation, others for spasticity, etc. and are customized for each person depending on their stage of the disease.
Other remedies that may help lessen severity of symptoms are improving sleep, following a whole foods/anti-inflammatory diet, taking vitamins, exercise modulation, temperature control and stress mitigation. One resource to learn more about more holistic treatments, particularly with diet, is with Dr. Terry Wahls.
At Powerful PT we pride ourselves by making every session one on one to fully address all of someone's needs, along with combining other holistic treatments to best help them.
If you or someone you know are battling Multiple Sclerosis, fill out the form below to set up an appointment with Powerful PT.