By Diana Duda, PT, DPT, MSCS
Multiple sclerosis can cause an unpredictable number of symptoms which impact everyday life. Targeted rehabilitation can help you minimize the symptoms from MS.
What Is MS?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic immune mediated disease which damages the nerves’ protective coating, called myelin. Over time, the coating deteriorates, interrupting communication between the brain and body.
While symptoms vary from person to person, they can include fatigue, muscle weakness, tingling/burning sensations, numbness, chronic pain and trouble with coordination, balance, vision and bladder control.
Fortunately, targeted physical, occupational and speech therapy can help manage the symptoms and improve function in those impacted by MS.
How Can Therapy Alleviate MS Symptoms?
- Physical therapy can help build strength, restore function, improve wellness and quality of life. Staying as active as possible will better allow you to adapt to changes MS can cause for activity and movement. Therapy is personalized for your symptoms and generally includes stretching and exercises to improve your strength and balance. Physical therapy will address walking and mobility as well as durable medical equipment including canes, walkers and wheelchairs.
- Occupational therapy helps people with disabilities lead productive, independent lives. Because MS can make daily activities challenging, an occupational therapist can help simplify activities or explore alternative solutions to everyday tasks such as basic self-care, managing the home or engaging in valued leisure activities. If needed, an occupational therapist can guide you with assistive and adaptive devices to achieve goals of improved independence.
- Speech therapy can help you manage the speech production changes, such as, slurred speech, a slower rate of speech, and changes to your volume, that may accompany MS. A speech therapist can offer ways to increase volume and improve clarity so speech is easier to understand. Speech therapy can help with managing swallowing difficulties. They can focus on techniques to make it easier and safer to chew and swallow foods and liquids. A speech therapist can also help you with thinking, remembering or concentrating.
How to Manage MS
The best advice for MS patients is to stay as active as possible through exercise and targeted therapy with an MS certified specialist or neurological rehab provider. While MS has no cure, there have been significant advancements to manage the disease, including medications and rehabilitation. Take advantage of the many resources available to help at Good Shepherd Penn Partners.
To make an appointment or learn more about how we can help you or a loved one with MS, call Penn Therapy & Fitness at 877-969-7342.