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Rehabilitation for Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an immune-mediated disease in which the body’s immune system attacks the central nervous system by way of demyelination, the process in which the insulation that covers of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord are damaged.   The damaged myelin, or insulation, forms scar tissue, which interrupts nerve impulses traveling to and from the brain and spinal cord. Demyelination can lead to a variety of symptoms including, but not limited to fatigue, weakness, spasticity or muscle stiffness and tightness, numbness/tingling and gait (walking) difficulty. The disease is characterized by relapses and remissions.

Physical therapy can play a vital role in managing the symptoms of MS, especially following a relapse. Initially, it is important for patients to establish a baseline level of function including strength, fall risk and walking speed. Our skilled physical therapists will conduct an examination, during which they will assess a variety of components, including strength, flexibility, balance impairments and gait pattern and walking speed.

Whether the symptoms are mild or severe, all patients with MS can benefit from physical therapy.

Types of treatment may include:

  • Development of a home exercise program for management of symptoms
  • Patient education regarding energy conservation
  • Gait training/balance training to reduce fall risk
  • Upper and lower extremity strengthening
  • Cardiovascular endurance training
  • Aquatic therapy (if indicated)
  • Assessment for orthotics (devices used to improve foot clearance)
  • Assessment for assistive devices (canes, walkers, wheelchairs)

It is important for a person with MS to develop a good exercise program from the time of initial diagnosis. Call today to find out more about the benefits therapy can provide.