MS is an inflammatory disease of the nervous system where the body’s own immune system attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, damaging the outer covering of the cells (demyelinating). This slows down or stops transmission of nerve impulses that tell the body how to move. Because demyelination can occur anywhere in the brain and spinal cord, symptoms of MS can vary from person to person. Physiotherapy can help to manage the range of symptoms experienced as a result of MS.
Symptoms of MS
Common symptoms experienced with MS include:
- Muscle weakness
- Decreased coordination
- Impaired gait & balance
- Decreased bladder/bowel function
- Memory & cognitive deficits
- Sexual dysfunction
Physiotherapists can provide:
- Rehabilitation programs to increase your strength, balance, endurance and respiratory function
- Support with maintaining or increasing your ability to participate in activities of daily living, and to increase your independence
- Assistance with obtaining and using assistive devices
- Bladder control training
- Assessment and support setting personal goals
- Exercise programs customized to your needs. This allows you to be self-reliant and empowered to take part in activities that are important to you
- Education on how to manage your symptoms, such as pain and weakness
Visit a physiotherapist at the onset of symptoms.
A physiotherapist can be instrumental to informing you about best treatment and managing many symptoms related to multiple sclerosis. Consulting with a physiotherapist as soon as possible will allow you to identify specific challenges and formulate a rehabilitation plan based on your personal needs. Slowing the effects of multiple sclerosis is very important, and a physiotherapist can help guide you using a preventative, personal approach.
Students from the School of Physiotherapy created printable info sheets on this topic in partnership with the Saskatchewan Physiotherapy Association. Click here for the info sheets.