Multiple Sclerosis & Physiotherapy
World Multiple Sclerosis Day is coming up this May 30th, and the theme is ‘Connections.’ The aim of World MS Day this year is to encourage community building, connection to self, and connections to quality care.
Multiple Sclerosis can have a vast impact on physical independence and quality of life. Before we get into more information about multiple sclerosis physiotherapy, let’s talk about multiple sclerosis and its impact on the Australian population.
Multiple Sclerosis is a neurological disorder that currently affects 25,000 Australians (data published in February 2019). This chronic disease affects the central nervous system, and with it, the physical functioning of the person. Multiple Sclerosis occurs when the protective sheath (known as myelin), which surrounds the nerves and spinal cord, suffers damage. Any lesion or scar to the sheath will disrupt communication between the brain and the body.
MS causes impairments in muscle strength and subsequently affects both the ability to walk and to balance, thus significantly impacting the lives of people living with multiple sclerosis. But there are also other unseen, invisible impacts of MS — most commonly being severe fatigue and heat intolerance that can make it very challenging for people living with MS to live their day to day lives. This is where multiple sclerosis physiotherapy provides an avenue for a better quality of life.
MS can have a gradual onset with mild symptoms, which may or may not worsen over time. The appearance of symptoms varies depending on where the damage to the central nervous system occurred. Some of the most common symptoms are:
- Lack of control over bodily movements, including muscular spams, loss of balance and coordination, and muscular weakness
- Continence problems including both bladder incontinence and constipation
- Overall impact over quality of life such as loss of memory, lack of concentration, mood swings and a greater likelihood for mental health concerns
- Other nervous system symptoms such as eyesight problems, neuralgia, dizziness, pins and needles in hands and feet, and vertigo
Some individuals may experience no symptoms or low-severity symptoms for most of their life. However, others may experience ongoing symptoms progressing to the point of losing their ability to activate some muscles. While MS is unpredictable, every individual can enjoy the benefits of rehabilitation through multiple sclerosis physiotherapy. A specialised physiotherapist has the skillset to tailor the best rehabilitation program for your needs.
What are the benefits of multiple sclerosis physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy covers treatment for a wide range of conditions and ailments. Technically, there is no such thing as multiple sclerosis physiotherapy. However, physiotherapy can be tailored to help patients with MS better their quality of life through a plan of action. Physiotherapy can improve your physical capacity, help manage your symptoms and create the space to remain active.
- Range of motion
- Cardiovascular conditioning
When you work with the experienced team at Active Ability, you receive both qualified care and consistent support to achieve your goals. Your physiotherapist will work with you to tailor an exercise program based on your current level of functioning and your goals. Our team can come to your home, office, gym, or any place that best suits you. The goal is to make you feel as comfortable as possible, so you can maximise your session.
Physiotherapy with MS exercises improves your engagement in daily activities such as:
- Bathing and toileting
- Engaging in household chores such as cooking or cleaning
- Moving around your property
- Completing regular tasks in the community such as shopping
One of the most beneficial aspects of physiotherapy for multiple sclerosis is the awareness you develop to manage your fatigue levels. Your physiotherapist will work with you to create a plan for success. Living safely and independently is possible with the right guidance. The goal is to restore your independence in a way that maintains your sense of wellness and improves your physical conditioning.
MS impacts the functioning of the musculoskeletal system, the pulmonary system, the autonomic system, and the vestibular system. This means that an individual with MS may experience muscle weakness and muscle co-contraction as well as a lack of coordination and extensor synergy. A physiotherapist will combine both the neurological functioning (the integration of the senses and motor output) and the physical aspect (strength and range of motion).
Active Ability Physiotherapy for MS:
Every MS patient has different needs. Our goal is to create a program based on the goals of each client.
For example, some patients experience muscle spasms around their hip joint. In this case, one of the exercises we would prescribe is quadricep activations because although the muscle spasm is occurring in this muscle, it tends to still be weak. We engage our quadriceps for walking, sitting, standing, getting out of bed in the morning, and more. Squats and lunges are good quadricep activations. These activations develop the strength needed to perform our daily activities.
Other patients may experience pain or muscle spasms in the bicep around their elbow. In this case, stretching exercises would help relax the muscle whilst strengthening exercises of the opposing muscle group (triceps) will help with improving participation in functional tasks. The goal of multiple sclerosis physiotherapy is to contribute to optimal functioning. Functioning depends on several factors. Some people experience less impact to their function, and thus, the main concern is to build strength in the core, lower body, and overall stability to prevent a decline in independence. But other patients have more specific concerns such as grip strength, for example, which requires a direct and intensive focus to regain function and independence. Whatever the need is, physiotherapy is a wonderful therapy to help manage your independence.
The team at Active Ability has the knowledge, skills, and passion to provide the right assessment, diagnosis, and management for each patient. Physiotherapy for patients with MS includes interventions with a combination of exercises, education and even the use of assistive devices. Whether your symptoms are milder or more acute, physiotherapy will contribute to better management and ultimately, better quality of life.
World Multiple Sclerosis Day: Kiss Goodbye to MS
World Multiple Sclerosis Day is coming up on May 30th. The Active Ability team are committed to spreading awareness of the invisible symptoms of MS and the unseen impact of MS on quality of life.
Meet our client – Greg
This World MS day, Active Ability are proud to share with you the story of one of our lovely clients, Greg. Greg was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2012. Prior to beginning with our Exercise Physiologist Adelle, Greg had very poor balance. His legs had been impacted by his MS, and he struggled to climb stairs even with the assistance of a handrail. Due to the impairments caused by Greg’s MS, his ability to walk was also affected, and he often used a walking frame to prevent him from falling.
After only 7 sessions with his exercise physiologist, Greg has noticed changes in his muscle strength. He mentioned that before beginning his exercise therapy he had to use his hands to lift his legs when getting into the car, but now he is able to lift his legs independently on most days. Adelle, Greg’s Exercise Physiologist, has noticed the changes too. Greg has gone from completing one set of exercises to performing 2-3 sets, and his technique has also improved! Greg’s balance has also improved greatly.
Greg has been enjoying his exercise sessions and says he can definitely see the benefits. These exercises have helped Greg to increase his confidence. He is now able to mobilise safely within his home and community, and in the long term this will improve his overall quality of life!
“Before I started these exercises, I was using my hands to assist my left leg into the car but now I can get my leg in itself on most days.”
If you would like to know more about how exercise therapy can assist in the management of Multiple Sclerosis, please get in touch!
We have other wonderful clients who have seen great results from their physiotherapy sessions. Meet our amazing client Tracey and read her story
Are you looking for a NDIS Physiotherapist who can support you or support a loved one with their multiple sclerosis needs?
Active Ability has a team full of experienced and caring professionals ready to serve you. Our NDIS Physiotherapists provide services for the management of chronic conditions and disabilities. We have worked with many NDIS participants with tailored program interventions. Our goal is to help you grow in your ongoing wellbeing and health education.
Physiotherapy is about maintaining and promoting physical health. Whether you have a disability or a chronic condition, our services will improve your sense of wellbeing, independence and ultimately, help you achieve your goals!
Our tailored programs will improve your current physical level of fitness while helping you progress towards long-term overall fitness. The best part is that we can go to you and work in any environment that suits you. Your needs and preferences are our priority.
If you would like to see a Physiotherapist to learn how you can best manage multiple sclerosis, please give us a call today on (02) 8678 7874.
The Active Ability Team xx