What is Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis is a disease which attacks the myelin sheath – the fatty coating of nerve cells which is essential to the functioning of the central nervous system. Disruption to the myelin sheath interferes with the transmission of signals between the brain, the spinal cord and the peripheral nerves. In the places where the myelin is damaged scares called lesions or plaques occur. Multiple sclerosis, causes a wide range of potential symptoms, including problems with vision, arm or leg movement, sensation or balance. MS can also affect your thinking and emotions.  It’s most commonly diagnosed in people in their 20s and 30s, although it can develop at any age. It’s about 2 to 3 times more common in women than men. It’s a lifelong condition that can sometimes cause serious disability, although it can occasionally be mild. In many cases, it’s possible to treat symptoms.

How does Multiple Sclerosis (MS) affect people?

The symptoms of MS vary widely from person to person and can affect any part of the body.

The main symptoms include:

  • fatigue
  • difficulty walking
  • vision problems, such as blurred vision
  • problems controlling the bladder
  • numbness or tingling in different parts of the body
  • muscle stiffness and spasms
  • problems with balance and co-ordination
  • problems with thinking, learning and planning.

Depending on the type of MS you have, your symptoms may come and go (Relapsing MS) in phases or get steadily worse over time (Primary Progressive or Secondary Progressive MS).

How does Physiotherapy help people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?

As MS can vary widely and can affect the same person differently at different stages it is important to understand how your MS affects your body and your movement.

There are two main types of MS relapsing/remitting and progressive. If you have relapsing/remitting type of MS it is important take the maximum benefit of your remitting or recovery phase. Assessment and support from a Physiotherapist can help you achieve this.

Progressive MS can mean you lose skills slowly overtime. Exercise can be very beneficial for persons living with MS however as fatigue is also a common symptom it is important to ensure the exercises you are doing are of maximum benefit. The available research/ evidence encourages people with MS to exercise regularly as despite immediate fatigue long-term benefit from being active is decreased fatigue levels and increased movements efficacy and independence.

Immobility and sedentary behaviour also cause muscle weakness and loss of muscle bulk, learning how to exercise for maximum effect helps preserve your maximum abilities. People living with MS can find that their movement abilities can be seriously affected by relatively common problems such as a urine infection and this can cause a loss of function. Optimising your movement your Physiotherapist aims to help you live long and live well with your MS!

Our Physiotherapy Team at SP Therapy Services provide a range of opportunities for people living with MS.

We can provide a one to one assessment and design a rehabilitation programme to your specific needs.

We also work closely with our local MS Society for Bury & North Manchester, come and join in one of our exercise classes at the MS Café at Bury Hospice on the last Friday of every month starting at 11AM.

Many individuals with MS have found our group-based hydrotherapy programme at Bolton One (The Jason Kenny Centre) useful or joining our Falls Prevention Class invaluable.

Find out more about the what types of exercise are suitable for people living with MS here: https://www.mstrust.org.uk/life-ms/exercise

Not convinced? Read about the long term and protective health benefits of exercise for MS: https://www.mstrust.org.uk/research/research-updates/update160321-exercise-increase-brain-protecting-molecules-MS

We can provide home visits & clinic appointments.

SP Therapy Services take great care in providing an exceptional standard of therapy to all our patients, whatever their individual age, diagnosis or location.

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