Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system (the brain and the spinal cord).
In MS the conductive outer coating of many of the nerve fibres is damaged. The body can repair the damage to some extent but often small scars are left and the nerves do not function quite as they did before. As MS affects different areas within the central nervous system it is described as multiple, and the small scars which arise can be described as areas of sclerosis. This is how the name multiple sclerosis arises.
The cause of MS is unknown. It is thought that it may be due to a small defect in the body’s immune system. MS is a relatively common disease. It most often affects young adults; over 70 per cent of affected people experience their first symptoms between the ages of 20 and 40.
Once diagnosed, MS stays with you for life, but your symptoms can be well managed by specialists.
There are 4 types of MS:
Relapse remitting MS is characterised by unpredictable attacks followed by periods of months or years with no new signs of disease activity. The effects of the attacks may be permanent or may resolve. When deficits always resolve between attacks, this is known as benign MS.
- Secondary progressive
This is the most common type of MS. Secondary progressive MS refers to symptoms of initial relapsing-remitting MS, who have a gradual neurologic decline between attacks without any definite periods of resolution of symptoms.
- Primary progressive
Primary progressive MS is characterised when no resolution of symptoms is seen following an initial attack. A gradual decline occurs continuously without clear attacks.
- Progressive relapsing
Progressive relapsing MS is characterised by a steady neurologic decline but also suffer attacks.
Effects of MS
Multiple sclerosis (MS) can cause a variety of symptoms. These include:
- Sensation changes
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle spasms
- Movement difficulties
- Reduced coordination and balance
- Speech or swallowing problems
- Visual disturbances
- Acute or chronic pain syndromes
- Bladder and bowel difficulties
- Cognitive impairment
MS Physiotherapy Treatment
Physiotherapy treatment for MS is mostly exercise based combined with ‘hands on’ physiotherapy. Our experienced physiotherapists understand that MS affects everyone differently and your goals will be unique to you.
Physiotherapy should commence as soon as possible following an initial attack to allow you to reach your full potential and limit the progression of your symptoms. Hospitals are restricted to providing only a few sessions. At PhysioActive we are able to provide physiotherapy assessment and treatment as soon and as often as is required.
As well as improving your general health, neuro-physiotherapy can help:
- Improve balance and walking difficulties
- Reduce muscle spasms and stiffness
- Increase strength
- Retrain normal patterns of movement
- Increase energy levels
- Reduced bladder or bowel problems
- Increase mood
- Educate about MS and your symptoms
- Reduce risk of falls