Multiple Sclerosis: Physical Therapy & Treatment

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Multiple sclerosis now affects more than 400,000 people in the U.S. and about 2.5 million people around the globe. MS "is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body," per the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. While the cause of the disease is still unknown, there are measures your patients can take to alleviate and cope with the symptoms of MS.

Patients with multiple sclerosis can use physical therapy to cope with change

Through self-care, such as physical therapy, your patients can alleviate discomfort associated with imbalance, fatigue, weakness and more. During your patient's initial appointment, evaluate the symptoms of MS that he or she may be experiencing. From there, you can tailor and develop programs to help your patient cope and return to the roles he or she once enjoyed. To better manage symptoms, start slow and guide patients through proper stretching techniques. Stretching can decrease muscle discomfort and tightness and serve as a preventative measure for the potential loss of range of motion.

Aerobic activity is another great way is to help your patients get back to their everyday activities. From starting slow with walking to jogging intervals on the treadmill, all will provide benefits for the long term. As symptoms associated with MS, such as vertigo and tremors, can come on fairly quickly, patients with MS may be more prone to injury. Physical activity, however, can go a long way in injury prevention. Exercises such as yoga and Pilates are just a couple of ways your patients can improve their balance and flexibility while combating the risk of injury.

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Spread the word

To advocate for change, consider hosting fundraising events to make a difference in your community. A great example is Walk MS, which "connects people living with MS and those who care about them." The organizers continue: "When you participate in this community event, the funds you raise give hope to the more than 2.3 million people living with MS worldwide. We’ve been walking since 1988 and to date have raised more than $870 million to support life changing programs and cutting-edge research."

Interested in helping others cope with MS and other diseases? AFPA is teaming up with MS Fitness Challenge and will soon be offering the MS Fitness & Wellness Specialist program. Learn more about our other available certification programs to see how you can grow your career in health and wellness. 

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