Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a degenerative inflammatory demyelinating neurological condition. The insulating conductive tissue surrounding neurons, called myelin, is broken down in the central nervous system (CNS) causing lesions / plaques. This changes how the nerves conduct messages from the brain down the spinal cord and to your body. It is an increase in the inflammation which can cause an increase in symptom excabations. MS is progressive in nature due to the degeneration of myelin.
Symptoms of MS vary considerably between individuals as the lesions can appear anywhere in the CNS. Some of the most common symptoms include:
2. Muscle weakness
3. Reduced balance
6. Changes in cognition
7. Reduced mobility and function
8. Reduced quality of life
9. Sensitivity to heat
10. Vestibular changes
12. Visual disturbances
13. Bladder and bowel changes
Did you know that there is evidence to show that the top 10 symptoms listed above can be positively influenced by regular specific exercise?
Often when first diagnosed, subtle changes in strength, flexibility and muscle tone may already be occurring. Historically people with MS did not seek out physiotherapy until things became difficult. It is essential that you seek out neurological physiotherapy input early and start participating in regular specific exercise straight away. This is the prime time to get into good exercise habits for the future, to help you be as strong and fit as you can be.
People with MS are often concerned that exercising will increase their fatigue levels and avoid physical activities. However, the research shows specific regular exercises does not make fatigue worse, but actually helps people manage their MS symptoms. With an individually tailored exercise program the body is fitter, stronger, recovers more quickly and everyday movements feel less effortful.
There is currently no cure for MS. But research strongly recommends regular physical activity and exercise to maintain and improve movement, mobility, independence, cognition and quality of life. Regular exercise also delays secondary complications, like heart and lung disease so now is the time to get moving!