Multiple sclerosis is a widespread condition. Nearly one million Americans suffer from it, including thousands of young adults. It can impact the body in a number of ways, inducing pain and impairing memory and vision.
Thankfully, there are many treatments for it. One treatment is physical therapy.
Yet many people are wary of physical therapy. They think it’s for old people or people who suffered an accident. The reality is that there are substantial physical therapy benefits for all people with MS.
Here is your guide to those benefits.
PHYSICAL THERAPY UPON DIAGNOSIS
As soon as possible after your diagnosis, you should meet with a physical therapist. They will conduct a biomechanical assessment, which will let them see what your body can do now.
This assessment examines how you can lift, carry, and push objects. It will also assess how you can walk, stand, and sit. A therapist can then give you strategies on how you can strengthen your muscles.
Even if you don’t plan on long-lasting physical therapy, you should get an initial assessment. It lets your doctor know how advanced your multiple sclerosis is. They can craft a treatment and rehabilitation plan that will address your specific symptoms.
Taking an initial appointment will also let you determine if a particular clinic is right for you. If you develop a good rapport with your therapist, you can continue forward with them.
AS PART OF YOUR TREATMENT PLAN
MS affects people differently. In general, it limits movement in one part of the body. It may cause pain and fatigue that makes mobility difficult.
Physical therapy helps bring mobility back up to its former state. You can learn stretches that strengthen muscles while reducing spasms.
You can learn these stretches at a clinic, then practice them at home. Lifting your leg and then holding it can significantly increase the power of your knee, calf, and thigh.
A therapist can also teach you cardiovascular exercises. Walking and swimming promote endurance, training your lung and muscles to work for long periods of time. Even short exercises of 20 minutes per day can help.
You can receive suggestions on how to prevent falls. Some physical therapy clinics offer aides who can install railings and supports in your home. They may be able to adjust your office so you can remain comfortable while working.
Aides can also teach you how to use a cane or crutches. They will encourage you to maintain a proper posture, avoiding stress on your back and spine.
Tai chi, yoga, and meditation provide a sense of calm while improving muscle function. Performing poses like the Mountain Pose improves balance and hand-eye coordination.
Flares occur when your symptoms suddenly become more severe. But you can keep your appointment, and your therapist can give you help.
They can conduct a physical exam, then compare the results to your baseline. They will send your information to your doctor, who can give you a formal treatment plan.
If you have trouble working or walking, your therapist can give you exercises to perform. Stretching your knees may reduce the severity of your flares. It can also bring down the number of flares you will have.
If you did not have physical therapy before, you should get therapy after a flare. Exercises can help you regain strength.
Flares can be disturbing. The relaxation measures you learn in therapy can calm you down. Meditation takes your mind off of your pain for a moment.
PROGRESSIVE AND ADVANCED MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS
Patients with progressive multiple sclerosis experience symptoms that gradually get worse. Physical therapy is a necessity for these patients.
Though there is no cure for progressive MS, therapy provides tools to help people get around easier. Extending arms and legs out can preserve a person’s range of motion. Walking promotes blood flow that supplies essential nutrients to deteriorating tissues.
People with advanced multiple sclerosis can also benefit. Many people are unable to walk or move without help.
But therapy can still assist them. Therapists can teach them to sit upright and develop strength in their arms.
INPATIENT PHYSICAL THERAPY
During inpatient therapy, a person stays in a healthcare facility or treatment center. They receive 24/7 support, including meals and nursing.
Inpatient therapy works well for people who were injured in a fall. Doctors can treat bone fractures and organ damage, including brain injuries. They can provide medications that diminish pain.
Many clinics have access to advanced therapies and technology. They can help patients relearn how to walk and carry objects.
You can receive therapy in the comfort of your own home. A therapist can arrive with some basic tools and teach you how to stretch and move. Home care has all of the benefits of therapy without the headache of traveling over to a clinic.
Home care therapy is perfect for people with a recent diagnosis of MS. It will give you tools to adjust to slight changes in your body. It can help you transition into your treatment plan, which can take place over several years.
If you have late-stage MS, home care can also be helpful. Therapists can teach you strategies while you remain in bed or sit in your favorite chair.
THE MANY PHYSICAL THERAPY BENEFITS
Whatever MS symptoms you have, you can experience substantial physical therapy benefits. Going to therapy after being diagnosed provides a baseline for your doctor. They have more details to base treatments on.
As a part of your general plan, you can improve mobility and prevent falls. You can receive strategies to cope with flares.
People with advanced MS can learn how to use a wheelchair. For additional treatments, you can go to inpatient therapy. You can also receive care at home.
Go to the experts on MS therapy. SoCal Elite Physical Therapy is Orange County’s leading clinic. Contact us today.