According to the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, it is estimated that more than 400,000 people have Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Multiple Sclerosis is categorized as an autoimmune condition, where the body mistakenly attacks its own immune system, damaging the myelin sheath, which is the protective covering over nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.
The damage to the myelin sheath is what is believed to be the cause of these MS attacks, and also causes our nerve fibers, that help communicate messages to and from the brain, to become slow, distorted, or be completely destroyed. This often leads to the progression of the disease, an increase in disability. It has been reported that 91 percent of people suffering from MS have difficulty with mobility, meaning difficulty with walking and other movements.
Since people with Multiple Sclerosis have limited mobility as the disease progresses, physical therapy helps people develop exercise programs to help slow down the progression of the symptoms of this neurological condition, as well as helping you better manage movement in the face of added disability.
Your first visit to physical therapy will consist of a complete examination to determine your areas of strength and weakness. Following the examination, your physical therapist will develop a specific exercise program for you based on your condition and goals, including a home-exercise program.
Research studies have found that people in the early stages of multiple sclerosis may experience changes in their walking ability, balance, and breathing. If ignored, these early signs can lead to further disability. When someone receives a diagnosis of MS, the best option is to begin physical therapy right away to help improve any mild challenges, and possibly slow down the progression of the symptoms of the disease.