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The neurological physiotherapists at Liverpool Neuro Physio regularly see individuals with Multiple sclerosis. Multiple sclerosis is the most common disabling disease amongst young adults.
Multiple sclerosis is a degenerative disease of the central nervous system. It is known as an autoimmune condition (the body's cells attack themselves). Nerve fibres that carry messages to the central nerve system have a covering on them this is known as a sheath. In Multiple sclerosis the body attacks this sheath exposing the nerve fibre and it no longer works how it should. The brain then no longer receives messages disrupting function.
The cause of multiple sclerosis is still unknown. Physiotherapy is beneficial for anyone suffering with multiple sclerosis.
There are four types of Multiple sclerosis, they include the following:
This means that symptoms disappear then reappear.
After having Multiple sclerosis and your condition hasn't worsened or given you any disability after 10-20 years this is known as benign multiple sclerosis.
Secondary progressive MS
Secondary MS is when a person develops a relapse in their multiple sclerosis, the second time around that it has developed the symptoms generally appear to be worse.
Primary progressive MS
This is when initially being diagnosed with Multiple sclerosis that the symptoms get worse at time goes on.
There is a large range of symptoms caused by multiple sclerosis that many individuals may suffer. They include:
Spasticity or stiffness
Spasticity refers to when a muscle becomes more toned or there is an increase in muscle spasm. Stiffness is when the muscle or joint is unable to relax so it remains in a tightened position.
Bladder and bowel problems
If the nerve fibres that control the bowels and bladder are affected then the individual suffering from MS will have problems with the control of this area. The affected individual may find it hard to control the frequency that they go, urgency, hesitant and incontinent. Emptying the bladder is a reflex action, if the message is not sent to the brain it will result in the bladder emptying without knowing, this can be the case in some MS individuals.
Weakness or fatigue
One of the causes for muscles weakness in people with multiple sclerosis is poor transmission of messages to the brain and muscles by the damaged nerves. The nerve damage makes the muscles less responsive and they need more energy to carry out actions. Feeling weak can cause the individual to use their muscles less, but this can worsen the weakness. Fatigue is the loss of energy or ability to continue with something
Visual problems are common within individuals who suffer from MS. This is due to damages to the nerves that control the movement of the eyes this can lead to double vision (diplopia).
Balance and dizziness
Within MS an individual may have damage to several nerves. For balance the body uses various systems to judge it these include the inner ear, head, eyes and neck muscle sensors. All of the message received from the brain about these will help a person to balance without falling. In MS if there is a disruption to one of more of the nerves supplying the information to these parts then it will result in no messages being sent to the brain about spatial awareness. Therefore the body will lose balance and may get dizziness.
Tremor and ataxia
Due to damages to some of the nerves it can result in loss of co ordination of the muscles and movements they carry out (ataxia)
Damage to nerve fibres will not only affect the body but can affect the mental processes of a person with Multiple sclerosis. This could include problems with information processing, problem solving and concentration.
Depression can be present in those with multiple sclerosis directly (result of the nerves to the brain being disrupted) resulting in depression, or secondary (the feeling of living with the condition in the long term).
Speech and swallowing
Multiple sclerosis can cause damage to different parts of the brain this can include the parts of the brain that involve speech and swallowing.
Individuals who suffer from Multiple sclerosis may experience some pain. This can be either muscular or nerve pain.
Physiotherapists at Liverpool Neuro Physio specialise in neurological physiotherapy. Neurological physiotherapists will work with people suffering from multiple sclerosis to set goals and help meet the aims of that person. This helps improve their quality of life. Treatment will depend on an individual and their symptoms. Some of the treatment at Liverpool Neuro Physio may involve:
Your physiotherapists aim is to retrain your control and movement patterns. Your physiotherapist at Liverpool Neuro physio will strive to reduce any spasticity, encourage normal movement and regain functional ability.
Your physiotherapist wants you to be as independent as possible. To do this they will work on recovering good posture, balance and core stability. The physiotherapists at Liverpool Neuro Physio will attempt to retrain normal movement patterns such as walking, sitting to standing, lying position and advise you on the best way to sleep.
One of the problems with multiple sclerosis is that muscles can weaken and joints can become stiff. Your physiotherapist at Liverpool Neuro Physio will work on preventing this through the use of exercises and stretching techniques. Your exercise programme will be specific to you and may work on strengthening the muscles used in daily activities making it easier for you to cope with everyday things such as standing. Ensuring that your muscles are stronger will result in it being easier for you to stand. Passive stretching is another physiotherapy intervention your physiotherapist may carry out to prevent you from developing any stiffness in your joints. Our physiotherapists will ensure that you sustain your maximal range of movement in your treatment. Keeping maximal range of movement will prevent any further problems in the future. If your physiotherapy is not continued exercise will stop and this will lead to stiffness and muscle problems that will be hard to change once they have become a problem. Another benefit of exercise programmes put together for you by physiotherapists at Liverpool Neuro Physio is improvement of circulation around the body.
Your physiotherapist may incorporate relaxation techniques into your programme to make you feel less anxious and more at ease when exercising. Breathing techniques are a good way of relaxing but can only be taught by your physiotherapist.
Ensuring you continue with physiotherapy after being discharged from hospital can only benefit you. The earlier the rehabilitation takes place the better. Teaching the techniques as early as possible will prevent you from deteriorating and improve or keep your condition steady.
Our physiotherapists at Liverpool Neuro Physio can teach parts of the rehabilitation process to you or your family/carers. Your physiotherapist wants you to be as independent as possible so this will ensure you continue with physiotherapy between sessions. This will improve your quality of life.