On July 6th 2014, Tiffaney Marlow, one of the physiotherapists at Rebalance Sports Medicine had the opportunity to participate in the 3rd annual MS Bike in Prince Edward County. A one day tour, 75km ride with almost 200 other cyclists to raise money to help end multiple sclerosis. Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease which affects an estimated 100,000 Canadians often diagnosed between the ages of 15 – 40 years of age. The disease attacks the protective sheathing, called myelin, around the central nervous system, brain and spinal cord. This sheathing plays an important role in transmission of impulses through the nervous system. With damage to these structures symptoms such as extreme fatigue, impaired sensation, poor motor control and weakness, depression, bladder problems and cognitive impairments may present. The severity of MS, its progression and the specific symptoms varies from individual to individual.
Physiotherapy can play a huge role in helping those who suffer with multiple sclerosis improve or maintain their current physical function.
Physiotherapists as part of a neuro-rehabilitative team can play an important role in managing pain, decreasing spasticity and preventing contractures associated with loss of motor function. Spasticity is an increase in muscle tone when a stretch is applied to an affected muscle and is a common symptom of MS. Physiotherapists can aid in maintaining range of motion, stretching and strengthening the muscles commonly affected by spasticity.
Exercise can play an important role in reducing fatigue, building muscle and improving cardiovascular health for those diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Focusing exercise on functional strength training and progressive resistance exercise for major muscle groups can help to improve strength and endurance of the upper and lower extremities. Furthermore, exercise can help to improve balance and mobility, increase endurance and promote independence.
The cause of multiple sclerosis is still unknown and there is no cure so long term management strategies are important to promote healthy living and maintain independence. If you have multiple sclerosis and are interested in learning more about how a physiotherapist can help you maximize your function please contact us today.