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Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Multiple sclerosis is a common neurodegenerative disorder affecting the central nervous system. This is one of the leading non traumatic disability in young adults. This condition results from the loss of the insulating covering (myelin) of nerves in the brain and/or spinal cord. This loss of nerve covering results affects the brain and spinal cord ability to transmit signals resulting in physical and cognitive disability. The exact cause is not clear, however it is related to either improper myelin formation or the immune system attacking the nerve covering (myelin).
Multiple sclerosis can be diagnosed at any age, however, is most diagnosed between the ages of 20-35 year of ages. The diagnosis is usually symptom based supported by specific MRI findings and cerebrospinal fluid markers.
Rehabilitation interventions should be considered early for optimizing functional capacity and maintaining independence. Studies have shown, in addition to pharmacologic disease modifying therapy, early rehab intervention optimizes functional capacity and reduces risk for loss of independence. Early rehabilitation has been proven to reduce disability, participation and quality of life despite disease progression.

Common symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS)

• Difficulty with walking.
• Difficulty with coordination
• Numbness
• Weakness
• Vision changes
• Changes in bladder or urinary function
• Pain
• Fatigue
• Sensitivity to heat

Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis: although there is not a cure of MS there is broad range of treatment modalities that slow progression and disability form disease.

• Be sure to discuss with your neurologist your pharmacologic options for treatment. Treatment modalities have expanded in the past decade resulting in improved functional outcome and reduced disability.
• Currently there is more than 15 disease modifying therapies or medications that have shown success in fighting this disease. Be sure to discuss your options with your neurologist to optimize your management.

Goal of Physical therapy in multiple sclerosis: MS rehabilitation is individualized as patient can exhibit different deficits from this condition.

• Mobility training in learning how to use assistive devices
• Improve speech and comprehension.
• Improve visual changes
• Improve range of motion and minimize spasticity
• Improve strength
• Gait training