Physical therapy addresses many of the symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) and can help prevent secondary conditions from occurring. While MS could result in disability, a physical therapist can help you stay as independent as possible.
What a PT will do to help you:
PTs understand the unique challenges MS adds to daily life that can make doing daily activities harder, like sensitivity to heat, fatigue, medication side effects, spasticity, pain, and decreased motivation. Some people with MS have muscle weakness and impaired sensation that can affect walking and balance abilities. PTs are trained to use their hands and equipment such as leg braces, canes, walkers, and wheelchairs to make mobility easier and more efficient. PTs can also conduct balance evaluations and provide specific exercises to help improve safety.
Is PT safe?
Your PT will create an exercise program that is tailored to your needs. The program can improve balance, strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular fitness in a safe manner. The benefits of exercise apply to people with all types of MS and different levels of disability. PTs also provide education, so that people living with MS can get moving without fear of symptoms getting worse or increased fatigue.
How does PT affect fatigue?
Physical therapy can help reduce fatigue. Improved fitness, strength, and endurance have been shown to decrease fatigue in people living with MS. In addition to exercise programs, PTs can also recommend ways to conserve energy, relax, and improve sleep quality. PTs provide recommendations for equipment for the home, workplace, or vehicle, including shower chairs, railings, ramps and lifts.
Physical therapy is a very valuable part of a comprehensive health care team for people living with MS; please see additional links for information about physical therapy services.