In order to improve your balance, you may have to lose your balance! You CAN address balance problems by challenging them. By sticking to a program that is safe, yet pushes you to your limits, your balance can gradually improve.
How to start
- See your healthcare provider to make sure MS is the cause of your balance problems; sometimes loss of balance is due to other reasons.
- Ask a rehabilitation professional, usually a physical therapist (PT), skilled in treating patients with MS, to thoroughly evaluate you and your balance issues. Your PT will design exercises and teach compensatory techniques to improve your balance.
- Discuss exercises and compensatory techniques with your healthcare provider before embarking on a program.
Common techniques used to improve balance
This involves exercises and techniques designed to induce brief periods of loss of balance. This helps you learn to adapt. Exercises may include eye or head movements, distorting or eliminating visual input, and changing or moving weight-bearing surfaces.
These may be as simple as using a handrail on the stairs or making sure you get adequate rest if you tend to lose your balance when you are tired. Major help can come from aids such as a cane, brace, or walker. These aids don’t mean surrender! They improve your personal appearance and increase safety, as balance problems can lead to slips and falls.
Spasticity or fatigue may indirectly affect balance. These conditions can be managed with medications in addition to physical and occupational therapy.
Contributing editors: Staff, Can Do Multiple Sclerosis