Staying Well During the COVID-19 Pandemic: MS Researchers Speak Out
October 1, 2020
Staying well has never been more important for people living with MS, say a group of MS rehabilitation researchers in a newly published editorial, as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts lifestyle habits and coping resources. The researchers – representing the National MS Society’s Wellness Research Work Group – present tips for people with MS and their healthcare providers to consider:
“Health Behaviors, Wellness, and Multiple Sclerosis Amid COVID-19”
- Staying active can improve walking, balance, fatigue, depression and quality of life. If it’s challenging now, engage in short bouts of physical activity inside or outside the home throughout the day. Guidelines are available for ALL people with MS.
- A healthy diet is associated with less depression, lower levels of disability and higher self-reported quality of life. But you don’t need to overhaul your diet. Try simple changes:
- Make ½ your plate fruits and veggies
- Choose olive oil or grapeseed oil
- Read labels – any food with less than five ingredients is less likely to have too much salt or refined sugar
- Addressing emotional wellness can not only alleviate the depression that affects people with MS, but can help with MS symptoms such as pain and fatigue. The telehealth boom provides opportunities for people with MS to get these services at home. If such opportunities are not available, however, online self-help strategies are available, such as the My MS Toolkit developed by teams at the Universities of Michigan and Washington.
- The authors stress the importance of people with MS collaborating with their healthcare providers to discuss wellness options, considering each individual’s financial and social limitations. The National MS Society provides a guide for discussing wellness with healthcare providers.
- Get more resources for staying well – Brochures, recipes from the American Heart Association, and programs from Can Do Multiple Sclerosis, a non-profit that delivers health and wellness education programs for families with MS.
- Learn what you need to know about COVID-19.
is published by Robert Motl, PhD (University of Alabama at Birmingham), Kathleen Zackowski, PhD, OTR (National MS Society) and colleagues in Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
(Published:August 28, 2020).
Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable disease of the central nervous system. Currently there is no cure. Symptoms vary from person to person and may include disabling fatigue, mobility challenges, cognitive changes, and vision issues. An estimated 1 million people live with MS in the United States. Early diagnosis and treatment are critical to minimize disability. Significant progress is being made to achieve a world free of MS.