The goal of rehabilitation is to improve and maintain your function — an essential component of comprehensive MS care. From the time of diagnosis onward, rehabilitation specialists provide education and strategies designed to promote your health, wellness and overall conditioning, reduce fatigue, and help you function optimally at home and at work.
If symptoms begin to interfere with everyday activities, rehabilitation can address problems with mobility, personal care, driving, functioning at home and work, and participation in leisure activities. Rehabilitation experts can also provide evaluation and treatment of speech and swallowing difficulties, and problems with thinking and memory.
Contact an MS Navigator for more information or a referral to a rehabilitation specialist or other healthcare provider.
Physical therapists (PT) evaluate and address your body’s ability to move and function, with particular emphasis on walking and mobility, strength, balance, posture, fatigue and pain. Physical therapy might include an exercise program, gait (walking) training and training in the use of mobility aids (poles, canes, crutches, scooters and/or wheelchairs) and other assistive devices. The goal is to promote independence, safety, and achieve and maintain optimal functioning. In addition rehabilitation can help prevent complications such as de-conditioning, muscle weakness from lack of mobility and muscle contractures related to spasticity. Physical therapy can also include pelvic floor exercises to address urinary/bladder issues.
Occupational therapists (OT’s) are rehabilitation specialists who provide training in energy conservation techniques and the use of adaptive tools and devices to simplify your everyday tasks. They recommend strategic modifications to your home and workplace to ensure accessibility, safety and convenience. Some OT’s also evaluate and treat problems with thinking and memory. The goal of occupational therapy (OT) is to enhance your independence, productivity and safety in all activities related to personal care, leisure activities and employment.
State vocational rehabilitation programs offer job readiness training, job coaching, job placement assistance, mobility training and assistive technology assessments — with the goal of helping people maintain their current employment or find new employment that accommodates their needs.
The speech-language pathologist (SLP) evaluates and treats problems with speech and/or swallowing — both of which can result from damage in the central nervous system that reduces control of the muscles used in these important functions. The goal of therapy is to enhance ease and clarity of communication as well as promoting safe swallowing and overall health. Some SLPs also evaluate and treat problems with thinking and memory.
Neuropsychologists — as well as many OTs and SLPs — evaluate and treat changes in a person’s ability to think, reason, concentrate or remember. While these professionals use different evaluation and treatment strategies, they share the common goal of helping people function optimally if cognitive changes are experienced.