Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic and often debilitating neurological disorder that can affect the body in many ways. Those who suffer from MS may experience difficulty walking, loss of vision, muscle spasms, or numbness, among many other symptoms. While there are treatments available to help manage these symptoms and reduce their severity, physical therapists and occupational therapists can also play an important role in helping those with MS live full lives.
Physical therapy (PT) and occupational therapy (OT) are important components of multiple sclerosis (MS) treatment plans. These therapies can help people with MS maintain their independence, manage pain, maximize mobility, and improve their quality of life.
Below, we will talk about how physical therapy and occupational therapy can benefit you if you have multiple sclerosis.
Physical Therapy and Multiple Sclerosis
The primary goal of physical therapy for MS is to reduce the physical impairment, physical limitations, and participation restrictions of the patient, as well as their risk for disability, by helping manage pain and maintain physical fitness.
Physical therapy for MS may include the following:
- Stretching exercises that increase flexibility for better movement
- Aerobic activities like using a treadmill or stationary bike, which increase strength, balance, and endurance
- Posture training to correct body alignment issues (which may become a problem due to spasticity in the muscles and joints caused by multiple sclerosis)
- Muscle re-education techniques geared toward correcting movement patterns caused by spasticity or weakness
- Gait and balance training exercises that improve balance in order to prevent future falls or accidents
- Heat treatments such as hot packs or paraffin baths to ease muscle tension
- Aquatic therapy for gentle resistance exercises that build strength, endurance, and flexibility
Additionally, a physical therapist can work closely with an individual and teach them how best to use assistive devices such as canes, walkers, wheelchairs, or scooters, if necessary, so they can maintain their balance, mobility, and independence.
Occupational Therapy and Multiple Sclerosis
Occupational therapists are trained in helping individuals identify activities that will help them maintain or regain function despite physical limitations due to MS. Occupational therapy programs may include education about symptom management strategies and learning adaptive skills, such as pacing oneself throughout the day to conserve energy, teaching compensatory techniques for tasks like bathing or getting dressed, work-related tasks, and household chores, as well as recommending adaptive equipment such as wheelchairs or walkers. Occupational therapy programs also provide guidance on coping strategies for dealing with emotional stress brought about by symptoms and lifestyle adjustments along the way.
Both physical therapy and occupational therapy play important roles in managing MS patients’ overall health, well-being, and long-term success living independently, despite the many challenges living with the chronic disease may pose on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy in Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia
If you have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, physical therapy and occupational therapy can help you maintain function and independence. At H2 Health, our physical therapists are highly skilled and experienced in developing plans for patients with disability-associated conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, who may be facing functional and mobility challenges, and help them regain their balance, increase their flexibility, maintain an active lifestyle, and improve their quality of life.