What role does physical therapy play in treating MS?
Physical therapy can help with
- Balance problems
- Coordination issues
- Difficulty with physically performing daily activities (such as walking or getting up from a sitting position)
The goal of physical therapy is to improve independence and quality of life by improving movement and function, and relieving pain.
We don’t know why yet but Multiple Sclerosis (MS) damages the myelin sheath surrounding the nerve cells of the brain and spinal cord. Scarring from this damage can block or slow nerve impulses in areas of the brain (neurological damage). As a result, an MS patient may lack coordination, feel tired, have involuntary movements, resist movement (spasticity), and have pain. Symptoms such as these, which are a result of MS, are called “primary symptoms.”
Primary symptoms can reduce movement. As a result, one may feel tightness, pain and weakness, especially in the muscles and joints. These are called “secondary symptoms”.
Physical therapy cannot cure primary symptoms because, at this time, neurological damage cannot be reversed. Physical therapy can be helpful, though, by providing “compensatory” treatments. These treatments enable the patient to compensate for the changes brought about by MS. Compensatory treatments include learning new movement techniques, strategies, and equipment.
Physical therapy can be very helpful at lessening and even stopping secondary symptoms of MS. A physical therapist can teach exercises to be used to strengthen and stretch muscles. Many of these exercises can be performed at home.
A physician can refer the patient for physical therapy if the patient feels there may be benefit from it.
The number of PT appointments depends on the specific situation. The first appointment includes an evaluation and recommendations for exercises. The following appointments check your progress and build a new program. The therapist will work with the patient until a certain level of improved function is reached. At that point, a home exercise program may be developed.
When choosing the right physical therapy solution it is vital to incorporate the best physical therapy products. Such a product is the TUTOR system. Currently being used for the treatment of MS as well as CP, stroke, brain/spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s disease and other upper and lower limb surgeries the TUTORs are amongst the leading medical devices for physical therapy. The TUTORs which consist of the HANDTUTOR, ARMTUTOR, LEGTUTOR and 3DTUTOR consist of comfortable ergonomically designed gloves and braces that are connected to exclusive games that allow the patient to practice isolated and/or interjoint coordination exercises. Controlled exercises prevent the development of compensatory movement patterns. The dedicated software allows the therapist to fully customize the the exercises to the patient’s ability. In addition the therapist can objectively and quantitatively evaluate and report on the treatment progress.
The TUTOR system is available for children as well as adults and in the patient’s home through the use of telerehabilitation.
See WWW.MEDITOUCH.CO.IL for more information.