Exploring Degenerative Diseases

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune, neurological disease which affects nerves in the brain and spinal cord. MS results in damage to the protective sheath which surrounds nerve fibres, disrupting the conduction of nerve signals. Progression of this disease results in muscle movement, balance and vision difficulties.

Symptoms include:

  • Loss of vision
  • Spasticity (muscle stiffness and spasms)
  • Ataxia (balance and coordination issues)
  • Fatigue (extreme tiredness)

MS follows a relapsing and remitting pattern which worsens as the disease progresses. In the early stages, periods of relapse are often followed by a complete or partial recovery; whereas the later stages, relapses result in permanent neurological disability.

Treatment involves Supportive Therapy such as drugs to alleviate muscle spasm and pain as well as Physiotherapy. Physiotherapy must be flexible in order to accommodate the diseases progressive symptoms. Therapists will focus on providing treatment for:

  • Movement strategies
  • Motor skill learning / maintenance
  • Movement patterns
  • Reducing muscle tone
  • Preventative therapy
  • Encouraging motivation and co-operation
  • Education

Treatment goals are to:

  • Maintain and increase range of movement
  • Enhance postural stability
  • Prevent contractures
  • Maintain and encourage weight bearing