Dealing with Mobility Problems Caused by MS
Multiple sclerosis is a disorder that affects the myelin coating of nerve cells. The disorder can cause a number of neurological symptoms that can affect vision, concentration and mobility. Studies indicate that two-thirds of MS patients have trouble walking, cannot walk or have loss of balance at least twice each week. Many of these patients do not discuss their mobility problems with their physicians. For individuals with MS regaining mobility can be a significant concern, and utilizing the methods and devices that are available can have a direct impact on their daily lives.
MS Symptoms Can Affect Mobility
The damage to nerves caused by MS can affect the individual’s ability to be mobile in a variety of ways:
- Fatigue – MS patients often report overwhelming fatigue that strikes unexpectedly.
- Muscle spasms and spasticity – Damage to nerves in the spinal column can cause muscle contractions that can be sudden and painful. The spasticity can prevent normal muscle movement.
- Muscle weakness – Poor transmission of the messages needed for movement can cause difficulty walking or normal use of the arms.
- Tremor – Uncontrollable shaking and trembling can occur from nerve damage, making movement more difficult.
- Abnormal sensations – Nerve damage from MS can cause numbness, tingling or feelings of electric shock that can affect normal movement.
- Vision problems – Blurred vision, double vision or abnormal color patterns can disturb walking ability and other activities.
Dealing With Mobility Problems
MS patients can experience “foot drop,” in which one foot cannot lift off the ground normally, causing problems in walking. Problems with balance may require the use of a walker or cane to ensure safety. Muscle weakness and spasticity may require physical therapy, aquatherapy or electro-stimulation to restore function. New techniques and methods are constantly being developed to help with mobility problems related to MS.
MS Regaining Mobility
Multiple sclerosis causes damage to the myelin coating of the nerves associated with movement that is often not reversible. Although medications and other therapies can be helpful in managing symptoms, mobility may be permanently affected. However, the use of wheelchairs and scooters can ensure that MS patients are able to engage with the outside world in meaningful ways, regardless of the current status of their health.