Exercise and MS

Exercise can supplement current therapies.

Content provided by: Tammy Mahan of Healthline

MS affects the communication between the spinal cord and brain in those with the disorder. Electronic signals are sent down long fibers known as axons found in a protective, insulating substance known as myelin. Myelin is thought to be a threat and attacked by the immune system causing it to become damaged when MS is present. There is an inability of the axons to conduct signals properly when the myelin is lost.

The signs and symptoms of multiple sclerosis are similar to other problems making a diagnosis difficult to obtain. The diagnostic process has been standardized by the diagnostic criteria that medical organizations have created. It is particularly effective in the first stages of the disease. When someone has had different episodes of neurological symptoms associated with MS such as numbness or tingling, utilizing clinical data alone might not be enough to diagnose the condition. Analyzing the cerebrospinal fluid and neuroimaging are the most common tools for diagnosis. There is a less attentive response to the optic and sensory nerve stimulation in those with MS because of the demyelination of the pathways.

There are obvious benefits to exercising for healthy individuals; there are also benefits of exercise to those with MS. Benefits include:

●Exercises helps you to manage your weight
●People with more severe MS are aided in maintaining mobility
●Muscles weakness is reduced and mobility maintained thought the toning and strengthening of muscles.
●Some of the symptoms associated with MS can be helped.

MS cannot be cured with a single exercise but it can be used for prevention and to supplement current therapies. The exercise that is chosen depends on the individual. You have to take into account the things that you enjoy and whether you prefer to be alone or with someone when you exercise. Are you going to need help and instruction for an exercise program? These questions will aid you in picking the program of exercise that is right for you and your MS.

●Bowel and bladder problems are aided with pelvic floor exercises
●Depression symptoms improve with aerobics
●Muscle spasms and stiffness are helped by stretching, Thai Chi and Yoga
●Balance is improved through aerobics and walking

Your energy will be renewed as you start to have the natural inner balance restored. MS symptoms such as aches and pains will begin to disappear along with other symptoms associated with the disease. There are several exercises that you can do to assist you with the problems of lack of endurance, ataxia, and weakness in the muscles and loss of coordination and balance so that the problems are effectively aided when you have MS.

It is important that exercises be tailored to the symptoms and begins immediately following the onset in order to get the most benefit from the exercises. Waiting increases the difficulty of overcoming the problem making it vital to start immediately when balance or weakness are the problem. Difficulties can increase when exercises are put off for too long, and the wrong exercises can make the problems worse.

Content provided by: Tammy Mahan of Healthline

Author: Healthline

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17 thoughts on “Exercise and MS”

      1. Have to go now. Interested in reading about how other people are dealing with RRMS. At least it’s not fatal! I’m still fairly happy despite living with MS. Perhaps there will be a cure in our lifetime!

  1. Three years ago, I bought and underwater Ipod case w/ headphones. I dont swim, instead I exercise/dance to my Gospel and Jazz music. It is so uplifting and helps rejuvenate and strengthen my body.

  2. Nicole,
    I see you also use one of my favorites at my health club — the NuStep. My absolute favorite activity though is my MS Aqua class. The exercises are geared toward stretching, muscle building especially core muscles, and lots and lots of balance works. It’s amazing how we all arrive at class with our canes, walkers, chairs and scooters but find it so much easier to move in the water.

    We just started in May and I already know I much more strength. And I’m not the only one. One member who started in August and needed the lift to get in and out of the pool and a special float device is now moving in the pool needing only water barbells and is able to pull herself up the stairs by herself.

      1. It’s a piece of equipment that helps you do the equivalent of standing on your head. Your feet are tethered to an “ankle lock” and then the table rotates anywhere from a small amount to a full 180 degrees. It stretches the spine and body. It is best to work up to the full 180. For me, it is fully comfortable at 180 for as much as ten minutes. My stepson, who is not used to it, felt like his head was going to explode. I do it every morning and always feel energized afterwards. There are contraindications for certain conditions. It is of course important to get medical advice beforehand. I have done it for years, and I can’t imagine starting my day without it. It does take a lot of floor space so that’s a disadvantage. Here’s a wikipedia link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inversion_therapy. There are probably better sources of info if you are interested in researching it further. If you want to find more information from me, let me know.

    1. Hi Angela, I do not know the answer to your question except that when I was first Diag 22 years ago drop foot was my first “noticeable” symptom… my nuero quickly rx’ed an AFO… in hindsight I believe that some Physical Therapy would have been a better “1st effort”… cant cry over spilt milk…

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