What Is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by the immune system attacking the myelin sheath – the protective protein coat around nerve fibers. This results in inflammation, which further damages the myelin sheath as well as the nerve cells themselves, and the cells that produce myelin.
What Are The Causes Of Multiple Sclerosis?
While there are some genetic factors that may increase your risk of developing MS, the exact cause is not known. It is considered an autoimmune disease, in which the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of MS?
MS causes many different symptoms that can differ from person to person and over the course of the disease depending on the location of affected nerve fibers. Symptoms often affect mobility and sensation, and can include:
- Numbness or weakness in one or more limbs
- Lack of coordination
- Vision problems
- Slurred speech
Multiple Sclerosis can also cause pain that varies in location and intensity. Headaches and migraines are common, as are muscle pain, burning sensations, and extreme, sharp pain that comes on suddenly and subsides within a couple minutes.
What Are The Risk Factors Of Multiple Sclerosis?
It is not clear why MS develops in some people and not others. A combination of genetics and environmental factors are believed to contribute to overall risk.
How Is MS Diagnosed?
Because there is no way to specifically test for MS, it is diagnosed by a medical doctor using several strategies to rule out other potential causes of your symptoms and determine whether you meet the MS diagnostic criteria.
What Are The Possible Treatments For Multiple Sclerosis?
There is no cure for MS but there are medications that can help manage and slow the disease process. It is important to work closely with a doctor to find the best treatment for you.
How Can Physical Therapy Help Manage MS?
Physical therapy plays an important role in helping to manage multiple sclerosis and help the patient have the best possible function, mobility, and quality of life. The primary role of the physical therapist is to create an individualized treatment plan, incorporating findings from evaluation and assessment of the patient’s MS symptoms, as well as the results of previous treatment interventions. Common symptoms managed by physical therapists include:
- Gait impairments
- Aerobic endurance
- Respiratory function
Are There Preventative Steps Or Measures To Avoid Multiple Sclerosis?
There are currently no known measures for preventing MS.
Are There Other Related Conditions To MS?
There are many diseases whose symptoms are similar to MS, which is why it is important to be properly diagnosed by a medical doctor.