Multiple Sclerosis Therapy: Understanding the Symptoms & Treatments

Learn more about MS and how our physical rehabilitation centers can help you or a loved one.

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What is Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an immune-mediated disease in genetically susceptible individuals. Inflammation leads to damage of the myelin sheath (the protective insulation around nerves in the brain and spinal cord), which slows conduction along the nerve axon and leads to neurological symptoms and great discomfort. When the inflammation associated with an acute attack lessens, the symptoms decline. There is evidence that the nerve axons are also damaged due to MS. This damage is associated with permanent neurological dysfunction.

The specific type of symptoms a patient experiences is related to the location of the lesions within the central nervous system (CNS). Although MS lesions tend to occur in five specific areas of the CNS (optic nerves, periventricular white matter, brain stem, cerebellum and spinal cord), no region is free from susceptibility. Therefore, the possible clinical symptoms are widespread.

What are the Signs & Symptoms of MS?

  1. Cognition Difficulty
    • Memory problems
    • Trouble concentrating and paying attention
    • Change in behavior
  2. Emotional Function
    • Anxiety and stress
    • Increased depression
    • Mood changes
    • Sensory functions and pain
    • Vision impairment
    • Hearing impairment
    • Dizziness or tingling
    • Neuropathic pain
  3. Speech, Language, & Swallowing Problems
    • Dysphagia (trouble swallowing)
    • Dysarthria (trouble speaking and communicating)
  4. Cardiovascular and Respiratory System Functions
    • Impaired cardiovascular response
    • Impaired body temperature regulation
    • Breathing problems
  5. Digestive System
    • Bowel problems (reduced gut motility)
    • Bladder problems (incontinence)
  6. Genitourinary and Reproductive Systems
    • Impaired sexual function
    • Reduced sexual arousal and orgasm
    • Reduced sex drive
  7. Neuromusculoskeletal and Movement-Related Functions
    • Loss of strength
    • Lost range of motion
    • Reduced muscle tone
    • Musculoskeletal pain
    • Altered endurance
    • Imbalance and coordination
    • Abnormal gait
    • Fatigue
  8. Skin Problems
    • Skin breakdown in later stages of disease
  9. Loss of Sleep

What Kind of Therapy Treatments Are Available for MS?

Because there is no cure for MS, it’s important to create a plan to help manage the unpredictability and uncertainty of MS by becoming educated on the possible symptoms. By working with healthcare professionals such as neurologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists and recreational therapists, you will be able to build a treatment plan that caters to your symptoms.

At Sheltering Arms Physical Rehabilitation Centers, treatments are designed to help you manage symptoms, prevent unnecessary complications, control disease progression and minimize disability. You may also find it helpful to work with one of our medical psychologists who can help you understand and cope with the life changes you are facing as a result of MS.

Our family of healthcare professionals offers a broad range of treatments dedicated to helping you find the power to overcome the symptoms of MS and to live a full, productive life.

Would you like to speak to someone at Sheltering Arms about all of your therapy options? Call us at 804-764-1000 or fill out the form below.

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Learn more about MS at www.nationalmssociety.org.