Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Impact of Comprehensive Rehabilitation

With multiple sclerosis, the symptoms of the disease can negatively affect functions of daily living, general well-being, and Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQOL). Symptoms such as fatigue or weakness can lead to inactivity. Inactivity can lead to deconditioning and physical impairment. Physical impairment can lead to psychological impairment. Psychological impairment can lead to inactivity. As this cycle continues, inactivity worsens and daily activities may be avoided altogether, leading to further deconditioning and an even poorer HRQOL.

Comprehensive rehabilitation programs can break this vicious cycle.

After experiencing ongoing difficulties with gait and mobility, I requested that my neurologist prescribe an evaluation and exercise program from a physical therapist specially-trained in neurological disorders. What I thought would be some simple gait training and help with spasticity issues became much more. So, I began twice weekly physical therapy sessions in December to address issues of weakness, spasticity, gait problems, fatigue, and balance. See Free Falling and Other Silly Human Tricks. Valerie, my physical therapist, designed a program which addresses the physical deconditioning I had succumbed to.

When you begin any exercise program, it is best to consult with your medical professional first. An initial appointment would be used to assess your starting point, measuring weakness, spasticity, sensory dysfunctions, gait and balance. Even cognitive function could be considered, as information processing greatly affects a person’s ability to follow through with a program long-term.

Comprehensive rehabilitation addresses the patient as a whole and focuses on maximizing a person’s functional abilities and improving their self-image, psychological well-being, coping skills and adjustment to MS. It may combine aerobic exercise with strength training, gait training, balance exercises, stretching, heat and massage, occupational therapy, self-assessment of fatigue, and perceived benefit upon Quality of Life.

Rest this post in it entirety:

Quality of Life for MS Patients: The Impact of Comprehensive Rehabilitation


  1. This is (has been) my biggest issue...finding a good program is escaping me. PTs have let me down. Getting TO them gets harder, it just keeps dragging me deeper down. PLEASE, anyone with MS: start PT soon and find a good PT, keep up with it even if you think you don't need it anymore. Don't end up where I am. I didn't need to be here. The system failed me. I was beaten down and gave up too soon, now I have an uphill climb every moment. Lisa tells it like it is. No drug can do what rehab can.

  2. Lisa,
    It is vital to keep our bodies moving, not just for exercise sake, but in the event where we encounter a physical disability. If there was little movement before a disability, it's just that much harder to being a program.

    It can be done though (I'm living proof) and the rewards far exceed the physical. The benefits to your brain are tremendous.

    Good for you for getting into a program. And Yay! to you for continuing with it.


  3. This is exactly the type of program I am looking for and wanting prescribed. Thanks for this info - now I have something to add to my "need" list for my Neuro.

  4. While I know that exercise will help me, I often feel so exhausted that the mere thought of physical activity makes me even more tired. It's a vicious circle! I need to get my butt in gear...