When living with MS, we may experience physical stress, emotional stress, social stress, economic stress, and cognitive distress.
The physiological changes caused by MS, such as weakness, spasticity, imbalance or loss of coordination, can increase physical demands on the body. It is important to be aware of physical changes caused by MS and to work to combat them so that the changes themselves do not create additional problems. Staying active and working with a physical therapist or trainer are ways you can reduce the physical stress caused by MS.
Regular exercise reduces the effects of stress hormones on the body and can help prevent physical de-conditioning. Strength training helps to build and maintain muscle strength with is necessary with you live with MS. Working with a healthcare provider to learn how to adjust to changing abilities and properly use assistive devices can be invaluable.
Emotional stress can be caused by the uncertainty and unpredictable nature of the disease. It can also result from physical changes occurring in the brain due to neurological damage. Common symptoms of MS include depression, anxiety, and cognitive dysfunction. When you are feeling emotionally stressed, it doesn’t take much to trigger a physical reaction. However, there is no clear evidence that stress can trigger exacerbations.
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Identifying the Effects of Stress on MS