Multiple sclerosis, a disease also known as MS or disseminated sclerosis, is an inflammatory disease in which the myelin sheaths around the axons of the brain and spinal cord are attacked by the body’s immune system. The inflammatory reaction leads to demyelination and scarring, which is a process in which the conduction of signals in the affected nerves is impaired. This causes various more or less severe symptoms, depending on the nature of the affected nerves. In most cases, patients will have problems in sensation, cognition, movement, and other important bodily functions.
The challenge of multiple sclerosis
Persons with multiple sclerosis can suffer from many neurological signs and symptoms. At first, the disease begins with mild changes in sensation: loss of sensitivity to tingling or numbness and muscle weakness. Later it progresses to muscle spasms, difficulty in moving, loss of muscular mass, and other forms of disability.
Most of the patients will have 5 to 10-year lower life expectancies than that of unaffected people. Around 90% of individuals will be capable of independent walking 10 years from the onset of disease, while only 75% of them may keep this ability for 15 years. However, almost all patients will completely lose the ability to walk prior to death. At the same time, they will generally suffer from pain and cramps in their muscles.
Exercises for people with multiple sclerosis
People with multiple sclerosis can benefit from simple physical exercise. There is no cure for this disease but even the simple exercise can help ease the symptoms of this disease. However, patients should pay special attention not to overdo their exercise, and they should make sure not to end up in strain or injury. In general, most people with MS suffer from chronic fatigue, and any kind of hard physical effort can be counterproductive. Therefore, patients are advised to stick to the types of exercises that are best suited for them, and manage the intensity and duration of workout to suit their fitness level.
Patients are advised to warm up before beginning the exercise routine and work only in a very safe environment. People who have difficulties balancing should exercise while sitting or lying on the floor.
Patients with MS can benefit from many stretching exercises, yoga, or tai chi. These low-impact activities are safe and very efficient as they promote the blood and lymph circulation and help to increase the natural range of motion. Other good examples of exercise for people with MS include water aerobics and swimming.