Though multiple sclerosis (MS) is a progressive disease, there is a lot you can do to limit its effects on your daily life. A chronic neuromuscular disorder that causes damage to nerve fibers and the protective substance (myelin) that surrounds them, MS can cause nerve-related damage can lead to trouble with motor function, communication, and coordination.
One way to combat the symptoms of MS is through neuromuscular therapy (NMT). NMT consists of various physical and mental therapies to increase your strength, improve movement patterns, and function better during your regular tasks. A personalized NMT treatment plan may include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language therapy, counseling, and other interventions.
Let’s examine some of the targeted therapies that have shown to be beneficial.
Benefits of Neuromuscular Therapy
Early in your diagnosis, MS may have minor effects on your body and mind. As the condition progresses, however, it may start to affect more areas of your life. With early treatment and consistent NMT, you can stay on top of your symptoms. Here are a number of benefits for the physical and mental symptoms associated with MS:
Benefit 1: Develop strength and stamina
One of the goals of physical and occupational therapies is to help you gain strength and prevent muscle atrophy. While difficult symptoms like pain and fatigue may make you feel like staying in bed instead, inactivity can actually harm your body more than help.
In contrast, physical activity can help improve your body’s overall function and how you feel. Exercise makes your body stronger and decreases inflammation. Research shows a single exercise session is enough to improve mood and feelings of vigor. Regular exercise has also been shown to decrease fatigue and spasticity and increase bladder and bowel function for those with MS.
As you can see, physical therapies can help keep your body primed for daily living and reduce the physical limitations that could potentially hold you back. NMT helps you take control of many of your body’s abilities.
In order to experience the positive benefits of training, work with a qualified therapist to personalize and supervise your treatment. Professionals understand how to help you build strength and stamina gradually so you don’t overdo it or get injured.
Benefit 2: Avoid exacerbating symptoms
For adults with MS, exacerbation refers to a flare-up or worsening of one or more symptoms. Relapses happen as a result of inflammation in the nervous system, which affects each person differently.
One person may experience impaired vision while another struggles with fatigue and pain. It’s hard to predict how an exacerbation will affect you. However, knowing inflammation is at the root of exacerbation can help you address inflammation before it happens.
Exercise, for one, can help you reduce overall inflammation in the body. Flexibility, endurance, and resistance training help you maintain your physical abilities and minimize the effects of exacerbation, including the impact on energy and mood.
NMT helps you prevent and address the symptoms related to exacerbation. If you do experience an exacerbation, prompt rehabilitation can help restore any function lost during the episode.
Benefit 3: Regain abilities after relapse
After a relapse, you may feel lingering effects such as tiredness, weakness, or difficulty swallowing, among others. Prompt rehabilitation addresses these effects and helps you restore function. Your therapists can design helpful interventions unique to your situation.
For example, if a relapse leaves you with difficulty swallowing, a therapist can help you retrain the muscles and mechanisms involved in eating and drinking. If you have balance issues when walking, a therapist provides tools to help you negotiate movement.
As your condition progresses, your therapists can also help you make adjustments and optimize your current abilities. They can teach you how to compensate for limitations or provide assistive devices to regain function.
Good therapists invest their energy in helping you live your life the way you're used to. NMT helps you maintain your autonomy as your body changes.
Benefit 4: Support and cope with your changing body
MS can be a difficult diagnosis that has a profound impact on both your body and your mind. You may feel a sense of loss and less control of your body after your diagnosis. The disease can also have an isolating effect.
Both physical therapies and counseling can teach you how to cope with these changes in your body and enhance your sense of self-efficacy. At first, you may not consider counseling an important part of your treatment plan. However, therapy can be instrumental in your treatment care.
Mental health specialists can provide proactive solutions to help you manage stress, interpersonal interactions, health-related grief, and much more. They can help you work through mental and emotional struggles and learn how to cope with your diagnosis.
If you feel disheartened or anxious about your diagnosis, a counselor can help you navigate your experience and improve your quality of life. Instead of isolating, seek therapy that can help you regain a healthy sense of connection and contentment.
The benefits of neuromuscular therapy are far-reaching. NMT not only has a positive effect on your physical body, but it also helps you sort through the mental and emotional responses that come up. Under the care of qualified professionals, NMT is an empowering tool that helps you take maximum control of your condition.
Access Quality Care
Ready to find out how the benefit of neuromuscular therapy could improve your condition? If you live in Alabama, you have access to some of the most qualified neuromuscular therapies at Rehab Select. The rehabilitation center provides access to physicians, therapists, and counselors who specialize in the best proven holistic treatments for MS. If you’re looking for a top rehabilitation center in your area for a loved one with MS, contact the team at Rehab Select to learn more about our services.