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Is Neurorehabilitation Effective For People With Multiple Sclerosis?

What is Multiple Sclerosis and is neurorehabilitation effective

Although Multiple Sclerosis is a long-term disease with no cure, many treatments are now available to help people manage symptoms, delay relapses, and increase the overall quality of life. These include medications, cognitive therapies, and neurorehabilitation to improve motor skills and offset disability.

In this article, we are specifically looking at how effective motor neurorehabilitation is for people with Multiple Sclerosis.

What Is Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune condition that affects the brain and spinal cord, it affects people of all ages and is one of the leading causes of disability in young people. The disease is also more common in women.

There are two types of MS, one type is progressive which means symptoms will accumulate and worsen over time, and a type where symptoms appear and then may disappear for a time during periods known as relapses.

The most common issues associated with MS are difficulties with mobility, specifically arm and leg movement, loss of strength, and spasticity. Balance may also be affected, and many people have issues with eyesight. Fatigue and bladder issues are also associated with the disease.

For some people, symptoms can be severely disabling, and others may describe their symptoms as mild. Because MS varies so much between individuals, it’s hard to paint an overall picture of what life is like for a typical person with the disease.

Although there is no cure available for MS, there are many treatments and therapies that have been developed over the years to help people manage the disease, and reduce the risk of serious disability, or developing other conditions.

Neurological rehabilitation, also known as neurorehabilitation, is a host of treatments that focus on helping people recover from neurological illnesses or injuries but is also effective for helping people manage long-term diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis.

How Can Neurorehabilitation Help People With MS?

It’s important to first note that rehabilitation cannot halt disease progression for people with MS – no studies support this. Rehabilitation is focused on improving functionality, boosting independence, and avoiding secondary conditions, therefore improving the overall quality of life.

Multiple Sclerosis does not significantly alter life expectancy so treatment for managing symptoms needs to be long-term. However, treatment and goals will change over time, depending on a person’s immediate needs. Treatment will also look different depending on the type of MS a person has – progressive or relapsing.

Neurorehabilitation programmes for people with MS can help:

  • Improve overall health to help prevent secondary conditions
  • Improve strength and muscle tone
  • Minimise the effects of symptoms such as spasticity
  • Prescribe or assist with aids such as orthotics or walking sticks
  • Improve mental health and overall wellbeing

Rehabilitation programmes for people with MS need to be highly individualised because of the variability of the disease, personal goals, and the level of disability a person already has.

Is There Any Scientific Basis For How Rehabilitation Can Help?    

In Neurorehabilitation in persons with multiple sclerosis: scientific basis and options of treatment, it is stated that the effects of rehabilitation in people with MS have been observed since at least the 1950s.

The article quotes several studies that show neuroplasticity, a phenomenon in which the brain finds new neural pathways to carry out motor tasks that have been lost or reduced through injury or illness can be observed in people with MS. People with MS can find new ways to do things and reduce the impact of disability. Improvements in upper limb function and gait control were observed in some studies, with one study showing that this was more effective in people in the early stages of the disease. However, another study quoted showed that improvements were even observed in people with the highest level of disability caused by MS.

The article is an interesting read that brings together multiple studies to demonstrate that rehabilitation is effective in people with multiple sclerosis to not only improve quality of life but also their perception of the condition.

Rehabilitation For Multiple Sclerosis At VIM Healthcare

AT VIM Healthcare, we help people with MS by targeting reduced or lost physical functions to boost independence for our clients and improve their quality of life. Our multi-disciplinary team can provide a wide range of treatments using state-of-the-art assistive robotics, or traditional therapy methods. We also have a range of VR gaming equipment that can be particularly helpful for people with MS.

We also provide an intensive rehabilitation service where clients do a lot of therapy over a short period, before being discharged where they may continue therapy with home-based exercises.  

Key to the effectiveness of the treatments we offer is our goal to help people make practical improvements that can assist with day-to-day living or adaptation to living with a condition such as MS.

If you have multiple sclerosis and have questions about how effective rehabilitation could be, please get in touch to book an assessment with a member of the team.

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