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Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system (CNS) characterized by demyelination and degeneration of the neurons.
MS affects approximately 1 - 2.5 million people worldwide. It is common in young adults, and often results in non-traumatic disability. Loss of mobility greatly impacts employment and other day-to-day activities. Exercise and physiotherapy play a positive role in the rehabilitation of patients with MS.
Exercise has a range of benefits in patients with MS, and they are:
Initially, people with MS feel tired when they start exercising, however, slowly they get accustomed to it.
Patients with MS are advised to consult the healthcare provider, and develop an exercise program according to their health condition. Healthcare provider can help achieve the patient’s goal by monitoring their progress. Consulting a physical therapist can help identify specific exercises based on the patient's need. The patient can keep track of their own progress by noting down the regular exercises.
Success of home-based program depends on whether or not it is enjoyable, varied, goal-oriented, and realistic. Home-based physical therapy programs have certain compliance issues including exhaustion, poor motivation, depression, lack of support from close family members and friends, time limitations, and cognitive dysfunction.
Exercise programs of the patients include several types of exercises such as stretching, aerobic exercise, and strength-training.
Stretching enhances the flexibility of muscles which help in performing day-to-day activities, and it also prevents injuries.
Walking, swimming, cycling, and water aerobics are some of the common aerobic activities for an individual with MS.
Strength training is a crucial part of exercise regimen as it helps strengthen the muscles.
The following checklist can help the individual with MS in preventing problems associated with home-based exercise regimen.