Balance and co-ordination problems are common symptoms of multiple sclerosis due to the condition causing muscle weakness. If you'd like some support to retain or improve your mobility, a physiotherapist can work with you to develop a tailored treatment plan. Here's an overview of a few ways a physiotherapist can support those with multiple sclerosis:
Even a small increase in your muscle strength can improve your balance and co-ordination. Your physiotherapist will show you a series of targeted exercises that will work on strengthening identified areas of weakness. You'll be able to carry out these exercises at home, and will see the greatest benefit if you do them every day. Additionally, your physiotherapist may offer group exercise classes for those with multiple sclerosis and similar health conditions.
Adaptive Movement Techniques
If problems with your balance cause you to stumble or fall, you may find your self-confidence is affected over time. If you avoid going out in case you fall or if you struggle to stand up from a seated position, your physiotherapist can show you adaptive movement techniques. These new ways of moving from one position to another can reduce falls. For example, if you tend to lose your balance when getting up out of an armchair, you'll learn how to steady yourself and how to ease yourself out of the chair safely using a series of small movements. The physiotherapist can also show you ways of getting back up to a standing position if you do fall.
There are a number of mobility aids that can support those with balance problems. The specific aids that will benefit you will depend on what tasks you're struggling with, but your physiotherapist can show you how to use any aids you're interested in. If you find yourself feeling off-balance when you walk short distances, a folding seat walking stick could help you retain your independence. This mobility aid offers the same support as a regular walking stick, but also has a small seat attached that allows you to sit down and rest anywhere. A bath board can help you feel safer in the shower, as you'll be able to wash while sitting on the sturdy board that clips onto each side of your bath. If muscle weakness has caused you to develop a dropped foot that drags when you walk and causes you to trip, consider trying an ankle-foot orthosis. This is a strong, lightweight splint that holds your foot steady in the correct position.
If you'd like to discuss your specific balance and co-ordination problems with a physiotherapist, schedule an appointment for an assessment.