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How Physical Therapy Assists in the Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system that affects more than 350,000 people in the United States and more than 2.5 million people worldwide. MS disrupts the flow of information within the brain and between the brain and the body. Symptoms of MS vary from person to person, depending on what part of the central nervous system is affected, but more than 91% of those diagnosed with MS report difficulty with walking and other body movements. Though there is no known cure for the disease, the symptoms can be managed with a combination of medical management and physical therapy.

How Can a Physical Therapist Help?

Physical therapy can help patients with MS to regain mobility so that they can function normally in their day-to-day life. Upon first visiting a physical therapist, patients can expect a full examination that will help the physical therapist to determine their areas of strength and weakness. Following the examination, the physical therapist will develop an exercise program based on the condition of the patient and their personal goals. Research has shown that early symptoms, if left untreated, only lead to further disability. The best practice is to begin physical therapy immediately after being diagnosed with MS so that mild symptoms don’t become worse and to assist in slowing down the progression of the symptoms associated with the disease.

Exercises that are typically beneficial to patients diagnosed with MS are aerobics, strength training, stretching, and balance training. Physical therapists will design these exercise routines based on the patient’s ability, and they’ll set the progression at the patient’s tolerance level.

If you or a family member were recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, it’s important that you begin physical therapy in conjunction with your medical treatment as soon as possible. For more information about what physical therapy can do to help, or to schedule an appointment, please visit and find an office near you.