With more than 400,000 people in the United States coping with multiple sclerosis, this neurologic disease is associated with symptoms that affect major parts of the body. Many of these symptoms involve mobility.
If you or a loved one is coping with a diagnosis of MS, you could be more at risk for falling. And, with falls, many individuals with MS experience major medical issues and disabilities associated with limited mobility.
A fall can be life-changing and can make your MS symptoms even more severe. That’s why we’ve decided to continue our MS series with information about how to manage mobility with MS. (Link to first MS article in series]
Understanding MS Symptoms
Understanding your MS symptoms can help you to identify why you are more at risk for falls. [Link to MS article 2] The primary culprit is the way that the disease progresses. MS causes damage to the myelin in the central nervous system, as well as the nerve fibers. This damage interferes with the transmission of signals between the spinal cord, the brain and other parts of your body.
As a result, the disruption can cause issues with mobility. For instance, common MS symptoms related to mobility include:
According to the National MS Society, these common symptoms can leave you more susceptible to falls. As we dive into the risk factors, know that we are also going to provide you with support and ways to help you minimize your risks.
Keep Reading to Learn More
Risk Factors That Attribute to Falls
As MS progresses, you may experience difficulty with walking. This is primarily because your muscles grow weaker and may result in foot drops, vaulting, hip hiking, toe dragging and even the need to swing a leg out to the side to gain your balance.
In addition to weakness, spasticity within MS patients can lead to falls. Your muscle may feel more tight than usual and interfere with walking, especially when involuntary muscle spasms are present. Spasticity can also produce lower back pain and tightness in and around your joints.
Individuals with MS also struggle with a loss of balance, which leaves them more susceptible to falls. You may find yourself swaying at times when you least expect it, according to the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation.
If you are experiencing dizziness or vertigo, you may find yourself lightheaded and off balance. Numbness and sensory disturbances can also make it harder for you to be aware of the position of your body or even your feet as they relate to space.
Tremors, especially, cause individuals with MS to move back and forth unexpectedly, causing challenges with coordination and balance. In addition, fatigue, vision problems and even pain resulting from MS symptoms can make mobility a challenge.
Mobility Resources for MS Patients
While you are not alone as you cope with multiple sclerosis, you can still maintain your independence and mobility with assistive technology and devices that simplify your life and improve your quality of life. Mobility devices can significantly enhance the way you function so that you are more active and most importantly, safer.
When choosing the right equipment, it’s essential that you consult with your physician, occupational therapist or physical therapist to make sure you know how to use the equipment, but also to ensure the equipment is a good fit for you.
You may not know when it’s time to use a mobility device. That’s why the National MS Society has compiled a checklist for you – or your loved ones. A mobility device is typically necessary when you:
Easily manage mobility and MS symptoms with any of the following devices:
The Care and the Support You Need…and Deserve
Whether you are newly diagnosed, in the midst of treatment or coping with daily living with multiple sclerosis, know that you are not alone. Both local and national agencies and organizations host support groups and offer resources that are valuable for patients and their loved ones.
You can also lean on the professional and compassionate caregivers from Care Indeed. Support and care are essential as you cope with a multiple sclerosis diagnosis. Care Indeed professionals are highly trained to assist with mobility, hygiene, transportation and companionship regardless of your condition or disease. We offer local resources for our clients and their families to help you understand the level of care you need. In addition, our professional caregivers are available to help you with daily tasks to ease the transition when MS progresses.
Care Indeed is committed to providing you the support and in-home caregivers who understand your challenges and daily struggles at work and home. Learn more about how to get the support you need while living with Multiple Sclerosis today.
At Care Indeed, we believe that when our caregivers, our clients and our clients’ family members are facing challenges, information and education are absolutely vital. That is why our Care Blog is focused on providing the knowledge needed to understand the ins and outs of common diseases, care techniques and even training opportunities.
We want to be able to support those who need help with day-to-day tasks with interesting tidbits and advice that help to provide peace of mind, know-how and an entertaining read. As you read through each one of our blogs, know that the support you need is just a click away. Whether an individual just wants a friendly face to catch up with over a cup of tea, or they need some more support due to a health diagnosis, our professionals are available 24/7.