8 shoking Tips for Coping With MS Symptoms

 

MS Problems Have Solutions

Multiple sclerosis (MS) damages nerve fibers and myelin (the protective material around nerve fibers) in the brain and spinal cord. Depending on where the damage occurs, MS may cause a wide variety of symptoms. But however MS affects you, there are ways to make your life more enjoyable and rewarding.

1. Fatigue

Four out of five people with MS grapple with fatigue. If this is an issue for you, an occupational or physical therapist can show you energy-saving ways to do everyday activities. Prioritize your to-do list and tackle essential tasks when you’re most energetic. Be realistic about how much you take on and how willing you are to accept help from others.

2. Balance Problems

Feeling off-balance or dizzy is a common symptom of MS. Regular use of handrails and a cane, brace, or walker can prevent many falls. Discuss the problem with your health care team, as well. Possible treatments include physical therapy exercises and motion sickness or nausea medications.

3. Muscle Stiffness

Spasticity—involuntary muscle stiffness or spasms—is a challenging symptom of MS, but you can manage it. Avoid triggers, such as cold temperatures and tight clothing and shoes. Get a massage, if your doctor approves. Ask your physical therapist about stretching exercises. Occupational therapy, medication, and braces or splints may be helpful, as well.

4. Walking Problems

MS-related fatigue, balance problems, foot numbness, and muscle stiffness or weakness can make walking a challenge. But that doesn’t mean you’re stuck at home. Assistive devices—from canes and walkers to scooters and wheelchairs—can keep you mobile. Other treatments include physical therapy and the medication Ampyra, which improves walking speed.

5. Pain

MS can cause different types of pain, depending on whether it’s rooted in nerve, muscle, or movement problems. Work with your doctor to find the best treatment approach for you. Newer non-narcotic prescription pain medications can give you relief without risks of dependency. Ask whether hot or cold packs and massage are recommended. Explore different methods of managing pain, such as breathing exercises, meditation, hypnosis, and biofeedback.

6. Bladder Problems

At least 80% of people with MS experience bladder problems, such as frequent urination, sudden urges to go, and urine leaks. Establish a routine of urinating every two to four hours, and plan to drink fluids an hour or two before these bathroom breaks. Limit your intake of caffeine and alcohol. Ask your doctor about medication.

7. Constipation

People with MS often deal with constipation. Be sure to drink enough fluids—at least six to eight glasses a day. Eat fiber-rich foods, such as whole grain breads and cereals and fresh fruits and vegetables. Get regular exercise, which helps keep your bowels moving. Use a stool softener, if your doctor recommends it.

8. Memory Problems

Memory problems affect up to 60% of people with MS. Use memory joggers—such as to-do lists, reminder notes, a day planner, and the alarm on your phone—to compensate. Repeat and verify things you’ve just heard to help retain them. A neuropsychologist may recommend more specific exercises to help rebuild memory skills.

 

 

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