5 Tips for Living with Multiple Sclerosis

It’s always difficult to find out you have a chronic disease like multiple sclerosis. Unfortunately, it’s not a curable disease, but new treatments for M.S. are being developed all the time and existing medications can help prevent progression of this sometimes unpredictable disease of the central nervous system.

The good news? If you have multiple sclerosis, there are ways to tackle the challenges of living with this disease. Simple lifestyle changes can make a difference in how you deal with the daily problems people experience with multiple sclerosis. Here are some tips for living life fully with a diagnosis of M.S.

1. Having multiple sclerosis is stressful because the symptoms are so unpredictable. You may feel relatively normal one day and have a relapse the next that makes it hard to get around. It’s important to reduce your stress level as much as possible. Hiring a home helper or someone to assist with chores can help lift some of the daily burdens of home life. Other ways to deal with stress are enrolling in yoga classes or signing up for massage therapy or relaxation therapy. Joining a local support group or an online multiple sclerosis forum to share your feelings can also be therapeutic. You’re never alone when you have M.S.

2. Exercise helps to increase mobility and reduce stress levels, but it’s important to do it safely. Before beginning an exercise program, consult with a physical therapist. They can work out a safe training program that’s compatible with your individual needs. Physical therapists are trained to work with people who have mobility issues and can help maximize and preserve the function you have. A regular exercise program also helps reduce the overwhelming sense of fatigue most people with multiple sclerosis deal with.

3. Physical therapy has other positive benefits if you suffer with multiple sclerosis. A good physical therapy program can help you deal with spasticity problems, weakness and difficulties with balance and coordination. Some forms of exercise such as Tai Chi may be especially helpful if you have problems with balance and flexibility. Other types of exercise that work for many people with M.S. are water aerobics, yoga and Pilates. A physical therapist can help you decide which is best for you.

4. Practice a healthy lifestyle. If you have multiple sclerosis, it’s important to make healthy food choices and get a minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Sleeping soundly and eating a balanced diet helps to reduce M.S. fatigue. Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune inflammatory disease. Although there’s no proof that eating a particular diet helps the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, avoiding foods that increase inflammation in the body such as fast food and processed foods that are high in unhealthy fats and sugar may help.

5. Take your medications. Some multiple sclerosis drugs help to slow down the appearance of new M.S. lesions in the brain and spinal cord. If your doctor recommended one of these for you, take it as prescribed. Keep a daily symptom diary to show your doctor at your regular appointments. This will help both of you see how well your medications are working.

Living with multiple sclerosis has its own unique set of challenges, but with a little help from your doctor and physical therapist, you can meet these challenges and live a fulfilling life with multiple sclerosis.

 


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