What is rehabilitation for MS?

Rehabilitation is a process that can help you maintain or improve your ability to function with MS and meet your full potential. Rehabilitation programs usually include a range of activities and services tailored to your individual needs. Your rehabilitation program may involve physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, cognitive rehabilitation, or vocational rehabilitation.

Physical therapy (PT) helps people with MS improve or maintain their ability to function physically. PT may include activities that work on your strength, endurance, or flexibility. PT is usually given by a physical therapist (also called a physiotherapist). Your physical therapist may also teach you how to exercise safely on your own and how to avoid falls and other accidents. He or she may also recommend assistive devices (such as braces or wheelchairs) and show you how to use them.

Occupational therapy (OT) helps people with MS improve or maintain their ability to do everyday activities such as dressing, cooking, going to the bathroom, or driving. OT is given by an occupational therapist, who may also recommend assistive devices and evaluate your work or home to make your daily activities safer and easier.

Speech therapy helps those who are having difficulty speaking or swallowing. A professional called a speech/language pathologist provides speech therapy. The speech/language pathologist can recommend exercises, diet changes, or devices to make speaking or swallowing easier.

Cognitive rehabilitation may be provided by neuropsychologists (psychologists who study the relationship between the brain and behaviour), occupational therapists, or speech/language pathologists. It offers techniques to help you manage and compensate for problems with memory, thinking, and learning.

Vocational rehabilitation can help you learn to deal with physical and cognitive issues on the job. This type of rehabilitation can also assist you in identifying whether you need any job accommodations. A job accommodation is a modification to your job responsibilities, hours, or environment that allows you to continue doing your work when you have a disability. Vocational rehabilitation can also help you adjust your job description or retrain for a new career.

Other professionals may also be involved in MS rehabilitation, including:

  • urologists (who specialize in bladder problems)
  • gastroenterologists (who specialize in bowel problems)
  • psychologists (who specialize in mental health issues and may help you cope with emotional, cognitive, or sexual function issues)
  • nurses (who may coordinate your rehabilitation program or offer assistance with rehabilitation)

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2020. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/MS-Rehabilitation-Services

How can rehabilitation help you cope with MS?

The benefits of rehabilitation for people with MS are enormous. Rehabilitation can help improve many parts of your life that have been affected by MS. Here are some of the ways rehabilitation can help you:

Keep your independence. Rehabilitation can help you maintain or improve your ability to function at home and at work. This makes it easier to hold on to your independence.

Reduce your risk of accidents. By showing you safer ways to do your daily activities, techniques for preventing accidents, and ways to manage coordination issues, rehabilitation can help keep you safer.

Recover from relapses. Studies show that rehabilitation can help with relapse recovery for people with MS, and that more intense rehabilitation leads to a faster recovery.

Prevent physical complications of MS. By helping you maintain your physical function, including strength, endurance, and flexibility, rehabilitation can reduce your risk of physical complications from MS, such as pressure sores, falls, and joint stiffness.

Learn to use assistive devices. Assistive devices, such as braces, walkers, or canes, can help make it easier to do your daily activities. Rehabilitation will help you find out which devices you need and how to use them.

Manage your MS symptoms. Rehabilitation can help you cope with your MS symptoms, including:

  • fatigue
  • bladder and bowel problems
  • mobility problems
  • pain
  • difficulty swallowing
  • speech and communication problems
  • emotional and cognitive problems

Gain a sense of control. Rehabilitation can improve your ability to function, teach you to manage your symptoms, and give you the tools you need to help others help you. This all adds up to a greater sense of control over your MS.

Enjoy a better quality of life. By helping you stay active in your career and home life, rehabilitation can help improve your overall quality of life.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2020. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/MS-Rehabilitation-Services

Can rehabilitation help with my MS anytime?

When is the best time for rehabilitation? When it comes to MS, the answer is "anytime". Rehabilitation can have benefits for people at all stages of MS. The role of rehabilitation depends on how MS is affecting your ability to function.

Rehabilitation may be restorative or preventive (also called maintenance). Restorative rehabilitation aims to regain lost function. The goal of preventive rehabilitation is to help maintain a person's existing level of function. Both types can be useful for people with MS, and both may be used at the same time.

For people with mild symptoms or those without noticeable symptoms, the role of rehabilitation is preventive. At this stage, rehabilitation helps preserve your ability to function and build healthy habits that will serve you well if your symptoms worsen.

If you have more severe symptoms that decrease your ability to function, you may need both restorative and preventive rehabilitation. Restorative rehabilitation will be used to improve your function in areas that are damaged, and strengthen other less affected areas to help compensate for the damaged areas. Restorative rehabilitation may be especially useful in helping you recover after a relapse. There is also a role for preventive rehabilitation to help you maintain your current level of function and safety.

Wondering if it might be time for a rehabilitation program? Talk to your doctor or MS nurse about having a rehabilitation assessment. Your doctor will consider your individual needs and offer recommendations about which rehabilitation services may benefit you.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2020. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/MS-Rehabilitation-Services

Finding the rehabilitation you need to help with your MS

Interested in rehabilitation but not sure where to start? The first step in finding the rehabilitation you need is to have a rehabilitation assessment (also called an evaluation). Your doctor or MS nurse may perform the assessment or may refer you to the appropriate rehabilitation professionals, a rehabilitation clinic, or MS centre for the assessment. The assessment will examine:

  • your cognitive skills
  • your physical abilities
  • your ability to function at work and home
  • your goals and concerns

The assessment will identify areas for improvement and recommend rehabilitation services that may be of use to you, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, cognitive rehabilitation, and vocational rehabilitation. For more information on these services and how they can help, see "What is rehabilitation?"

The assessing clinic or professional can also refer you to the professionals who provide these services and may be able to give you information about how to get reimbursed for the cost of treatments and assistive devices.

Some cities offer MS clinics or MS centres that provide all of the rehabilitation services you need in one convenient location, or services that coordinate your access to rehabilitation services. For more information, contact your doctor or your local chapter of the MS society.

If you think you might benefit from a rehabilitation program, speak to your doctor or MS nurse to get things started!

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2020. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/MS-Rehabilitation-Services