Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system. Symptoms range from mild, such as numbness in the limbs, to severe, such as paralysis or loss of vision. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS are unpredictable and vary from person to person.
MS is a disease that affects the brain and spinal cord resulting in a loss of muscle control. With multiple sclerosis, the nerves of brain and spinal cord are damaged by your own immune system.
Some common early symptoms of the disorder that you may experience include:
- Loss of balance
- Weakness in one or more limbs
- Blurred or double vision
Once you have a diagnosis of MS, you will normally see a physiatrist in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. The physiatrist will work with your neurologist to treat the problems or symptoms related to MS that impair your independence and quality of life.
At UAMS, your physiatrist will perform an evaluation and also get a thorough history from you. From this, your physiatrist can determine what problems you are having from MS such as:
- Balance problems
Based on your symptoms, your doctor will recommend an individualized treatment plan for you. One option could be physical therapy to improve weakness or balance problems. Occupational therapy may be helpful to develop skills for independence in self-care, household activities, community and work activities. For treatment of spasticity, our staff may suggest oral medications.
If you are experiencing pain associated with your MS, you may be prescribed medication to treat nerve pain. If the pain is due to muscle or joint problems, we look for the source, such as overuse of muscles due to weakness. Through treatment, we work to remove the source of the pain and use physical therapy to treat the symptoms.