Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is thought to be an immune-mediated disorder that attacks the linings of the nerves cells (myelin sheath) in the brain and spinal cord, impacting the ability of the central nervous system to communicate with the rest of the body.
This disruption can result in a wide array of symptoms; more common ones include sensory changes such as numbness or tingling, muscle weakness or spasms, blurred vision, difficulties with balance or coordination, changes in bowel or bladder function, depression, pain, and fatigue. These symptoms may present very differently from person to person, depending on the type of MS an individual has been diagnosed with. Although MS can affect anybody, it is most commonly diagnosed in adults aged 20-49, and affects women three times more than men.
MS can be diagnosed by a doctor after completion of a neurological exam as well as other tests such as imaging (MRI), evoked potentials (looking at how well your nerves are talking to your muscles) and lumbar punctures. There are various types of MS, these include clinically isolated syndrome (a single episode of neurological symptoms suggestive of MS), relapsing remitting MS, secondary progressive MS and primary progressive MS.
Individuals with MS could benefit from being involved with a MS clinic. Living a healthy active lifestyle and participating in rehabilitation exercises with a multidisciplinary team who looks at all facets of life such as sleep, stress reduction, pacing activities, exercise and mood is key. Our brains and nervous systems are neuroplastic, meaning they are continually changing and evolving. Through rehabilitation, we can ensure we are challenging the nervous system in a way for it to positively change, helping you learn to function better with MS.