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Best Exercises/Activities For Neuromyelitis Optica

Patient with neuromyelitis optica suffers from weakness and paralysis of muscles. Thus, the patient should perform various activities and exercises to improve muscle tone and strength.

Best Exercises/Activities For Neuromyelitis Optica

The severity of neuromyelitis optica varies with patients, while some patients have severe forms of this condition while others are marginally affected. The exercise and daily activities vary in these patients. Although the patient may have limited activity it is advised to incorporate exercise and other activities in daily life.

The patient should perform 2-3 hours of moderate-intensity activities per week with each activity of 10-15 minutes. It is known that regular exercise improves muscle strength and tone.

Every activity is not for everyone. The patient should decide the capacity to perform exercise depending upon the severity of symptoms. It is to be noted that exercise should be done under the guidance of an expert physiotherapist.

Following are some of the activities that can improve the quality of life in patients with neuromyelitis optica:

The Activity Of Moderate-Intensity: Moderate-intensity activity increases blood circulation and makes you active. This includes dancing, cycling, swimming, and brisk walking2. Walking daily also helps improve muscle tone. You may also park your car at a distance from your home so that you may have a walk to your home.

Activities Of Vigorous-Intensity: Not all people suffering from neuromyelitis optica can perform rigorous activities as this may worsen the symptoms. The patient should ask their physiotherapist regarding the exercises and activities best suitable for them. Climbing stairs frequently, and doing strenuous routine works improves muscle strength. However, this may lead to an increased heartbeat.

Strengthening Activities: Strengthening activities increase muscle strength and help improve stiffness. Routine activities that strengthen the muscles include lifting water bucket and carrying groceries.

Balancing Activities: Various activities helps improve the balance and coordination of patient suffering from neuromyelitis optica. Tai chi and yoga are performed to improve balance. Further, this help improves mental status that helps reduce anxiety and depression that comes along with the disease.

Avoid Sedentary Lifestyle: Sedentary lifestyle such as sitting a long-time during work or playing games for a long time increases stiffness in muscles. The patient should take regular breaks from work and should manage the time for watching TV and playing computer games.

Reasons For Exercise In Neuromyelitis Optica

Neuromyelitis optica is a disorder of the nervous system. The condition is characterized by damage to optic nerves and the nerves of the spinal cord. During the disease, the muscles of the patients become weak and the patients have difficulty in performing the routine activities. Following are some of the advantages of performing the exercise in neuromyelitis optica:

Improves Balance: Because of neuromyelitis optica the patient will not able to maintain balance as the damage to the spinal cord nerve may have weakened the muscles. Exercise helps to provide adequate strength to muscles1.

Ease In Performing Routine Activities: As exercise helps in toning the muscles, patent feels comfortable in performing routine activities.

Healthy Weight: People with neuromyelitis optica with increased weight or obesity have more difficulty in walking and maintaining balance. Exercise improves joint stiffness and facilitates movement.

Increases Energy: Weakness in muscles can be improved with increased generation of energy. Improved blood circulation through exercise improved energy.

Rehabilitation Of Neuromyelitis Optica

Various rehabilitation centers for the patients of neuromyelitis optica have been set up to maximize and accelerate the functional recovery of patients3. Fatigue, spasticity, muscle weakness and poor bladder control are managed at rehabilitation centers. Various energy-efficient strategies and progressive resistance exercises are done to improve the condition of patients suffering from neuromyelitis optica.


Various activities are recommended for the patients of neuromyelitis optica. These activities depend upon the severity of the condition. The patient may perform the activity of moderate and vigorous-intensity, strengthening and balancing activities and should avoid a sedentary lifestyle.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 12, 2019

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