Is Walking Good For MS Patients?

MS or multiple sclerosis is a disorder of nerve disease that damages its protective layer called myelin sheath. It disrupts the flow of nerve impulses from the brain and spinal cord to the other parts of the body. It relapses back again and again. Its common symptoms include numbness, muscle spasticity, visual disturbances, and loss of balance, improper coordination, and many more. Most patients of MS feel difficulty in walking and need assistance while walking. It creates a problem with walking and walking as an exercise can improve the condition.

Is Walking Good For MS Patients?

Multiple sclerosis or MS is an autoimmune disease characterized by damage of the protective layer (myelin sheath) of the nerve fibers of the brain and spinal cord. In this condition, the immune system of the body considers healthy nerve tissues as foreign intruders and destroys them. This causes an improper or faulty flow of impulses or signals from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body. This results in symptoms like numbness, tingling, burning sensation, weakness and many more according to the affected area. It leads to problems related to walking. This is called ambulation. MS affects the gait of a person that means the manner or the pattern of his walking posture. Many research studies state that nearly 50% of people with MS develop difficulties in walking within 15 years of the diagnosis of MS. It is relapsing and remitting in nature.

Causes Of Gait Problems

MS results in problems related to gait. The person is unable to walk properly and maintain balance while walking. There are many reasons for this.

Fatigue– MS leads to general fatigue in the body that impairs one’s ability to walk for a long time and his strength. This results in the unsteady gait and reduces one’s walking endurance.

Damage To Nerve Fibers In Their Route– Due to demyelination of the nerve fibers, the nerve pathways are damaged. This may affect the coordination of muscles while moving. This result in weakness, disturbances in balances, numbness, and loss of muscle tone. This increases problems related to walking.

Visual Problems– MS causes visual disturbances that include blurred vision, double vision, or loss of vision. This leads to cognitive problems in the patient and he is unable to make the right decisions regarding distance and surrounding areas leading to frequent incidences of falling down. The affected person develops a fear of falling and avoids walking that may result in social isolation.

Difficulty in walking leads to more fatigue in the legs. This increases the problem. It can b overcome with physical therapy, exercises and assistive walking devices that help in maintaining body posture while walking. Untreated cases of walking problems may make the condition more worse resulting in more emotional distress, disabilities, injuries, fatigue, and social isolation.

Walking with assistive walking devices or walking on a treadmill will improve the ambulation and one’s gait. It helps to reduce the weakness of the muscles. It also helps in regaining the strength of muscles and one’s stamina to walk and move.

According to many research studies, treadmill walking is one of the best exercises in patients of MS to improve ambulation. It has a lot of beneficial effects on the extremities as it contributes to regaining its normal function. However, it is not known that what amount of walking has these beneficial effects. Walking increases the reaction time and improves the strength of the muscles. it also improves one’s ability to react to stimuli.

The walking exercises can be light, moderate or vigorous even on a treadmill. In many research studies, these exercises are when compared to quiet rest, walking exercises have more benefits than rest. Thus, walking is good for MS.

Conclusion

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks its own nerve fibers considering them as invaders. It leads to the problems related to walking, body balance and coordination while moving. Walking is the best exercises either done normally with assistive walking devices or on the treadmill are good for MS.

References

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