Multiple Sclerosis: Early Intervention, Treatment and Causes
How Does Neurospace Help in MS?
Our therapists at Neurospace are trained to help people with neurological conditions like multiple sclerosis (MS).
Multiple Sclerosis is the most common acquired neurological disease in young adults, with most people being diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40. MS is a condition of the central nervous system that interferes with nerve impulses in the brain, the optic nerve and the spinal cord.
At Neurospace, we focus on helping people with complex problems – and your brain is the most complex of all, controlling the rest of your body. We assess you carefully then make recommendations for tailored exercises, walking aids if you need them, and pain and fatigue management strategies.
We have also started a new program for people in the early stages of MS, called MS Get a Head Start. It is an innovative, 6-week high intensity exercise and education program to empower self-management. The program is designed to maximise your understanding of how MS can be positively influenced by exercise and education.
You can make an appointment to see us at Neurospace to help you maintain your wellbeing and assist you with any difficulties you may be facing.
Living with MS
If you have MS, you may experience varied and unpredictable symptoms including problems with motor control, fatigue, neurological disturbances, incontinence, depression, cognitive difficulties, issues with temperature regulation and memory loss.
Types of MS
There are a few types of MS. Most people have relapsing-remitting MS. In a relapsing period, MS affects life significantly. Then comes a remitting period where the disease is in remission for a while. Eventually, for most people, the disease progresses steadily with fewer periods of remission. This is known as secondary-progressive MS.
The second main type is primary progressive MS. In these cases, there’s a steady progression of symptoms from the start without any periods of remission. Another type is progressive-relapsing MS.
Early Intervention for MS
Early intervention refers to providing specialist help and support in the early stages of a disease or disability.
Even in the early stages of MS, damage occurring in the brain and spinal cord can affect your cognition, emotional wellbeing, quality of life, day-to-day activities and ability to work. Early intervention is vital (both with a disease-modifying therapies and lifestyle changes) to preserve brain tissue and maximise lifelong brain health. The goal is to reduce the impact of debilitating symptoms and maximise the opportunities for independence.
Early intervention for MS can include:
- Support from neurological physiotherapists to address strength, balance and any reduced sensation.
- Helping you understand the neuro-protective effects of exercise on the central nervous systems, with specific exercises that have the potential to slow the progressive disease down
- Help to manage appointments and social engagements and remaining connected to family and friends
- Domestic help with household tasks
- Psychological and emotional support to help you adjust to living with a long-term medical condition
- Occupational therapy to overcome difficulties with everyday activities
- Help from Specialist Employment Support Services to help you continue working, including aides and other support to help you continue doing your job
Other Treatments for MS
There’s no known cure for MS but there are medical treatments to relieve symptoms, reduce the risk of relapses or slow the disease progression.
If you have relapsing-remitting MS, disease-modifying therapies (DMT) slow the frequency and severity of attacks to your central nervous system by modifying your immune system. Steroids can reduce the inflammation at the site of an MS attack while immunosuppressants may help if you have progressive MS.
Causes of MS
Frustratingly, we don’t yet understand what causes MS, though we suspect it’s a mix of genetic, environmental, immunologic and infectious factors. We know it’s an autoimmune disease where your body’s immune system attacks itself. This destroys myelin, the fatty substance that protects the nerves in your brain and spinal cord. When the myelin is damaged and the nerves are exposed, the messages your brain sends along the nerves get slowed or blocked.
MS is more common in people who are:
- Aged 20-50
- Female (women are three times more likely to develop MS than men)
- Closely related to someone with MS
- Caucasian of northern European ancestry (MS still occurs in most other ethnic groups including African Americans, Asians and Hispanics/Latinos but is more common in white people)
- Living in a temperate climate like southeastern Australia, Canada, northern USA, Europe or NZ
- Someone who has had certain viruses such as glandular fever
- Living with other autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes, thyroid issues or inflammatory bowel disease.
If you’re experiencing difficulties due to MS, please make an appointment to see us at Neurospace. And if you have MS and are feeling good, please make an appointment so we can help you maintain your wellbeing.