Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system that interferes with the brain's ability to send and receive messages.
It's called "Multiple" because more than one area of the brain and/or spinal cord is affected.
It's called "Sclerosis" because MS causes tissue to become hardened ("sclerosed").
Exercise alone cannot alter MS, but it can improve overall health and it may prevent complications from disuse or inactivity. The long-term benefits of exercise on the heart, lungs, bones, nerves, and muscles apply to people with MS just as much as they do to the general population.
Mobility Impairment Problems with walking (gait), and getting around independently are a major consideration among people with multiple sclerosis (MS). People with MS find they must limit mobile exercising due to spasticity, impaired balance and weakness which can lead to atrophy. Proper stretching exercises for the legs are effective strategies to regain strength in leg muscles. Another option is to use walking poles to assist with balance and muscle weakness while walking.
Wheelchair Exercises Even patients who use wheelchairs can-and should-exercise as often as possible. Patients who have lost the use of their legs can instead concentrate on their arms and upper torso. Stretching exercises are particularly recommended for these patients because sitting in a wheelchair for long periods of time can trigger problems such as stiffness and poor circulation. Exercises involving range of motion, stretching, strengthening and aerobics are all important for someone who is not ambulatory.
Range of Motion The area through which a joint may normally be freely and painlessly moved, the range of flexion and extension of a joint.
Range-of-Motion Stretching Exercises Multidirectional movements held for various lengths of time, used in conjunction with stretching exercises. These special exercises are important in people with multiple sclerosis to maintain mobility and strength.
A great deal of ill health is directly related to lack of physical activity. You can lose muscle mass, yet still regain strength. You can lose aerobic capacity, yet regain heart fitness. If you lose range of motion in your joints for an extended period of time~a condition that can be caused by spasticity~ may be impossible to regain full movement and range of motion without some form of intervention.
For MSers, stretching is a simple and all-natural therapy for reduced range of motion and spasticity caused by MS. Both symptoms can lead to limited mobility, pain and reduce enjoyment of life.
Flexibility exercises can help prevent shrinkage or shortening of muscles and can help reduce the severity of spasticity symptoms. Stretching should be performed daily on parts of the body that are most effected by spasticity. You don't need to stretch for long periods of time usually one to three repetitions of 15-30 seconds. Ideally three times per day is sufficient.
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