Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurologic disorder that affects the central nervous system (CNS). Although MS is a long-term and serious condition, many people live full, successful, and satisfying lives with the disorder. Most people with MS have a normal or near-normal life span. Many people with MS do not become severely physically disabled.
An unpredictable disease of the central nervous system, multiple sclerosis (MS) can range from relatively benign to somewhat disabling to devastating, as communication between the brain and other parts of the body is disrupted. Many investigators believe MS to be an autoimmune disease -- one in which the body, through its immune system, launches a defensive attack against its own tissues. In the case of MS, it is the nerve-insulating myelin that comes under assault. Such assaults may be linked to an unknown environmental trigger. Most people experience their first symptoms of MS between the ages of 20 and 40.
If you have multiple sclerosis (MS), exercise can help retain flexibility and balance, promote cardiovascular fitness and a sense of well-being, and prevent complications from inactivity. Exercise also helps regulate appetite, bowel movements and sleep patterns.
Jogging, walking and aerobic exercises are helpful when strength and coordination are not affected. Stationary bicycle riding may be more practical if walking or balance is impaired. Swimming is helpful for stretching and cardiovascular fitness. Yoga and Tai Chi are most useful for stretching and promoting a sense of well-being. Your physical and occupational therapists will assist you in selecting the best exercise program for you to follow.
Although stress cannot be totally eliminated from our lives, we can learn to manage it more effectively. Any reduction in stress will be associated with an improved sense of well-being and increased energy. A psychologist or social worker may be helpful in developing a stress management program that is tailored to your needs. The following are some useful stress reduction techniques:
• Identify causes of stress in your life and share your thoughts and feelings.
• Simplify your responsibilities by setting priorities.
• Try relaxation and meditation exercises.
• Manage your time and conserve your energy.
• Ask for help when needed.
• Set both short-term and life goals for yourself.
• Keep as active as possible both physically and mentally.
• Recognize the things that you cannot change and don't waste your time trying.
• Make time for fun activities and maintain your sense of humor.
Good nutrition maximizes your energy, general sense of well being.