Multiple Sclerosis: Improving Daily Life

November 19, 2018

Multiple Sclerosis, commonly known as MS, occurs when the substance myelin is mistaken for a foreign body and the immune system fights it off. Myelin helps to protect the nerve fibres in the central nervous system and when it’s attacked by the immune system it’s stripped from the nerve fibres and leaves scars known as lesions or plaques. Due to the damage it can slow down the messages travelling along the nerve fibres, which can cause an increase in disability.

MS symptoms can be different for everyone because the central nervous system links everything your body does, so it depends on which part of the nervous system has been affected.

It is estimated that 100,000 people have been diagnosed with MS in the UK and each year 5,000 people are newly diagnosed. The condition is most common in people in their 40s and 50s and affects three times as many women as men.

There is currently no cure for MS, but we’ve asked some MS patients on their top tips and advice on how to deal with MS in everyday life.

 

Meet the Bloggers

We’ve worked with Caroline Craven from Girl with MS who has given us her top tips on balance. Caroline is a life coach and motivational speaker who is living with MS – here’s what she said:

“I think giving some tips on helping with balance will be useful, as it is really useful for me…

When I’m feeling wobbly and my legs might falter, I do the following: 

  1. Find a focal point to help steady my gaze
  2. Gently place my tongue on the roof of my mouth, pressing more firmly to help find balance
  3. I feel a lot more stable with two feet on the ground, so it’s okay to linger on two feet for a while and walk slowly – stroll if possible

Those three tips can really help! Remember, move slowly, be aware of your surroundings, and be kind to yourself!”

 

Heather and Dizzy@dizzythedonkey

 

MS Society Support Volunteer, Heather, has a dedicated blog to document her adventures and help her to express her feelings. We reached out to Heather for some advice and Heather was kind enough to share her thoughts with us…

“Having MS doesn't mean that you have to give up on your dreams, it just means you may have to take a slightly different route to achieving them.” We couldn’t agree more, Heather!

“Research has shown that up to 96% of people with MS suffer from fatigue and it can be one of the most debilitating symptoms. Although there isn't much out there to completely get rid of the sleepiness, there are ways of helping to combat it. Here are my go-to steps: 

  1. Make sure to get plenty of sleep
  2. Prioritise activities
  3. Learn what part of the day you have the most energy to carry out tasks in
  4. Listen to your body. If your body needs a rest, try to find a quiet place to relax (even if it’s only for a couple of minutes)
  5. Have power naps throughout the day
  6. Take time to relax. Stress can cause added fatigue, so by taking short self-care sessions you are helping to look after your body”.

 

Top Tips

After speaking to the bloggers, we’ve put together our top tips too…

  1. It’s common to experience a little numbness in the body, so if this occurs try cooling the numb body part with ice or cold water. This will help to ease the tingling and numbness.
  2. If you find yourself having problems with remembering things, there’s no shame in keeping notes or using your phone to set reminders. Adding in gentle exercise to your daily routine also helps with memory and focus.
  3. Are you constantly too hot or too cold? Temporary relief can come in the form of drinking hot or cold drinks to reduce or increase your temperature. Products such as neck wraps, heat pads, and bandanas can all come in handy in restoring your body temperature to what you’re comfortable with.

If you’ve been diagnosed with MS or know someone that has, don’t hesitate in contacting us or the bloggers above for further advice and information.





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