Multiple Sclerosis, Fitness and You

Disclaimer: I am not in any way involved with any of the programs mentioned nor do I sell, benefit financially or in any other way from talking about my experience with them.

So, yes, I am an MS patient and I went through an extreme workout program with amazing results. So can you, no matter what your fitness level is.

I strongly believe that a fitness program that works on all aspects of your fitness (such as strength, balance, flexibility, co-ordination, breathing and cardio) can only be beneficial for you. No matter if you are someone with an impairment or if you are very fit to start with. The added help with nutrition and explanations about it to make it a really complete program is just the sugar on top. Specially since it directly works against the most frustrating aspects an MS patient has to deal with.

Who told MS patients they are not supposed to work out anyway? Who says you can’t do an extreme program? There are 70 year old people doing P90X, people that were over 300 pounds. Obviously people come in all shapes and sizes and with all different kind of conditions. So what makes it hard for an MS patient to try to exercise?

  • Lack of Energy and MS fatigue
  • general muscle weakness
  • stress levels can trigger a relapse
  • specific impairments in movements
  • balance problems
  • overheating

Guess what, all of those I was struggling with myself. The worst being balance, weakness in my arms and legs and MS fatigue and chronic pain in my bladder. Now lets take a look at the average guy interested in fitness:

  • they are quite often complaining about low energy and lack thereof
  • a lot of people ask for help with specific problems such as knee and back issues, having to recover from an accident or operation, have conditions such as IBS or other hard to cure illnesses.
  • Lots of people have to stick to specific diets or are allergic to certain foods
  • People are notoriously inflexible and even quite fit people hardly ever focus on flexibility or do Yoga

Now lets compare: Both groups will have to modify and be careful about their workouts and nutrition. An MS patient has to be specifically careful to not overdo any kind of exercise to not trigger a relapse due to stress. That is the most important difference between the two groups and both are facing the task to adjust any kind of program accordingly.

People with herniated discs, general back problems, knee problems, shoulder problems, all of them have to modify their exercise routine accordingly, much like MS patients.

Which brings me back to my initial point: You can use any program even something extreme and adjust it to your level and needs. Specially with a program which is very complete and incorporates every single aspect that is helpful for an MS patient. Moderation and listening to your body is the key. If you are in doubt ask your specialist for help and modifications.

Start slow and very carefully. I started with 1kg and 1.5kg weights. Start where you have to and rather too light then too extreme. You can take all the time in the world to work up from there. No one is pushing you and you know what’s comfortable for you and what feels ok. Forget about goals other’s have or what you think the goal of a specific program is. You set your own goals, for yourself.

Now lets talk about these specific issues again and how I tried to tackle them.

Lack of Energy and MS fatigue

I had a huge struggle with these. I felt exhausted, tired, depressed and unmotivated. On top it felt likemy head was stuffed with cotton. My eating habits were really bad and most probably directly linked to the things mentioned before. I didn’t feel like getting up a few minutes earlier to fix breakfast, specially not since I wasn’t hungry. I ate lunch and maybe something for dinner, that was pretty much it. No wonder that on top of my fatigue I also was lacking the base energy to do the simplest tasks because my eating was severely lacking and thus my whole system was slowed down. Not only did I not eat enough I was also lacking a lot of the important nutrients. I wasn’t aware of all of this until I read the nutrition guide that came with one of the programs I bought.

Changing my eating habits and switching to eating 5 times per day was the most important factor to improve my Energy.

General muscle weakness

I had to ask my boyfriend more often then not to open bottles and cans for me. Walking up stairs was very taxing and the thought of playing tennis was demotivating because I didn’t want to risk of feeling how much I lost control over my body.Yet, I started to do muscle training according to the plan. Working all muscles groups alternating throughout the week. First with very light weights but it didn’t take long until we had to go buy some new dumbbells. And I will have to do it again once I am done with my current cardio program.

Stress levels can trigger a relapse

This is a tough one and specially for MS patients the most important one. Moderate yourself and start really, really slow – rather do too little then too much. I didn’t know how far I could go or if I could do it at all when I started. You know your body best – listen to it, carefully.

Additionally, try to reduces all additional stress as much as you can. A relaxed environment is really helpful. Make your workouts and health the most important part in your life (next to your family of course). Don’t plan your workouts around your everyday life and try to squeeze it in somewhere. Organize your day around your workouts and look at them as “me time”.

Specific impairments in movements

Modify, modify, modify. There is no real difference to someone who has knee issues or someone who has an impairment because of MS. Even if you are in a wheel-chair. You can still work on your upper body strength as Cammie very nicely demonstrates in her YouTube videos.

For example, I noticed my knee problems while starting to work out. I substituted exercises which seemed to aggravate the problems with others that seemed to work the same muscle areas but in a different way. I wasn’t able to do some of the exercises at all, so I just waited and worked on other aspects and strength until I felt ready enough to give it at least a try. When I started I did most of the push-ups on my knees and stopped whenever I felt I couldn’t go further.

I listened to my body and in turn I learned more about it then I did ever before. This dedication really pays off. I can’t remember when I had to switch to my knees for push-ups. A pull-up without a chair was something completely out of the question when I started (even with chair it was tough) and now I can do three unassisted pull-ups (with much struggling on the third one). I can only do unassisted ones in reverse chin-ups. Any other variations is still totally out of the question but who cares.:)

Balance problems

Yoga was the most important contributor to how my balance and flexibility improved. It was also the hardest to go through because it was really frustrating at first. However, the harder a workout seems to be the clearer it is that you lack in exact that area and the more you will benefit from trying to push through it. It’s with going through the hardest tasks that we come out with the most improvements.

Overheating

Even though I don’t have that much problems with heat (surprisingly enough), I am using a fan to blow on my during exercising. Working out in an environment that is comfortable for you is really important.

I am not bumping into the side of doorways anymore and I can walk down a stair without any problems or fear of losing my balance. My feet don’t drop any more while walking and I can open bottles and cans on my own again and I am probably fitter then your average “healthy” person out there.

Just know, if I can, you can. If you are someone with an illness or impairment you just really need to take it slow and work your way up very carefully. But it’s possible. I know it is. Honestly, right now I have to look at my MRIs showing my old lesions and pictures from the hospital and also pull out my lumbar puncture results to make sure the diagnosis was not just a freak accident (even though the tri-weekly injections remind me mercilessly).

This will be the first upcoming MRI test where I go because it is time to check and not because I have symptoms that make it necessary to take one.

Completeness of Ayurvedic Treatments in Curing Diseases and Ailments of the Body

If anyone asks what is the use of Ayurveda, you can say that it is an ancient medical treatment culture that exists here from the olden days. It has no side effects since all the medicines used are natural herbs, fruits, and vegetables. Unlike allopathic medicines used in western medicines, there are no side effects in Ayurvedic medicine. You can continue to have Ayurvedic medicines for a long time. This is not the case with the western medicine where you see toxins build up after two weeks of use.

High qualifications of the Ayurvedic practitioners

Ayurvedic doctors are full-fledged doctors who study for five-and-a-half years medicine and surgery. They undergo internship and study the Ayurvedic parallels in medical treatment alongside the study of anatomy, physiology, internal medicine, surgery, psychiatry, toxicology, and more. The treatment deals with holistic healing or invoking the ability of the body to heal itself. This method of treating ailments gives us a better and more long-lasting cure. If you have any ailments you can get treated at the Ayurvedic Clinic. They have many Ayurvedic practitioners, so you can pick one who is most reputable to take treatment.

Panchakarma treatment in Ayurveda

One of the more famous treatments is the Panchakarma treatment. This means “four actions” and it concentrates on the removal of toxins and improving the lifestyle and nutrition levels. Here are the four steps discussed in detail.

Vamana: This is the vomiting therapy or induced emesis done to remove the congestions in the chest. It cleans the toxins collected in the body and purifies the gastrointestinal tract. This includes ailments such as chronic indigestion, bronchial asthma, skin disorders, and more.

Virechan: This purgation therapy aims to help purify the entire body. This treatment is most suited for those with pitta dosha. These ailments include gynecological disorders, skin ailments, headache, asthma, and so on.

Nasyam: Here the uptake of medicine is through the nasal passage as this is most suited for us. This helps remove accumulated kapha toxins from the head and neck. Here you send medicated oils and herbal juices through the nostrils of the patient. You can have Panchkarma Treatments from any recognized Ayurvedic practitioner. This treatment is effective for facial paralysis, insomnia, sinusitis, and more.

Vashti: This therapy uses the medicated enema to clean the toxins caused by vata in the colon. You can treat ailments such as digestive disorders, intestinal cleaning, asthma, IBS, sexual debility, skin ailments, and so on.

Use of other Panchkarma treatments

Other panchakarma therapies include Podikizhi, Abhyangam, Pizhichil, Elakizhi, Shiro Dhara, and navarakizhi, and more. It involves the use of fresh leaves, herbal oils, fruit juices, and medicated oil to produce relaxation and rejuvenation for the patient. You must do this in a proper manner to get the best effect. They also use massages to help burn superficial fat, improve blood circulation, and reduce obesity. You can even cure greying and thinning of hair by practices such as Shiro Dhara.

The Ayurvedic processes have undergone continuous evaluation and improvement over time. Due to the continuous learning and the change in the lifestyle of the people, this becomes inevitable and keeps the technology up to date all the time.

The Need For Women With MS To Regain Self Esteem

Women with MS face unique challenges as they strive to live complete, fulfilling lives that include ordinary tasks the rest of us often take for granted. Not only are the symptoms of MS in women physically punishing, MS disease tends to have a detrimental effect on psychological health and emotions, as well.

But the two types of pain from symptoms of MS in women – both physical and mental – aren’t unrelated. In fact, in order to enjoy good mental health, the body first needs to be in the best shape it can be. And the most significant factor when it comes to physical health is posture. This is true for anyone but particularly so in regards to women with MS.

The MS – Posture Connection

What does correct posture do for you? For one thing, it prevents fatigue. It takes much more energy to perform any type of task or exercise when the head is not properly aligned with the shoulders. Correct posture also provides balance which is necessary to move with ease.

For women with MS, the communication between the brain and nerve endings in the muscles and spinal cord is deficient. This often causes problems with posture, which in turn negatively affects balance and movement.

A further complication of improper posture and imbalance is that it generally makes a woman with MS less mobile and more sedentary which leads to stiff and weak muscles. And weakened muscles are associated with pain, which makes it even more difficult to get up and move around. It’s a vicious cycle that negatively affects the self esteem of any woman living with multiple sclerosis.

Making Changes

Over time, women with MS get used to moving, sitting, or standing in a particular way, which is usually not with proper posture. The longer this pattern continues, the harder it is to change these established patterns and replace with them with good postural habits.

In order to make a lasting change, it’s going to require more than just telling someone they need to think about standing or sitting straight at all times. Help in the form of evidence based apparel, which makes a connection with nerve endings and effortlessly promotes proper posture, can be a vital part of effective MS disease therapy. Not only does proper posture make someone with MS feel better, it makes them look better.

In turn, this therapy is needed to promote an enhanced sense of self-esteem. Women with MS have a difficult time feeling good when they don’t look good. And they can’t get the proper amount of exercise if their bodies are out of balance and movement is difficult. By working first on maintaining neutral anatomy (correct posture), balance, ease of movement, and self esteem are sure to follow.

Women with MS are taxed with not only physical disabilities, but mental trials and tribulations as well due to their perceived negative body image. Proper posture is where it all starts when it comes to feeling and looking better while living with the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

Multiple Sclerosis – Dizziness – One of the Classic Symptoms of MS

While dizziness is often considered to be one of the first symptoms of MS there is a lot of confusion when it comes to differentiating between the term dizziness and vertigo. The big problem here is that people tend to describe the feelings they have in a very subjective way and the feelings that one person is describing under these generic thoughts may not be the same as another person and in fact may not relate to dizziness in multiple sclerosis.

Indications

While dizziness in MS is definitely not the only symptom it is considered to be one of the most common symptoms and the most frequently recurring. As multiple sclerosis is the demyelinating of the tissue that surrounds and protects the brain and spinal cord the symptoms that accompany it tend alternate between exacerbations and remissions, the severity of the exacerbations also tends to vary with each episode.

While only some 5% of all patients show signs of dizziness in the early stage of diagnosis, more than 50% of all MS patients will complain of the feelings of dizziness and vertigo at some point during the disease. At the same time approximately 10% of patients experience hearing loss further exacerbating problems such as vertigo and overall feelings of dizziness.

In the patient with multiple sclerosis, dizziness is described as a feeling of lightheadedness or of feeling faint, whereas vertigo is more of a feeling that the ground is spinning or rushing up to meet you. Dizziness in multiple sclerosis is fairly common where vertigo is relatively rare in patients with MS, according to one particular study less than 20% of all MS patients suffer from vertigo.

Treatments

There are several different ways to approach treating dizziness in multiple sclerosis patients, some of which involves the use of different medications. The most common medication prescribed is Dramamine (Meclizine) the same medication given to those who suffer from motion sickness. Others like Scopoderm (a scopolamine or hyoscine) are generally administered in the form of a patch that is placed behind the ear. For those suffering with extreme levels of multiple sclerosis dizziness a course of corticosteroids may be recommended.

The most popular non drug treatment for multiple sclerosis dizziness is VRT or Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy in which the therapist works with the patient to retrain the way their brain interprets and processes the information that it receives from the vestibular system along with the sight proprioception so that the brain no is no longer affected. This particular treatment is often successful enough to enable the patient to no longer need any medical intervention to overcome their dizziness once and for all.