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Caring for Multiple Sclerosis with Physical Therapy

Multiple sclerosis had been known as being the most common inflammatory demyelinating disease of the Central Nervous System (CNS). It will be good to know that there is a team of practitioners that have experience with helping you with some of its risk factors. Clinically, MS is characterized by multiple and varying signs and symptoms and be unpredictable and fluctuating periods of remissions and exacerbations. The symptoms consisting of sensory losses with visual, temperature sensitivities and paresthesias will require specific medical attention. The symptoms consisting of motor dysfunction such as weakness in the extremities, difficulty with gait, coordination or balance can be helped by the education and skills of a physical therapist.

Physiotherapist With Patient In RehabilitationA physical therapy evaluation and treatment strategy will assist in specific exercises for the weakness that develops by using functional manual skills that stimulate the central nervous system at the time of the movement pattern. They will work with gait training to evaluate for any equipment you may need for comfort and safety. They have been trained in detailed vestibular rehabilitation for balance and coordination issues that may come up during those fluctuating periods of exacerbation.

Difficulties with speech or chewing and swallowing can occur if the cranial nerves are affected. The physical therapist has been trained in helping to free nerve pathways with fascial release techniques. Any urinary frequency, urinary urgency, incontinence, retention or hesitancy can be particularly trained by a therapist who specializes in visceral manipulation (working with the organs fascia) or pelvic floor techniques for muscle retraining.

Physical TherapyFor the client with MS, treatment should take place in the coolest temperature setting possible. Physical therapy is initiated at an early stage to maintain joint range of motion within your pain tolerance and to monitor muscle strength until active exercises can be initiated. It is very important to provide you with active exercises that are at a level consistent with your muscle strength. The physical therapist can help you with all the precautions and functional movement patterns you need to know for your progression back to better health.

Physical Therapy and Cancer

Cancer treatment often has many troubling side effects, which can result in decreased function and quality of life. These side effects include: fatigue, pain, weakness, lymphedema, swelling, peripheral neuropathy, scar tissue formation, and difficulty with ambulation. Physical therapy can help patients return to normal function as well as boost immune response and help minimize the risk of complications.

Physical Therapy and Breast Cancer

As a physical therapist who is a breast cancer survivor, I have a unique perspective regarding the benefits of physical therapy for breast cancer patients. After bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction, (in my case, deep inferior epigastric perforators (DIEP) flap surgery), PT was instrumental in helping me resume a normal life. Manual therapy to my neck, shoulders, and thoracic spine helped restore range of motion and Fisioterapia XIrelieve discomfort. Scar mobilization minimized soft-tissue restriction and allowed for normal breathing and nerve mobility. Postural exercise/strengthening helped increase blood flow and restore strength for activities of daily living (ADLs).

I was fortunate to have no lymph node involvement, but for patients who do, PTs can help minimize swelling/lymphedema with specialized hands-on treatment, wrapping, compression garments, and patient education.

Besides hands-on treatment, education and instruction from a physical therapist can assist breast cancer patients to safely and properly progress back to normal activity. A program, individualized for each patient, can help breast cancer patients return to their lives with hope that they can return to their prior level of function.

American Cancer Society

Alice Kahl has worked in the field of orthopedics and sports medicine for 29 years and specializes in helping patients recover faster than with average care. She feels blessed to be able to help people live healthier, more active and more productive lives. She owns Alice Kahl Integrative Physical Therapy in Orange Country, CA. Visit her website, alicekahlpt.com

Arthritis & Physical Therapy

The Mayo Clinic defines “Arthritis” as inflammation of one or more joints, whose main symptoms are joint pain and stiffness. The two most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis (OA) is typically caused by wear and tear, and is often termed “degenerative change.” Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder.

Nearly all of us will have OA as we age and wear down our joints. That does not mean, however, that we must have pain. There are plenty of folks who have significant evidence of arthritis but zero to minimal discomfort. If we can avoid aggravating our arthritic joints, (i.e. minimize inflammation), we can often limit our misery.

The goal of arthritis treatment is primarily to reduce symptoms of pain, inflammation, and swelling. Physical therapists accomplish this in various ways, including manual (hands-on) techniques, exercise (painfree gentle movement, often in gravity-reduced or eliminated situations like on a stationary bike or in water), and modalities (ice, heat, electrical stimulation, etc.). PTs also educate patients re: prevention and management of symptoms, joint protection (with splints, braces, etc.), and use of assistive devices (crutches, walkers, canes). Exercise consists of range-of-motion exercise to maintain joint mobility and strengthening exercises to improve joint stability.

Each patient may respond differently, so the key is to find out what works best for each individual and go from there.

References: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research



These powerful compounds may help prevent CVD and cancer and boost cognitive function. Many dietitians are well aware of the benefits fruits and vegetables provide, but few may know the actual names and types of the disease-fighting compounds they contain that are so important for good health.

Pregnant woman exercising

Current Guidelines for Prenatal Fitness

The interest and need for maternal fitness guidelines is increasing as more woman who are physically active become pregnant. Recent studies have shown that regular exercise at moderate to somewhat hard levels during pregnancy has positive benefits. These benefits include reduced level of fat deposition and retention, shorter and less complicated labors, and a quicker recovery postpartum. In addition, women who exercise during and after pregnancy tend to have greater energy levels, deal better with physiological and psychological stresses and develop fewer physical complaints.

Prescription drugs

The Prescription You DON’T Fill at the Pharmacy

Why exactly is “Exercise” considered medicine? Exercise has a difficult task of competing with the 5 seconds it takes to consume a pill, versus the 30 minutes it takes to gain health benefits from exercise. However, since the development of the Exercise Is Medicine Organization, there has been great momentum in the area of implementing exercise prescription as the first line of treatment for patient’s when appropriate.