MS can impact daily living in a number of ways but it depends on the symptoms you have. MS can affect your mobility, making it harder for you to get around inside or outside the home. This may be caused by several factors including, for example, dizziness, loss of balance, muscle spasms, aches and pains and tremors or stiffness. Often you will be able to continue doing what you have always done, but many people find that mobility aids can help them stay independent for longer. Some of the more common mobility or ‘daily living’ aids that people use include:
• Bathing & using the toilet – if you’re finding it difficult to have a shower, take a bath or use the toilet, there are many products that can make this easier such as: shower stools, bath lifts and toilet frames
• Eating & drinking – if you have difficulty gripping cutlery or cups, there are many types of larger handled cutlery and non-spill mugs available that make eating and drinking easier
If you are experiencing any difficulties with mobility or are finding your condition is affecting your independence, speak to your local social services who can arrange an assessment by an Occupational Therapist (OT). They will look at the daily activities you are having difficulties with and suggest equipment or home adaptations that will help. They will look at how you do certain activities and suggest ways you can do them differently.
If you need further advice about equipment for multiple sclerosis, the Disabled Living Foundation can also help.
Multiple sclerosis treatments (DMTs)
There are a number of treatments for multiple sclerosis, including medicines, physiotherapy and complementary or alternative therapies. These can help treat symptoms and the severity of relapses, but they do not cure the condition. We have summarised some key treatments for multiple sclerosis below, but there are other options depending on the type of MS you have or the particular symptoms you’re experiencing. Talk to your GP or MS Nurse, as there are likely to be healthcare professionals who can help you.
Disease modifying therapies (DMTs)
One of the current, key treatments for multiple sclerosis is the use of disease-modifying drugs that can help slow down the damage caused by relapses and reduce the frequency of them. DMTs try to reduce the amount of damage and scarring to the myelin around your nerves. There are a number of drug treatments that may be prescribed for you, including a group called ‘beta interferon’.
For more information on the drug treatments for multiple sclerosis, visit the official MS Trust website
Physiotherapy can help if you have symptoms such as mobility or balance problems, fatigue, muscle spasms, muscle stiffness or bladder problems. Speak to your GP or MS Nurse if you think you would benefit from this type of multiple sclerosis treatment. For example, if you’re having difficulties with speech, a speech and language therapist can advise the best course of treatment. Find out more about what physiotherapists do