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Helping you to make the right mobility device choice with MS

MS is a chronic and often debilitating disease that attacks the central nervous system. People living with MS can have symptoms that come and go, progressively get worse or come on and stay about the same.

What are common MS symptoms that affect mobility?

 

  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscle pain for no reason
  • Loss of balance 
  • Poor coordination
  • Numbness and tingling in legs and feet
  • Extreme fatigue or feelings of exhaustion 
  • Increased muscle tone or stiffness (spasticity) 
  • Impaired vision
  • Cognitive difficulties 

 

If you feel you’re having these symptoms inform your doctor or call 1-800-344-4867 or email generalmailbox@nmss.org to connect with an MS navigator

 

What MS symptoms can increase your risk for falls & decrease your independence?

 

All of the above symptoms can increase your fall risk.  Fatigue is the most common and most disabilitating MS symptom MS fatigue, also known as Lassitude, is the feeling of extreme exhaustion.  Approximately 80% of people suffering from MS report having fatigue on a regular basis.  This fatigue can affect your ability to walk and increase your fall risk.

 

Falls can cause secondary problems; bone fractures, hospitalizations, infection, and increase your dependence on others.  Some may have to move into an assisted living facility to manage their needs.  Having a fear of falling can cause isolation, limit your willingness to go out into the community, and depression.

 

What types of mobility devices are available?

After trying physical therapy and your muscle strength does not improve, mobility can be enhanced with the use of a proper device.  Canes and crutches are first to come to mind.  They are the least restrictive.  Walkers, wheeled and standard, are the next in line.  Some find these easier to use than crutches because they are more stable.  Rollators are popular because they have a seat and brakes to stop and rest. Walkers, canes and crutches require the use of both arms with adequate strength to support yourself.  They also affect your posture as you lean forward to walk.   Wheelchairs  reduce the amount of energy necessary to move about, increase the distance you are able to cover.  They may require another person to push you if your arms are not powerful enough to propel yourself with your arms.  Grass, ramps and curbs can limit where you go as well.  Power chairs and scooters are an option for the mobility impaired person.  They are battery powered, can go almost any place, have wide tires to go on grass, gavel or ramps.  3 wheeled and  4 wheeled options are available.  3 wheeled have greater turning ability than 4 wheeled but 4 wheeled offer better stability for outdoor use.  Scooters help you to conserve energy to go on longer trips in the community.  They can be disassembled to travel places and reassembled once you need them or be carried on a vehicle lift for easier stow and go. 

 

How do I know whether a scooter is right for me?

A powered device may be indicated if you are falling or lack endurance.  If you can stand up from a chair and sit down on your own, if you can operate the tiller ( steering device), have good trunk and head control, or if you are avoiding participating in activities or falling due to mobility issues.  Power chairs offer many of the same benefits as scooters but with a tighter turning radius for indoors.  They can be more stable as many times they have 6 wheels, 2 especially for balance and stability.  Power chairs have other features too such as head control, joystick control, seat elevation and longer battery life. 

 

Before you purchase any device make sure you are comfortable using it, and it is compatible with your height and weigh. 

Contact the MS society at: nationalMSsociety.org

Article submitted by Mobility Plus of Sugar Land where we stand ready to guide you through the process of selecting an appropriate device for your needs.  832-776-6650 - https://www.mobilityplus.com/fid19/richmond-tx-77407

 

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