Why is that important? Because spasticity is behind many of the disease’s most debilitating physical, emotional and mental challenges.
According to the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America, spasticity is “a tightness or stiffness of the muscles” that occurs most commonly in the legs, groin and buttocks and occasionally in the back, muscles that profoundly affect our ability to stand upright, walk and balance ourselves.
Worse, spasticity’s effects can negatively influence quality of life in those with MS, and can lead to anxiety, depression and low self-esteem, while affecting relationships, employment, fatigue, bladder dysfunction and more.
Since spasticity tends to affect lower extremities more, these stretches focus on hips, calves, ankles and feet. They are meant to be introductions to stretching routines that may alleviate spasticity but are by no means comprehensive or make up a complete routine (see your physical therapist for that).
The goal of this stretch is to decrease tightness in the hips by stretching and lengthening your hip muscles. Though there are variations of it, the basic idea is to lie on your back and if possible, bend your knees into a 45° angle, pull them together and then gently let both knees slowly rotate to one side, holding the stretch for 30 seconds.
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