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    • #21379

      Hello, I’m Marta from Poland. I’m 42. I’ve had MS for 12 years now. I’ve observed a weird tendency recently which I’d like to describe and share. I am looking for someone who will be able to shed light on my questions …

      My right leg tends to get heavy quite easily, which often shortens my walking distance. It started about 2 years ago so I don’t find it that surprising. However, it was over the very last week, which I spent on holiday in the Tatra Mountains, when I noticed a considerable change in my right leg’s performance. It first occured when I took a cable car high up to the peak of the local mountain, which is 2634 m above sea level, when I stopped feeling any heaviness or weakness in the leg. It was unbelievable! 2 days later I went there again to see if it would be the same and it was. I also visited a place at the altitude of 1346 m above sea level where I took a walk around a mountain lake (a distance of 3.6 km) and my leg didn’t get heavy either. I repeated the same walk twice more and each time it was the same or very similar.

      Before I went to the mountains my daily distance ranged from 1 km on a bad day to 3.5/4 km on a better day. In the mountains last week my daily distance was between 6 and 8.1 km …

      What’s more, another recent discovery (from last July) is that my right leg/foot never gets heavy or tired when I swim. I started swimming regularly and each visit to the swimming pool confirms the pattern. Sometimes I go swimming with a very heavy leg but doing the distance of over 1 km in the water is a piece of cake …

      My questions, therefore, are:

      what happens at high altitude and in water that affects the performance of my right leg to such an extent?

      – how can I use this knowledge to improve my everyday life back at home?

      Has anybody here experienced something similar?

      I’m really confused …

      Thanks 🙂

    • #21381

      Hi Marta,

      I was just diagnosed last year at 44, but I wonder about the heavy legs that have bothered me since I was in my teens. When I was about 9, I lost all feeling in both legs and couldn’t walk. It lasted about 8 hours. That MIGHT have been my isolated incident. My pediatrician made a note to watch for Guillain Barre as I got older. I used to run track and field as a teen and the day after a meet, I would have “heavy legs”. Doctors said it was growing pains, anemia, etc. When I stopped running, the heavy legs weren’t as bad or frequent.

      As I got older, I noticed a return and sure enough, it ties in with my RRMS. This past weekend, I had heavy legs (and hands) all weekend. I could walk  and do stuff. But it was slower. I’ve learned to pace my physical activities and simply rest.  My DMT, and vitamin D intake help. Exercise in water is very helpful – I have friends who do not have MS who have used water therapies after an injury – and when I was in the pool as a teen, I also felt better, even just floating! There is something about buoyancy that helps – I suspect it’s the same at higher altitudes? Make sure to note the differences with your doctor as it might be a clue on how to handle your MS.

      If you notice you feel heavier after an active day (like I do) be sure to pace yourself accordingly. You’re going to have good days and bad days. Exercise has helped me, so if you’re finding that swimming helps, I’d say keep it up!


      -Rochelle, MS Patient

    • #21382

      Thank you, Rochelle,

      oh, I’m deffinitely going to keep up swimming 🙂 It’s already become my Sat ritual 😉

      I’d like to understand why my leg, as if at the flick of a switch, starts feeling strong and acting normally when I get into water and when I’m high in the mountains. I can’t work it out …

      Take care 🙂

      • #21386

        Hi Marta,

        Hmmmm. I’m starting to learn that with my symptoms, there isn’t always an answer.
        Or any rhyme or reason. So I’m learning to work with the ebbs and flows. The smallest changes make a big difference. With my legs, I can walk 10 km on an even surface but I can’t walk even 500 m if it’s an incline.

        One of our columnists wrote about the benefits of water therapy a few years ago:

        Definitely ask your doctor what effects water and altitude have on the body overall, and see how that relates to your MS specifically.

        -Rochelle, MS Patient

    • #21383
      John Connor

      Maybe it’s a combination of MS and lower Oxygen levels at altitude? MS has very strange effects on our bodies. Most of us get overwhelmed by high heat. It turns me into a rag doll.

      Many collapse in the cold – no effect on me whatsoever.

      Our skin takes longer to heal from cuts.

      It seemed to give me lymphoedema within a few years – even though I was active. Again, I don’t think there is any proof of this except for the circumstantial evidence.

      Bravo for all your exercise. A truism among the UK medical establishment is ‘Use it or lose it’. From my experience it’s the more pragmatic ‘Use it before you lose it!’

      Cheere John

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