Rehabilitation is the process of helping people — who have impaired physical, mental, and cognitive abilities due to disease or injury — regain the ability to carry out their daily activities, thereby improving their quality of life and independence as much as possible.
A team of healthcare providers can tailor a rehabilitation plan according to a person’s needs and disease condition. Depending on the treatment, rehabilitation can take place at a clinician’s office, in a hospital, in dedicated rehabilitation centers, or at home.
Rehabilitation and multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disorder of the central nervous system where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the protein covering that protects nerve fibers. This affects the manner in which the nerve impulses are conducted and can result in several symptoms, such as pain, fatigue, muscle stiffness, difficulty in voluntary motion, speech and vision problems, tremors, and depression.
Rehabilitation can help with these symptoms to a large extent by providing education and strategies to patients and their caregivers. It also has been shown to favorably enhance functional mobility, activities of daily living, and social and vocational participation.
The expertise of multiple teams can work with MS patients to address their needs and priorities, and the progression of their symptoms. Rehabilitation therapies for MS patients are summarized below.
Using physical exercises to restore movement and posture, physiotherapy can help decrease fatigue, improve strength, lessen muscle spasticity, and prevent injury. Assistive devices such as wheelchairs and crutches can also be used to ensure patient safety.
Occupational therapy helps patients be more independent by teaching them ways to carry out daily activities at home and work. Therapists can recommend changes to the home or work environment to make it safer, more convenient, and accessible for patients. They can also educate and counsel caregivers and colleagues about the importance of creating an accommodating atmosphere.