Role of Physiotherapy

Role of Physiotherapy

Until about 20 years ago, people with MS were commonly advised to avoid strenuous physical activities or exercises on the basis that they might worsen the signs and symptoms of the condition.

However, since then a growing body of evidence has emerged to demonstrate that exercises used as part of an individualised program can increase activity and improve the health and well-being of people with MS.

Traditionally, people with MS have sought advice on exercise or rehabilitation once they have developed functional movement difficulties. However, recent evidence highlights the benefits of exercise as an early intervention, even before clinical symptoms of MS are observed.

In addition, there is an emerging body of evidence to say that physiotherapists, as part of a specialist neuro rehabilitative service, have a key role in managing specific symptoms of MS including pain, spasticity and the prevention of secondary complications such as contracture.

Results from randomised controlled clinical trials of exercise programs in MS have demonstrated benefits in muscle strength, cardiovascular fitness, aerobic thresholds and activity levels, and functional improvements, such as walking ability.

Exercise is generally highly valued by people with MS who report improvements in mood and quality of life.

The Physiotherapists working in the Monash Health MS Clinic have extensive experience in working with people with neurological conditions. They play a consultative role in the clinic in completing a comprehensive assessment of your needs and formulating a suitable management plan which might include:

  • Education and advice
  • Provision of a home based exercise program
  • Referrals to local public or private outpatient and community rehabilitation programs for ongoing intervention
  • Referrals to other allied health disciplines including but not limited to: Social Work, Occupational Therapy, Neuropsychology, Speech Pathology, Dietetics, Orthotist
  • Referrals to Monash Health Clinical Gait Analysis Service for more detailed mobility assessment to facilitate management decision making
  • Support with applications for and provision of equipment eg. Orthotics