Multiple Sclerosis

Medical Reviewer: Katy Bowen, PT, DPT, NCS
Last Updated: April 8, 2021

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a neurologic disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. Multiple Sclerosis causes the immune system to attack the protective sheath (myelin) that covers nerve fibers and causes communication problems between the brain and the rest of the body. Damage to areas of the brain and spinal cord may produce a variety of neurological symptoms that will vary among people living with MS. The National MS Society estimates nearly one million people in the United States are living with MS. Although there is no cure for MS, treatments can help speed the recovery time between attacks, modify the disease and manage the symptoms.

Why is exercise important for people with Multiple Sclerosis?

Exercise for individuals living with MS has many positive benefits such as improved strength, mobility, balance, endurance, bowel/bladder function and quality of life, as well as decreased fatigue, depression and risk of cardiovascular disease. MS can often lead to decreased walking ability making exercise even more important in preventing secondary complications from a sedentary lifestyle.

How much should someone with Multiple Sclerosis exercise?

A continued lifelong exercise program is important to maintain the health benefits. Many individuals living with MS experience different symptoms and varying degrees of severity, therefore, developing a specialized program to meet individual needs is important. An individualized exercise plan can often be helpful in promoting independence, safety, and achieving and maintaining optimal body and mind function.

If you or a loved one are living with MS, Brooks offers a wide range of tailored services from outpatient physical therapy to a comprehensive wellness program through our partnership with the First Coast YMCA.

Medical Reviewer

Katy Bowen, PT, DPT, NCS

Outpatient Neurologic Physical Therapist, Outpatient Neurologic Program Coordinator
Katy Bowen is a Board Certified Neurologic Clinical Specialist. Additionally, she serves as the Outpatient Neurologic Program Coordinator at Brooks Rehabilitation.