Diagnosis of the Week: Multiple Sclerosis

Throughout the month of February, we are sharing various conditions and diagnoses that pertain to the elbow joint. Today we are going to focus on Multiple Sclerosis, known as MS. MS is an autoimmune condition where the immune system attacks the central nervous system and eats away at the protective sheath (myelin) that covers your nerves. Damage to myelin causes a number of physical and mental symptoms as it interferes with the communication between your brain, spinal cord and other areas of your body. These symptoms can vary greatly and lead to disability as the disease progresses.  The condition can result in deterioration of nerves themselves, a process that is not reversible.

MS commonly begins in young adults and more often in women than men. A person with MS suffers from neurological symptoms including changes in sensation, muscle weakness, muscle spasms, difficulty in moving, fatigue and chronic pain to mention a few.  Heat sensitivity is common and even a small increase in body temperature can trigger or worsen multiple sclerosis symptoms.

The cause of MS is unknown and doctors and researchers don’t understand why multiple sclerosis develops in some people and not others. A combination of factors ranging from genetics to childhood infections may play a role. MS has no cure. Treatment focuses on strategies to treat MS attacks, manage symptoms and reduce the progress of the disease.

Physical therapy can help with stretching and strengthening exercises. Often a device, such as a Dynasplint System, can make it easier to perform daily tasks by keeping the joints moving and muscles elongated.  Check out Mayo Clinic for other strategies to treat symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis.

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