Three Main Types of Spinal Cord Injuries

Safe Ways To Treat Chronic Pain

Safe Ways To Treat Chronic Pain Amidst The Opioid Epidemic

Safe Ways To Treat Chronic Pain
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 Safe Ways To Treat Chronic Pain

For someone suffering from chronic pain, even simple daily tasks can feel like arduous chores. From crushing joint, muscle or bone aches to psychological side effects like depression, it’s no surprise that results from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health revealed nearly 38 percent of adults in the US were prescribed opioids in 2015. But after President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a national public health emergency, alternative treatments for chronic pain may be put into motion sooner rather than later. 

Regardless of the future of opioids, NewGait offers some suggestions for managing chronic pain a safe way. 

Why opioids are dangerous 

Aside from side effects like nausea, confusion, depression, sleepiness, and a decrease in sex drive, those using opioids are at risk for addiction and dosage increase due to tolerance development. Even more alarming, provisional counts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that 45,788 people died from opioids over a 12-month period ending in January of 2017. One need not be an addict or abuse the drug to put themselves at risk, which is what makes safer alternatives a more desirable form of treatment. 

Don’t neglect mental health

 Safe Ways To Treat Chronic Pain

The mental side effects are just as taxing as the physical — especially if it’s the patient’s first time experiencing discomfort via illness or injury. Clinical studies showcased evidence that mindfulness meditation can reduce chronic pain by 57 percent — over 90 percent if the participant has previous meditation experience. Remarkably, photos of the brain taken during meditation reflect calmer brain patterns that continue to improve with treatment. It’s because of positive results like these that hospital-affiliated pain clinics can prescribe this type of therapy to help patients cope with mental health in relation to chronic pain. 

Oftentimes, anxiety and depression accompany chronic pain. Fortunately, there are other methods that can help with these side effects and they include psychotherapy, pet therapy, massage, yoga, art and music therapy, yoga, and tai chi. Physical activity may seem like the last thing someone in pain may want to do, but some exercise — even minimal — provides a natural painkiller because the body produces hormones called endorphins that work to increase pain tolerance, while endorphins unite with brain receptors to alter one’s perception of pain.

 

Find ways to reduce stress and anxiety

Anyone with chronic pain understands that stress and anxiety can often cause flare-ups, which, in turn, make stress and anxiety that much worse. If you find it difficult to clean your house, or the amount of clutter in your living space has gotten out of control, take steps to correct the problem. In addition to bringing in a cleaning service to give your home some TLC, you can also put some of your unused furniture into storage so you’ll have more space — and less clutter. 

There are also some simple steps to take to help mitigate stress found at the workplace, an especially — and unfortunately, common — aspect of the job for those in leadership positions. One strategy is to replicate those who seem to be keeping their heads while others are losing theirs during trying periods. Sit down with them when things are calm and find out what their thought processes are, and be intentional about incorporating the same methods when trouble comes calling.

Try out a natural remedy 

While it may be hard to get used to accepting natural remedies for chronic pain after taking prescription medication, research has proven that there are effective alternatives with virtually no side effects.

While it may be hard to get used to accepting natural remedies for chronic pain after taking prescription medication, research has proven that there are effective alternatives with virtually no side effects. For example, a study conducted by the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians revealed that after 75 days of taking fish oil — an anti-inflammatory supplement — more than half of the 125 patients in the study stopped using their prescription painkillers. Turmeric is another anti-inflammatory supplement that has been proven to be effective. 

Researchers found that the resveratrol found in berries and red wine (in moderation) works on a cellular level to regulate pain. On a more traditional level, old-school heat and cold therapies (think hot Epsom salt baths and ice packs) are still used as instantaneous ways to calm inflammation, as well as the mind. 

Acceptance 

 Safe Ways To Treat Chronic Pain

No matter what path to relief a patient chooses, it’s helpful if acceptance is incorporated into a chronic pain treatment plan — particularly where mental health is concerned. Finding ways to manage the pain both physically and mentally can create the foundation for navigating this diagnosis and give you a better sense of control. 


Photo credit: Pixabay

 

What Are The Four Types of Multiple Sclerosis?

Safe Ways To Treat Chronic Pain

According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Association, as many as 450,000 people in the United States are living with a spinal cord injury (SCI)

 

Spinal cord injuries are commonly seen in traumatic incidents such as gunshot, motor vehicle accidents, falls, etc. These injuries can result in various symptoms ranging from sensory symptoms such as pain, numbness, tingling, etc., to motor control deficits such as paralysis. To understand spinal cord injury and its management, you should first know the structure and function of the spinal cord.

 

Spinal Cord – What Is It?

 

The spinal cord is a structure made up of neurons (cells) that connects your brain to the rest of your body. It lies within the center of your body and is present inside your spine (vertebral column). It is the continuation of your brain and starts from the point where the brain ends (beneath the skull). It then runs down in your spine and transmits signals from the brain to the rest of your body.

 

So if you want to move your hand to pick up a glass, your brain will generate a motor signal. This signal will travel down the spinal cord and ultimately reach your muscles via nerves originating from your spinal cord. Not only this, but the spinal cord also serves the function of carrying sensory signals to your brain. You can feel pain only when this sensation is conveyed to the brain via sensory nerves to the spinal cord to your brain.

 

This helps to understand that signal transmission is affected if the spinal cord is damaged, resulting in several sensory and motor symptoms.

 

What is Spinal Cord Injury?

 

Any damage to the spinal cord either because of trauma (gunshot, fall, assault, motor vehicle accident) or an infection (meningitis, transverse myelitis) is called Spinal Cord Injury (SCI).

 Types of Multiple Sclerosis

 

Here we will focus mainly on traumatic spinal cord injury.

 

Trauma to the spinal cord can result in a variety of injuries. Spinal cord injuries are divided into several types based on the etiology and location of spinal cord injury.

 

Brown-Sequard Syndrome

 

Spinal cord injury (SCI), in which there is an injury to only one-half of the spinal cord, is called Brown Sequard Syndrome.

 

This injury commonly occurs because of penetration wounds such as gunshot or stab wounds.

 

Anterior Cord Syndrome

 

In this type of spinal cord injury, the anterior part of the spinal cord is damaged. This commonly occurs because of hyper-flexion of the spine at the neck that disrupts the blood supply of the anterior region coming from the anterior spinal artery.

 

Central Cord Syndrome

 

This is the most common syndrome associated with spinal cord injuries. In this type of spinal cord injury, the central part of the spinal cord is damaged due to hyper-extension of the spine at the neck. It is also associated with congenital narrowing of the spinal canal.

 

Cauda Equina Syndrome

 

This injury affects the terminal part of the spinal cord, i.e., Cauda Equina. It results from herniation of lumbar discs (outward movement of discs present between lumbar vertebrae). It can also occur due to traumatic injury in the lower back.

 

Signs and Symptoms of Spinal Cord Injury

 

The signs and symptoms of spinal cord injury depend upon the type of injury. Some common symptoms of spinal cord injuries are as follows.

 

  • Decreased muscles strength (paresis)
  • Paralysis of muscles
  • Sensory disturbances

 

  • Inability to feel touch and pressure below the site of lesion
  • Inability to feel pain or temperature below the site of lesion

 

  • Inability to sense the position of the body part in space (proprioception)
  • Problems with urination and defecation
  • Sexual problems
  • Problems with balance and coordination

 

Management of Spinal Cord Injury

 

The management of spinal cord injury is divided into the following sections.

 

  • Immobilization
  • Surgical Management
  • Pharmacological management
  • Physiotherapy Management
  • Orthotics Management

 

Let’s have a look at each section one by one.

 

Immobilization

 Types of Multiple Sclerosis

 

It is necessary to immobilize the spine if you suspect spinal cord injury due to trauma to your vertebrae/spine. This is important because the injury can get worse if the patient is handled carelessly. Immobilization is achieved by using several braces such as soft and hard collars, Sterno-Occipital Mandibular Immobilization (SOMI) device, Halo vest, etc.

 

Surgical Management

 

Surgery is indicated following spinal cord injury to remove any foreign objects or ruptured discs, reduce fractured vertebrae, and decompress the spinal cord. Not all spinal cord injuries require surgical management, and some injuries can be managed non-operatively.

 

Pharmacological Management

 

Steroids play an essential role in suppressing secondary events following spinal cord injury and are widely used in SCI management. Several other drugs such as NSAIDs, Gabapentin, antidepressants are also used in SCI management.

 

Physical Therapy Management

Spinal Cord Injury

 

Physiotherapy management plays a crucial role during sub-acute and chronic phases of spinal cord injuries. It involves respiratory muscles training (injury at cervical level), muscles strengthening and stretching exercises, balance and coordination exercises, gait training, etc.

 

It consists of the maximum protection phase, intermediate protection phase, and minimum protection phase. Outcomes of physiotherapy management depend upon the level of spinal cord injury—the higher the level of injury, the poorer the outcomes. Nearly 25% of spinal cord injury patients cannot ambulate independently if the cervical spine is involved.

 

Orthotics Management

 

Like the treatments mentioned above, orthotics management plays a vital role in managing spinal cord injury in acute, sub-acute, and chronic phases of recovery.

 

Orthoses help stabilize the spine so that the healing is not affected by unnecessary spine movements. They also provide support to the body that helps in functional rehabilitation.

 

Individuals with spinal cord injury at the cervical (neck) level are instructed to wear a halo brace that immobilizes the neck region. For managing the injuries involving the neck and upper back, cervical-thoracic orthosis (CTO) is recommended. Similarly, Thoraco-Lumbar-Sacral Orthosis (TLSO) covers your whole back.

 

Lower limb orthoses such as Knee-Ankle-Foot Orthosis (KAFO) or Hip-Knee-Ankle-Foot Orthosis (HKAFO) are also used for assisting in ambulation following spinal cord injuries.

 

No matter which level is involved, spinal cord injury management is always multi-disciplinary and involves several healthcare professionals. Early detection of an injury is always a key to achieving better outcomes.

 

Motion – Mind, Body, and Spirit

Mind-Body Connection

Movement or motion is crucial for our body, no matter what we are going through. The movement puts your mind at peace and along with that, it keeps your body healthy. 

  • If you can run, you should run. 
  • If you are not able to run, you should walk. 
  • If you cannot walk on your own, use assistive devices but walk. 

Our brain controls the movement we do. If our brain is not functioning well, the movement gets a bit difficult.

The brain is the control center and is connected to our body parts. So whenever you move, a signal is generated from your brain that travels down to your body.

What is Mind?

We usually hear the two words, brain and mind, and are used synonymously. But they are different from each other. So what exactly is the difference between these two?

The difference between the brain and mind can become clear quickly if you know about computers and windows. The computer is hardware, and windows is the software that operates the computer.

Mind-Body Connection

The brain is a matter present in our skull, and the mind is the operating system that controls this piece of matter. In other words, our brain is the computer, and the mind is the software that runs it.

The mind consists of mental states such as thoughts, emotions, beliefs, and attitudes, and the brain allows us to experience these mental states.

Why is Mind-Body Connection Important?

Like computers or mobile phones having different software operate differently, the same thing applies to our mind-body connection.

We all have a brain, but our minds are different. Our emotions are different, and every one of us responds differently to different situations around us.

That’s why having a sad mood or depression can result in lethargic feelings in your body. Though depression and your muscles do not directly connect, depression affects the mind and mind, influences your brain, and feels symptoms in your body.

The same thing happens when you are in a good mood. You feel a tremendous amount of energy in your body, and you have no idea where it is coming from. It is your mind that is sending indirect signals to your body.

Tips for improving Mind-Body Connection

As mentioned before, maintaining your mind and body connection is crucial for your overall health. That’s why you must be familiar with the ways that improve your mind and body connection.

Mind-Body Connection

Here are few tips for you.

  • Keep your body well hydrated, as lack of water in your body can affect your concentration.
  • Perform deep breathing exercises in a calm and peaceful environment.
  • Perform regular stretching exercises as stretching sends signals to your body that help improve your mind and body connection.
  • Take a break from your busy routine and do things that you enjoy doing.

All of these tips affect your mental well-being and hence improve your mind and body connection.

What Are The Signs And Symptom Of Multiple Sclerosis

Symptom Of Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis – What is it

Multiple sclerosis is a disease that affects your brain, spinal cord, and nerves. It is an autoimmune disease in which the person’s immune system attacks the covering of nerves (myelin sheath). When this covering (myelin sheath) of nerves is damaged, the signals (sensory and motor) transmission within the body are affected.

There are four types of Multiple Sclerosis.

  • Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RPMS)
  • Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (SPMS)
  • Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS)
  • Progressive Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis (PRMS)

The symptoms can occur depending on the affected structure and the type and course of the disease. It can range from mild muscles weakness to paralysis. The most common symptoms of multiple sclerosis are as follows.

  • Fatigue
  • Visual problems
  • Sensory disturbances
  • Muscles weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Pain
  • Balance and Gait problems
  • Speech problems
  • Swallowing problems
  • Urination and defecation problems
  • Sexual problems

Let’s have a look at the common symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis one by one.

Fatigue

Symptom Of Multiple Sclerosis

Fatigue is a common symptom of Multiple Sclerosis. A person having MS would have an overall feeling of tiredness or lack of energy. Performing tasks, even the minor ones, can make the affected individual short of breath. Pain and body aches can also accompany the fatigue.

Visual Problems

Visual problems occur when the disease affects the optic nerve, which is responsible for controlling vision. Visual problems can also arise when the occipital lobe of the brain is affected. This area receives the sensory input of vision.

The problems that can occur vary from person to person. It can be double vision (diplopia), blurred vision, partial loss of vision, or complete vision loss. Repetitive and uncontrolled eye movements (Nystagmus) can also occur due to Multiple Sclerosis.

Sensory Disturbances

Our body is able to sense different things because of sensory nerves. These nerves carry the sensory signals from your body to the brain’s sensory cortex, and that’s how you can sense touch, pressure, vibration, etc.

As Multiple Sclerosis affects the covering of nerves, signal transmission speed is affected, and some sensory disturbances are also seen. The patient may feel numbness, tingling sensations in their hands, arms, legs, feet, etc. Abnormal sensations (paresthesia) are also common symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis.

Muscles Weakness

Symptom Of Multiple Sclerosis

As mentioned above, Multiple Sclerosis affects the nerves in your body. When the nerves controlling the sensory function are affected, sensory disturbances are seen. Similarly, when the nerves controlling the muscles (motor nerves) are affected, it leads to muscles weakness.

It can involve your foot muscles, leg muscles, hip muscles, arm muscles, upper body muscles, etc., depending upon the affected nerves. Weakness in muscles can lead to problems with performing daily activities and ambulation.

If the damage to the nerves is severe, it can lead to muscles paralysis—the paralysis of muscles controlling the upward movement of the foot results in Foot Drop. 

Dizziness

Another common symptom of Multiple Sclerosis is “Dizziness.” The affected individual may feel a range of sensations, such as feeling faint, weak, or unsteady. 

It sometimes creates the false sense that you or your surroundings are spinning or moving. This condition is sometimes called “vertigo.”

Pain

Symptom Of Multiple Sclerosis

Pain is the most common symptom of Multiple Sclerosis. Pain is an unpleasant sensation that is sensed by the sensory nerves and perceived by the brain. As this disease affects the neurons (basic structure of the nervous system), the whole of the nervous system is affected.

The intensity of pain can vary from mild to extreme. Painful sensations can be accompanied by numbness and tingling sensations. The intensity of pain is also related to the type and course of the disease.

Balance and Gait Problems

Symptom Of Multiple Sclerosis

The balance of the patients with Multiple Sclerosis is also affected. It can either be due to decreased muscles strength of legs or damage to centers in the brain responsible for balance control. The body’s muscles may get excessively tight (spasticity). Impaired gait (ataxia) is also typical in Multiple Sclerosis patients.

Speech Problems

Problems in speech result when the nerves controlling the articulation muscles are affected. Speech problems can be due to damage to speech centers present in the brain. It can cause slurred speech (dysarthria) or absence of speech (aphasia).

Swallowing Problems

Muscles are responsible for swallowing food. When the nerves controlling these muscles are affected, swallowing becomes difficult. This condition is called Dysphagia. It can affect eating habits of the patient.

Urination and Defecation Problems

Voluntary control of urination and defecation is lost in patients with advanced Multiple Sclerosis. This happens because of damage to the nerves responsible for controlling urination and defecation. This can result in leakage of urine (dribbling), urinary incontinence, and fecal incontinence.

Sexual Problems

Decreased sexual desire (libido) and erection problems are also symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. This again is due to the damage to the neurons in the patient’s body.

Cognitive and Psychological Problems

As mentioned before, Multiple Sclerosis affects the brain also. This can result in several cognitive and psychological problems. Common mental and psychological symptoms that are seen in Multiple Sclerosis patients are short-term memory deficits, diminished executive function, diminished attention or concentration, etc. Anxiety and depression can also be present depending upon the type and course of the disease. 

TIPS OF MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS PATIENTS

Here are some essential tips for Multiple Sclerosis patients that they can follow for taking care of their body.

  • Try to have a balanced diet. According to researches, eating a low-fat and vitamin-rich diet can benefit people with multiple sclerosis. Eating a healthy diet can help to maximize your energy levels and support your bowel and bladder movement. 
  • Perform regular exercises. Walking for 20-30 minutes can improve a Multiple Sclerosis patient’s gait and balance.
  • Avoid heat. People with MS should avoid taking hot baths and going out in hot weather. Patients should also wear cooling collars when exercising.
  • Stay connected to your friends and family. Socializing can decrease many of the tensions and worries. Friends and family can support the patients in their hard times. This helps to reduce stress and anxiety.

 

6 Things You Should Know About Independent Living

Independent Living

If you are getting ready for retirement or already there, you may be thinking about making a change to your current living arrangement. Moving to an independent senior living community could be one option you’re considering, and if so you may have a few questions. That makes sense since this is such a major transition, and that’s why NewGait presents this list of common questions and answers about independent living. 

What does independent living really mean? 

Reading “independent living” may conjure up images of nursing homes. In reality, independent living is far from assisted living or skilled nursing home care. This term covers all sorts of living options for older adults, including retirement communities, co-ops, and senior apartments. Care is not provided for residents but there are amenities and features to make their lives easier. So really, independent living can preserve your independence and your quality of life in retirement. 

What are the costs of independent living? 

silver and black stethoscope on 100 indian rupee bill

Since independent living can refer to so many different senior living arrangements, it only makes sense that costs vary. On average, seniors pay anywhere from $1,500 per month to $6,000 per month to live in a retirement or other independent living community. Keep in mind that this amount may also cover utilities and amenities, Which can make it a pretty good deal for seniors. 

When you’re ready to start looking for independent living or nursing homes, depending on your needs, sites like SeniorCare can help you locate a facility that’s within your budget. You can search based on your zip code and look at different facilities based on their ratings. It’s a good idea to have a loved one help you out with this process, as they may think of questions or concerns that don’t immediately come to mind.

How do seniors pay for independent living? 

In terms of paying these monthly fees, you can look at it as you would buying or renting a home in any other situation. This is how most communities work, and you will likely need to use your own income to cover costs associated with living there. Selling your home can help with costs and you can always do a little research into the local housing market before reaching out to a real estate professional. That way, you will have a better idea of the sort of price and timeline you can expect. 

What about seniors living on a fixed income? 

There’s no question that a $1,500 to $6,000 monthly expense can be overwhelming for many senior citizens. However, one aging study found that half of all seniors living alone do not have the income needed to cover routine living expenses. If you are living on a fixed income, you can see if there are government-funded senior housing options in your area. You can also look into different local organizations that assist underserved populations. 

Are there other resources available for seniors? 

woman in purple polo shirt wearing eyeglasses

According to the National Institute on Aging, isolation is a serious public health problem for older adults and seniors. Isolation can of course have negative mental health impacts, but there are physical health effects as well. You may be looking into independent living because you are trying to avoid loneliness, and making the transition can certainly help. If, however, you prefer to stay in your current home, you can look into additional community programs for seniors. 

When is it time to consider assisted living instead? 

If you are looking for more company or amenities to make your golden years more comfortable then independent living may be the right choice for you. However, if you are having trouble managing daily tasks, like getting dressed, taking medications, and making your own meals, an assisted living community may be a better fit. These activities are known as ADLs and can be challenging for many older adults. Assisted living can also be appropriate for health conditions. 

Moving homes is always a major transition, regardless of your age. Even so, making a move to independent living is not the same as transitioning into assisted living. You have so many more options and making this move can help you make the most of your golden years. You can sell your home and/or use your retirement income to help with independent living costs, but there may also be government or community programs available. Explore all your options, and don’t make a decision until you’re absolutely ready to do so.


Photo Credit: Pexels

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Importance of movement big or small: How activity keeps people healthy

Importance of movement

Importance of movement

Movement is essential no matter how big or small it is. We keep hearing this line from people, but most of us do not know WHY this is important.

 

Let’s have a closer look at this WHY.

 

Though our bodies are very much different from cars, let’s assume for some time that they are like cars. What happens to a vehicle if you do not drive it for a while? What happens if it remains in a place and does not move for a certain period? You know the answer. The same thing happens to our body if we do not move regularly like:

 

  • Our body tends to stiffen.
  • We start feeling pain and aches in different parts of our bodies.
  • We get prone to many diseases.
  • We might feel weak. 

 

And the list goes on.

Movement affects our body as a whole. It generates signals in our muscles and bones. These signals are then transferred to our brain. Movement helps in building strength and keeping our body fit. It keeps our body flexible, and at ease.

 

Besides improving strength and flexibility, moving our body has several other beneficial effects.  These effects are unknown to most people.

Movement and Joints’ Health

Did you know that the large joints in our body have a covering around it known as the capsule? This capsule contains a fluid called synovial fluid. Synovial fluid acts as a nourishing agent for our joints.

Our movement enhances the function of this fluid. It helps in reducing friction on articular cartilage.

The movement also increases blood circulation. Thus, exposing this synovial fluid to a constant blood supply and nourishment. A healthy synovial membrane protects our bones from friction which in turn protects our joints.

Movement and Blood Circulation

We all know that blood circulates in our bodies. Our heart pumps blood to all parts of our body via arteries which then goes to the heart via veins. These veins in our legs are present between muscles. When the muscles contract, it has a squeezing effect on the veins that push the blood towards the heart. Owing to this effect, some people experience swelling in their legs if they sit for a long time.

Movement and Blood Pressure & Cholesterol

High blood pressure and cholesterol levels can increase the risk of heart stroke. Movement, however, can help in lowering blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels.  Carrying out small exercises helps us to keep these diseases under control.

Movement and Blood Glucose

Here’s another reason for which you might want to exercise: your blood sugar level. Most of us are unaware of the fact that high sugar levels can have harmful effects on our eyes, kidneys, nerves, etc.

Importance of movement

Movement helps us to lower elevated levels of blood glucose and keeps you healthy.

There are several other benefits of movement so you can’t list them all here. All we need to do is to focus on the significant outcomes of moving to keep ourselves motivated. If you have not been moving or exercising for the past few days, months, or years, it’s time to do it now because

IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO START

How to care for Multiple Sclerosis Patients?

Multiple Sclerosis Patients

Multiple sclerosis is a serious health condition and a number of persons suffer from this disease. Before you learn how to care for a patient suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, you must first know how this disease affects your body.

Do you know how it affects the body? 

Multiple Sclerosis affects both the brain and spinal cord. Sclerosis means the hardening of tiny tissues, and Multiple is added to it because it affects both the brain and spinal cord. 

In MS, the immune system attacks the protective covering (myelin sheath) of nerve fiber and causes communication between the brain and the rest of the body. This disease can sometimes cause permanent damage to nerves.

The cause of Multiple sclerosis is still unknown, but according to many studies and research, genetics and environmental factors are responsible.

People with Multiple Sclerosis often feel numbness and weakness in limbs. Many people are unable to walk independently. The gait is also disturbed in such patients. The blurring of vision and slurred speech is also common in patients with multiple sclerosis.

Treatment Options

There is no cure for multiple sclerosis. Treatment is mainly focused on speeding the recovery from attack and slowing the progression of the disease.

Primary treatment options include

Medications

Medications do not cure the disease permanently. However, they reduce the symptoms of disease and prevent the relapse of illness.

  • Corticosteroids are used for the treatment of attacks of disease. It reduces nerve inflammation.
  • Interferon-beta medications are used to reduce the frequency of attacks.
  • Muscle relaxants are used to reduce the stiffness and spasm in the legs.
  • Medications like amantadine help to reduce the fatigue caused by Multiple sclerosis.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy has a significant role in modifying the symptoms of the disease:

  1. The Physical Therapist teaches you stretching and strengthening exercises.
  2. The Physical Therapist helps you to stay active.
  3. The Physical Therapist teaches you how to use assistive devices like a cane, walkers, etc. so that you can walk on the ground freely.

Care for Multiple sclerosis

Here are some tips that can make it easier to deal with patients with Multiple sclerosis

  • Balanced diet
  • Exercise
  • Avoid heat
  • Psychosocial therapy

Balanced Diet

care for Multiple Sclerosis Patients

As we all know, a balanced diet is crucial to living a healthy life. Everyone can get benefit from a nutritious diet, especially the patient with multiple sclerosis. There are no particular guidelines mentioned about eating. 

According to many types of research, eating a low-fat and vitamin-rich diet can benefit people with multiple sclerosis. Eating a healthy diet can help to maximize your energy levels and support your bowel and bladder movement. 

A better diet can help you avoid high cholesterol, high blood sugar, and abdominal fat, which can cause cardiovascular diseases.

Vitamin D also has potential benefits for Multiple sclerosis patients. For example, it can help reduce pain around joints which is a common symptom of multiple sclerosis.

Do you know? Using alcohol can worsens the condition of the patient with Multiple sclerosis. Patients with multiple sclerosis should also limit the use of alcohol as much as possible. The use of alcohol can intensify the symptoms of Multiple sclerosis, such as lack of coordination and walking difficulties.

Exercises

care for Multiple Sclerosis Patients

Exercises can offer many benefits to the patient with Multiple sclerosis. These benefits can range from mental to physical. Regular physical activity helps you to stay active and fit. Exercises can help you improve muscle strength, tone, balance, and coordination if you suffer from mild to moderate multiple sclerosis.

Do you know? 

Walking for 20-30 minutes can improve your gait and balance. Other activities like yoga, pilates can also improve the condition of the patient. The intensity and duration of exercise should depend upon the patient’s condition because, in multiple sclerosis patients, you feel great one day but tired the next day.

Some exercises that can help Multiple sclerosis patient and prevent relapse are here.

  • Working out in pools can be a great activity in treating multiple sclerosis patients. Swimming and walking in pools are effective for joint pain. Water belts and other equipment can be used depending upon the condition of the patient.
  • Strength training like wall squats can e performed to increase the strength of leg muscles, which helps improve the patient’s gait.
  • Wall push-ups can be performed to improve the strength of arms. This can be performed in a sitting or standing position.
  • Balance training is important for multiple sclerosis patients. Marching in place can be the best exercise for these patients as you are challenging your body by shifting weight from one side to the other.

Avoid Heat

When you have Multiple sclerosis, only a slight temperature rise can worsen your symptoms. As you know, multiple sclerosis can damage your protective sheath around nerve cells and slows down the signal. The heat can slow these signals even more.

People with MS should avoid

  • Taking hot baths
  • Going out in hot weather
  • Taking heavy meals

People who have multiple sclerosis should wear cooling collars when exercising. They should wear clothes made of cotton and linen that allow air to move freely, which helps to stay cool. Drink plenty of water.

Psychosocial therapy

care for Multiple Sclerosis Patients

People suffering from long-term illnesses are often stressed out. Mental health is vital no matter what you are going through. Multiple sclerosis is also included in diseases that cannot be cured completely. The patients are often depressed because they are unable to perform the daily tasks. Stress can trigger and can cause relapse.

The patient should learn techniques to reduce stress. They should understand that everything is not under your control.

Many techniques can help you calm things down. Close your eyes and try breathing exercises, take few deep breaths, and loosen your tense body. Let go of your tensions, rotate your head in a smooth circular motion, roll your shoulder, and relax completely.

It will help if you stay connected to your friends and family. Socializing can decrease many of your tensions and worries. Friends and family can support you in your hard time. As much you stay active and happy, your chances of relapse decrease.

 

 

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Multiple Sclerosis – What to Eat & What to Avoid

Multiple Sclerosis

We all know that managing multiple sclerosis is not an easy task. Everything from medications, performing exercises, and maintaining positive mental health becomes essential. However, while balancing physical activities, we often overlook the most important thing—our diet. 

Diet has a vital role in treating multiple sclerosis, which is why you must know what you should eat and what needs to be avoided. To understand the importance of diet in multiple sclerosis, you should first understand what happens in your body if you have multiple sclerosis.

What happens in Multiple Sclerosis?

Our body’s immune system is designed to fight the harmful organisms that attack our bodies, such as viruses, bacteria, etc. However, in Multiple Sclerosis, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own body, especially the widely distributed nerves in your body.

This attack by your body’s immune system damages the covering of the nerves, i.e., Myelin, and the function of these nerves is disrupted.

These nerves are responsible for many functions such as movement, vision, balance, etc., and when the nerve gets damaged, its function is affected. As the name (Multiple Sclerosis) indicates, this damage occurs at multiple sites in your body; hence different symptoms are seen, such as muscle weakness, loss of balance, visual problems, etc.

 

The connection between Diet and Multiple Sclerosis

As mentioned above, multiple sclerosis occurs when your body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the outer covering of your nerves, i.eMyelin, a diet that affects your immune system, also affects the progression of this disease.

  • Some diets support and protect your nerves (or nervous system), and they can help minimize the relapsing episodes.
  • Some vitamin deficiencies can weaken your nervous system, and they can indirectly worsen your symptoms.
  • A healthy diet improves the overall well-being, and hence the ability to fight several diseases together with multiple sclerosis is increased.
  • Some bacteria are naturally present in your gut, and they play a beneficial role in your body in several ways. Both healthy and unhealthy diets have effects on these bacteria.

As diet is closely linked with multiple sclerosis episodes and symptoms, one must be very careful in choosing his/her diet if one has multiple sclerosis.

Foods you should eat.

Now, when you understand the importance of diet in multiple sclerosis, let’s have a look at the foods you should eat.

white and green labeled cans

 

Probiotics and Prebiotics

As mentioned earlier, there are some beneficial bacteria present in your gut. These bacteria are responsible for breaking up food and nutrients, and they also help in the digestion process.

Probiotics are foods that contain these beneficial bacteria. Eating these foods increases the number of these beneficial bacteria in your body. These foods include

  • Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Sauerkraut
  • Fermented tea

A diet that promotes the growth of such beneficial bacteria in your gut is known as the probiotic diet. This type of diet mainly contains fiber. These foods include:

  • Garlic
  • Leeks
  • Onions
  • Asparagus
  • Artichokes

Fiber

The fiber in your diet helps nourish your gut bacteria, manages your blood cholesterol levels, and reduces the risks of obesity. Recommended foods for fiber are as follows.

  • Vegetables
  • Legumes (e.g. Lentils)
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Brown Rice
  • Whole grains

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential for improving bone health in multiple sclerosis patients. Vitamin D can be achieved by appropriate exposure to sunlight, but certain foods can also help gain it.

  • Fortified Dairy Products
  • Yogurt
  • Orange Juice
  • Egg Yolks

Vitamin B

Vitamin B or biotin has a vital role in minimizing the episodes of relapsing multiple sclerosis, and one can gain it by following foods.

  • Eggs
  • Yeast
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Almonds
  • Spinach
  • Whole-wheat bread

Others

Other important components of a beneficial diet for multiple sclerosis patients include fruits, vegetables, herbs, polyunsaturated fatty acids, antioxidants, etc.

Foods you should avoid

Just like some foods protect and support your nervous system, some foods have a terrible effect on your already compromised nervous system in multiple sclerosis patients.

Besides this, some foods are not suitable for your muscles and bone health, and as they are already weakened in multiple sclerosis, you should avoid these foods.

Let’s have a look at the foods you need to avoid if you have multiple sclerosis.

Saturated Fats

Multiple Sclerosis

Unlike polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA’s), foods containing saturated fats are not suitable for health, especially for those already fighting neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Foods with a high amount of saturated fats are as follows.

  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Palm and coconut oil
  • Red meat, etc.

Sodium

A high amount of sodium in the body can result in elevated blood pressure (hypertension), and hypertension can increase heart disease and stroke risks.

A study done in 2015 showed that people with multiple sclerosis who have high sodium levels in their bodies are more prone to experience relapsing symptoms of this disease. [1]

Foods containing high levels of sodium are as follows.

  • Salted or canned meat
  • Fish
  • Chicken
  • Sausages
  • Canned entrees
  • Beets

Sugary Foods     

Multiple Sclerosis

Just like a high amount of salt is not suitable for your body, foods containing a high amount of sugar also negatively affect your well-being.

A high amount of sugar or glucose in your body can affect the nerves in your body (neuropathy) and decrease their function. As nerves are already damaged in multiple sclerosis, a high amount of sugar in the body can be damaging to your health.

Foods containing a high amount of sugar are as follows.

  • Ketchup
  • Yogurt
  • Chocolate
  • Cola
  • Fruit Juice
  • BBQ sauce

Fried Foods

Foods fried in a high amount of oil can also be damaging to the health of multiple sclerosis patients. In addition, when a person has a neurological disease and their body is busy fighting that condition, chances of getting affected by other diseases are also increased.

Multiple Sclerosis

Oily and fried foods increase the amount of bad cholesterol in the body. This increased cholesterol can result in several heart diseases. It can also result in stroke if the blood supply of your brain is interrupted or blocked.

Most commonly used fried foods include fish, fries, chicken strips, and cheese sticks, but a person can deep fry any food.

Final Words

If you have multiple sclerosis, you should eat foods beneficial for your nervous and musculoskeletal (muscles and bones) system and avoid foods that can increase the risks of other diseases.

REFERENCES

1. Riccio, P. and R. Rossano, Nutrition facts in multiple sclerosis. ASN neuro, 2015. 7(1): p. 1759091414568185.

 

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A Senior’s Guide to Thriving When Transitioning to Assisted Living

Guide to Thriving

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This is the kind of content you can expect from the NewGait. Visit our blog for more.

Making the transition from your home to an assisted living facility can be difficult. However, this move can benefit you in many ways. Leisure Care explains that this shift can help seniors avoid a decline in health and combat feelings of loneliness, for instance. There are steps you can take to ensure you thrive in your new environment. It’s important to commit to your health and happiness to ensure you can enjoy your later years.

Read on to discover what steps you can take to ensure a seamless transition from your old home to your new assisted living community.

Prepare for the move well in advance

Don’t rush the move to assisted living. Research facilities thoroughly before choosing one. Consider practical elements like location, as well as extras that will help maintain your health. For example, some assisted living communities offer exercise courses. Before you move, you also need to decide what to do with your old home. Find out how much you can get for selling your house using an online calculator like this one from Redfin.

Decorate your new space to make it feel like home

You want to feel emotionally at ease in your new space. When you’re preparing for the move, pack a box of some essential comfort items like a favorite throw blanket and family photos. When you arrive in your new space, you can unpack this box immediately to settle in. Aging Care offers more tips for making an assisted living space feel like home, like decluttering beforehand to make for an easier move.

Enjoy healthy meals with other residents and caregivers

Many communities offer meals for residents, giving you an opportunity to get to know your new neighbors. Sticking to regular mealtimes is especially important for seniors, who tend to have slower metabolisms — meaning, they must get more nutrients while eating smaller portions. The National Council on Aging provides nutrition tips that can help guide your meal choices, emphasizing the need for lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains.

Take advantage of exercise opportunities to maintain mobility and independence

In addition to meals, many assisted living communities also offer opportunities for exercise. Take advantage of these courses. According to BioMed Research International, regular physical activity is essential for healthy aging. If you have mobility issues, the NewGait can help you get back on your feet. This physical therapy device helps promote better walking, building strength, balance, and coordination.

Socialize with other residents to stay mentally sharp

When you go to meals or take part in exercise courses at your assisted living community, make a point to socialize with others. Actively engaging with people helps to maintain mental acuity with age. Further, feelings of isolation or loneliness can cause health issues like depression, anxiety, and hypertension. A lack of socialization is also linked to a greater risk of Alzheimer’s Disease, according to Senior Lifestyle.

Invite visitors to help you mingle

If you’re shy, you may have trouble taking steps to integrate with your assisted living community. Even striking up a conversation in an exercise class or over a meal can be tough. Call on friends or family to help. A visitor can be a great way to spark up a conversation — all you have to do is introduce them to others. They can then help facilitate the discussion. Check your community’s guidelines in case there are visitation restrictions.

Take advantage of opportunities to try something new

In addition to regular exercise courses and meals, your assisted living community may host special events, holiday get-togethers, and educational courses. When you have an opportunity to try something new, take it! Harvard Health Publishing explains that novel experiences challenge your brain and maintain mental acuity. Plus, you never know if you’ll discover a new hobby that you can enjoy in the future.

Give yourself time to adjust emotionally 

Even if you follow all of the above steps, you may find yourself experiencing emotional ups and downs as you settle into your new assisted living community. Don’t be afraid to reach out for emotional support. The National Institute of Mental Health provides a comprehensive guide to senior mental health, including how to recognize warning signs of issues like anxiety and depression. A mental health professional can provide guidance if needed.

Making the change and moving from your old home to a new assisted living community isn’t always easy. However, it will benefit your emotional and physical health in the long run. The above guide explains how to ensure a seamless transition.

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