Multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory disease that affects the central nervous system. It causes the immune system to attack the myelin sheath, the protective coating around nerve fibres, which allows signals to transmit quickly.

MS leads to impaired function, in some cases with acute “flare-ups”. The disease progresses in proportion to the rate of new lesions in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).

Causes

There is no specific cause that triggers multiple sclerosis. It is assumed that the combination of various factors leads to the disease and is referred to as multifactorial development.

In multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune reaction against the myelin sheath develops. The myelin sheath insulates the nerve cells of the human body and ensures that information is passed quickly through the nerve pathways. If the myelin sheath is defective, the nerves do not send the information properly and dysfunctions occur in the body.

Symptoms

MS symptoms develop due to sites of demyelinated lesions or inflammation, which can occur in all fibre pathways of the central nervous system.

Symptoms of MS include:

  • Impaired limb and core motor function
  • Reduced fine motor skills
  • Cramps and spasms
  • Blurred vision, usually in one eye
  • Double vision (diplopia)
  • Sensory problems
  • Fatigue
  • Problems with balance
  • Pain

Treatment

There is currently no cure for MS. However, there are various treatment options to inhibit relapses, to keep the course symptom free and to stop the progression of the disease.

Physiotherapy

  • Maintain joint mobility
  • Maintain motor response
  • Improve coordination and posture
  • Increase core stability
  • Improve gait

Occupational therapy

  • Maintain maximum independence for personal hygiene, bathing, dressing, etc.
  • Teach safe transfer techniques, particularly sitting to sitting
  • Improve both superficial and deep sensory issues, such as tingling
  • Improve coordination of voluntary movements: fine motor skills, coordination of both hands, agility, strength and endurance
  • Writing exercises to improve coordination
  • Adapt the home environment to improve quality of life
  • Help to manage fatigue

Tailored physical activity programmes

  • Teach techniques to manage exertion and fatigue
  • Stimulate coordination of the lower/upper limbs (e.g., pilates, basketball, aerobics, dance, etc.)
  • Help to make sport and exercise enjoyable again

Neuropsychological rehabilitation

Neuropsychology makes use of remaining abilities in order to rehabilitate and/or compensate for impaired cognitive skills.

Neuropsychological therapy mainly focuses on improving:

  • Memory skills
  • Executive functions (i.e., multitasking, planning daily tasks, etc.)
  • Attention disorders (i.e., speed of information processing)

In order to achieve this, several approaches are used, such as:

  • Games focused on cognitive skills
  • Specific computer software tools (RehaCom, iGerip, Cogniplus®)
  • Paper-and-pencil exercises

Speech and language therapy

Speech and language therapy sessions mainly focus on improving speech and voice function as well as swallowing disorders.

Sessions cover a wide range of activities, including:

  • Speech exercises
  • Oral motor exercises
  • Vocal exercises
  • Food therapy (adapting food textures, techniques for protecting the airway, etc.)

Our speech and language therapists can also develop alternative means of communication to help patients interact more with their family and friends.

Clinics with this specialty

Find a doctor

Our specialists have many years of experience. We guarantee a quick, professionally competent clarification and consultation as well as treatment according to the most modern possibilities.