Physical and occupational therapists

Physical therapists:
A physical therapist (or physiotherapist [PT]) is a professional whose role is to help people improve or maintain their ability to move and participate in physical activities. MS can cause a variety of symptoms that may affect these abilities, including spasticity, coordination problems, muscle weakness, balance problems, and numbness.

Because the physical effects of MS vary between people, your physical therapist will do an individual assessment for you. Then, he or she will design a personalized program to help you improve or maintain your physical function. This program can involve exercises, stretching, and possibly the use of assistive devices.

Physical therapy can help people with MS improve their balance, flexibility, stamina, and mobility. Talk to your physician about whether physical therapy might be helpful for you.

Occupational therapists:
Occupational therapists (OTs) are professionals who help people find better or easier ways to perform their activities of daily living at home and work. Activities of daily living are activities that a person needs to do in order to care for themselves, including using the toilet, bathing or showering, eating, dressing, and getting in and out of bed. OTs can also help make other activities easier, such as driving, cooking, or housekeeping.

What sorts of things might an OT recommend?

Assistive devices: OTs are experts on assistive devices such as lifts, hoists, grab bars, pen and pencil grips, and button hooks.

Home/office modifications: OTs can recommend ways to modify your household or workplace to make it easier for you to do your activities. Modifications may include roll-in showers (for people in wheelchairs), ramps, lifts, railings, or wider doorways.

Activities and exercises: OTs can also recommend exercises to improve coordination, strength, and flexibility. This can make it easier to do your activities of daily living.

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