I just went for my PT evaluation today, and found out something interesting. My knee keeps buckling, and it's been a constant problem since 2007. After pushing and pulling on various bits, the therapist found that it's my hamstring and hip flexor that's so weak. That makes a lot of sense! My ankle is weak too, but the knee is what's giving me the most trouble. I could feel it getting tired, but until today I couldn't identify what was so fatigued.
My old neuro (the one I always complain about) thought that PT wouldn't do me any good. And when it comes to making the hamstring or hip flexor stronger, I'm probably out of luck. (Just my guess, but I was lifting weights during 2007, and found that doing the hamstring lift got VERY difficult.) But my PT suggested a knee brace to help strengthen the joint, and I think it's a good idea. After a day of trying to keep my knee from buckling (and turning my foot out, because it buckles less when I walk like a duck) my hip and leg feel very fatigued. We're also going to try some exercises to strengthen the muscles that help...
So I'm optimistic about all this, and angry at the same time that a neurologist would suggest that I not bother with trying to regain mobility.
I tried PT not for mobility but for the pain in my left *%&#*! hand. They tried TENS and strengthening exercises. It didn't help at all. In fact for the duration of the sessions and for a few hours afterwards, the pain was worsened, then after a while it would return to its usual painful, numb, burning, constricted, crushing, prickly state. I had no expectation it would help, and neither did the PT' she was very up front about that. We proceeded only to go through the motions based on the recommendation of my MS nurse. Actually when she made the suggestion, after I reported that none of the meds were giving me much relief, I asked her how PT could have a therapeutic effect when the pain was due to spinal lesions/misfiring neurons/whatever. She seemed caught off guard by the question and wasn't able to explain how this would work, but said I should try it anyway. I felt like she was just telling me anything to get me off the phone, like, don't bother me with all your intelligent questions for which I have no answers. When I saw my neuro later that summer, he was blunt/ honest: no, PT won't help your paresthesias, the meds won't provide much relief, and that's the way it is, it's something you have to learn to live with. Sadly, he's right. But I'd rather be told the truth as unpleasant as it is, than be bothered with yet another medical appt that isn't going to help me.
If my problem was weakness - in hand, leg, back, whatever - I would absolutely give PT a try.
I'm just finishing up with my PT. I have about 2 sessions left. I can't say that it helped at all, but they did hook me up with an AFO for my foot drop and gave me some good stretches, although when I do the stretches, I end up in worse pain with worse spasms, so....
They are going to let me go for awhile and will treat me again in a few months, so we'll see. I'll give them another shot. While I DO feel worse most times I see them, it may just be because I'm using muscle I haven't used properly in a long time and they are stretching out my leg muscles that seem to be in constant spasm.
I had PT in 2006 when my right leg wasn't working right at all. They tied my foot to the pedal of the incline bike with a towel. Ha! I learned streatching, different leg lifts. Started slow with trying to stand on toes and heels while holding on of course. It helped some. I never did get where I could walk with feet forward. I still do the exercises that I can. Nowhere near what I use to, but I think it still helps to keep me moving at all.
My middle name should be PT...lol...but I have my limits. I don't allow a PT to set my goals for me. I set my own. Sometimes I have to go back and set them again. I take what I learn home. If it helps I continue. If I don't see results I move on.
I think one of the biggest problems with PT is that the PT "thinks" they have a power over the patient. They don't seem to listen to the limits that a patient will set for themselves. I will remind them and if they become difficult for me to work with I find another. There is no excuse in my book for someone to think they know my body better than I do.
We should not be quiet. Our voices should be heard. I will say without PT I doubt I would be able to do the little I can still do. We would be foolish to totally dismiss it as a true medical need.
My neuro told me PT was a waste of time so I found a stroke rehab PT who accepted me as a patient.
We didn't work on strength or flexibility specifically but we did A LOT of balance and co ordination work. I progressed from barely being able to walk even with a walker to being able to do a flight of stairs using a cane. I have had far fewer falls since the rehab.
That was 18 months ago and unfortunately time marches on and my disease has progressed and I'm very close to being wheelchair bound now but I still practice some of the tips I got about keeping myself safe.
I'm currently going to two different types of PT. One for spasticity, gait, & balance and the other one for spasticity in my pelvic floor that limits my bathroom evacuation. The pelvic floor PT started in mid Nov and the other one started near the beginning of Dec. Since my symptoms started about 3 yrs ago, this is the 1st neuro that had even mentioned PT for me.
When I started the PTs, I also thought what they found was interesting. They said my adductor muscles are only about 2.5 out of 5 on the strength test, and my left ankle is weak, and my hip flexors are tight & weak, and of course my hamstrings are really tight - not sure if that also makes them weak, too. My pelvic floor muscles biofeedback show that my muscle tone in that area ranges from 5-10 mcv when it's only supposed to be about 1.5 mcv.
I think both PTs are at least helping a little bit for me. I have 60 visits approved as of right now. But then again, they also have increased my Baclofen to 80mg/day & I started Klonopin at night, so I'm sure both of these have added to the benefit that I'm getting.
I hope the PT helps you. At least you're getting the opportunity to try.
I would love PT but it like most treatment I cannot afford.
UNC through the NMSS Society has a pilot program for PT students to Specialize in MS. No other PT program in the country has this specialization. Many PTs really do not totally understand MS. Six students have graduated. Luckily most have stayed to work for local hospitals. Duke has two and I wish I had the money for the out of pocket to go to one. I do take advantage of all the general free stuff the Student's in the program do for the society.
With funding from the NMSS the program will hopefully expand to other university PT programs in the Carolinias and then expand nationwide.
I do PT exercises I learned years ago before diagnosis for my back on my own. I also do general stretches and core building and balance. Riding is my best PT for all of that.
I am in great favor of PT and would prefer it over pills.
I have been seeing the same physical therapist for 4 years. He has been a life saver! I go to PT once a week for an hour. We work on strengthening my weak leg muscles, stretching (for spasticity) and balance. Best of all he has given me a home program of things I can work out at home. It has helped me a lot!
Started pt 10 days after my dx and wish I had done it sooner! I have seen an improvement in my mobility and my stamina - I do not get as fatigued as I used to. I would never have walked on an open area without assistance and now I can do that more and more. Actually now use a cane rather than crutches and an working towards not needing to use anything.
I am very lucky regarding cost as well. My insurance covers 80% and when I told the pt office I could not afford 3x's a week at 20% they asked if I could commit to 3x's a week they would take care of the rest. I have not had to pay anything. And when the number of visits my insurance covers - 60 per year - is used up they will pay for the entire thing if I still need it.
Thanks, guys! I see her on Wednesday for the actual therapy, so we'll see how it goes. I was relieved to hear that the PT had the same goals as I did - improvement of my balance issues, and doing something about my weak right knee.
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