Stretching for people with MS, Stretching

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Staying Well
Stretching for People with MS
An Illustrated Manual
For Information: 1-800-FIGHT-MS
nationalmssociety.org
Beth E. Gibson, PT, has a certificate in physical therapy
from the Mayo School of Health Related Science in
Rochester, Minnesota. She has been working with people
with MS for 11 years.
Special thanks to Susan Kushner, MS, PT, and Cinda
Hugos, MS, PT, for their valuable assistance.
Drawings by iMageWorx. Some of these drawings originally
appeared in
Multiple Sclerosis: A Self-Care Guide to
Wellness
, published in 1998 by Paralyzed Veterans of
America, Inc. They are reproduced here with the kind
permission of PVA, Inc.
Reviewed by members of the Client Education Committee of
the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Medical Advisory
Board.
© 2004 National Multiple Sclerosis Society
Stretching for People with MS
An Illustrated Manual
by Beth E. Gibson, PT
TABLE OF CONTENTS
G
ENERAL INTRODUCTION
.............................................................3
S
OME PRECAUTIONS
,
BOTH OBVIOUS AND NOT SO OBVIOUS
...........5
H
EAD AND NECK EXERCISES
........................................................6
S
HOULDER EXERCISES
BASIC
.....................................................................................7
AS A FLOW
..............................................................................9
E
LBOW AND FOREARM EXERCISES
.............................................10
H
AND AND WRIST EXERCISES
.....................................................11
T
RUNK AND HIP EXERCISES
.......................................................14
A
NKLE AND FOOT EXERCISES
.....................................................17
S
ITTING COORDINATION AND BALANCE
........................................19
P
OSITIONING FOR SPASTICITY
....................................................20
I
NDEX OF SPECIAL TERMS
..........................................................24
2
Stretching for People with MS
GENERAL INTRODUCTION
Everyone with MS, regardless of his or her degree of ability or disability,
needs regular physical activity. Lack of exercise has serious health conse-
quences, ranging from constipation to increasing the risk of heart disease.
Just as important, good exercise programs not only prevent problems,
they promote a sense of achievement and well-being.
This booklet focuses on basics to move and gently stretch muscles and
tendons, on your own, at your own pace. For the purposes of this book,
the familiar term “stretching” is used, though most of these exercises are,
technically, range of motion activities. Exercise can be broken down into
five categories, one of which is relaxation. All are important to people
with MS.
Flexibility
—stretching the muscle and tendon to its full length and
moving the joint through its full range. These activities decrease muscle
tightness and prevent loss of full range of motion which may occur with
decreased activity, weakness, or spasticity. Unaddressed, such loss can
lead to joint contractures that painfully “freeze” joints into a single
position.
Strengthening
—increasing the force or power of the muscle. Strength
can be increased by lifting a limb up against gravity, lifting weights, or by
working against resistance such as walls, weights, or rubber tubing.
Strengthening exercises can help reduce fatigue.
Endurance
—improving heart and lung function. Aerobic exercise
makes the heart and lungs work harder and builds endurance, reduces
the risk of heart disease, and helps manage weight and cholesterol
levels. Walking, swimming, or using a stationary bike are forms of
endurance activities.
Balance and coordination
—improving quality and safety of move-
ment. Rhythmic hand or foot exercises and specific standing activities,
usually with directions from a physical therapist, can improve balance
and coordination.
3
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