Multiple sclerosis: It’s a condition many of us have heard of but aren’t necessarily familiar with. Let’s talk about what it is, what its symptoms are, and how you can use electric muscle stimulation (EMS) to treat multiple sclerosis.
What is Multiple Sclerosis?
According to Healthline, multiple sclerosis is “a chronic illness involving your central nervous system.” The disease causes the immune system to attack myelin (the body’s protective layer around nerve fibers), which then causes inflammation and lesions, or scarring, in the central nervous system. Lesions can sometimes heal themselves. Other times, the damage can’t be reversed.
Because it impacts your central nervous system, multiple sclerosis makes it difficult for your brain to send signals to your entire body. Things you used to do without thought suddenly seem impossible, which can be the cause of one of the most common symptoms: difficulty walking.
Difficulty walking might be due to fatigue (another very common symptom of MS), visual or cognitive issues, or coordination, weakness, poor balance, numbness, or spasms caused by damaged nerve pathways. More on this in a minute.
Other multiple sclerosis symptoms include:- Numbness
- Stiffness paired with muscle spasms
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Vision problems
- Bowel and bladder problems
Among the plethora of symptoms, there are also less common symptoms that can appear later in the illness. These include speech problems, tremors, breathing and swallowing problems, seizures, and even hearing loss.
Healthline states that MS can vary from person to person. Actually, there are different established types: clinically isolated syndrome (CIS), relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), primary progressive MS (PPMS), and secondary progressive MS (SPMS).
In clinically isolated syndrome (CIS), one episode of symptoms lasts for at least a day. In relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), there are clear relapses of illness activity followed by remissions. The symptoms are not as intense and sometimes not present during the remission periods.
The neurological symptoms progressively become worse in primary progressive MS (PPMS), and when RRMS transitions into a progressive form, it then turns into secondary progressive MS (SPMS).
Because multiple sclerosis looks different for everybody, the treatment plan for a person experiencing a certain type of MS may not work for another who’s going through a different type. Just one approach does not fit all.
However, research has continued to search for ways to alleviate the symptoms, and many medical professionals agree that electric muscle stimulation can help with one symptom in particular: difficulty walking.
How to Use Electric Muscle Stimulation for Multiple Sclerosis
According to Healthline, using EMS to treat MS was actually seen back in the 1985 movie First Steps. However, experts back then scoffed at how it suggested that electric muscle stimulation is an effective treatment for people with the condition.
Fast forward to today. Now, studies suggest that electric muscle stimulation can help people struggling with multiple sclerosis in specific ways. In fact, Healthline shared that while the idea of using electric muscle stimulation only gave those suffering false hope in the past, EMS is now a viable treatment option for those battling MS.
According to the International Functional Electrical Stimulation Society (IFESS), the use of electric muscle stimulation will be different depending on the type and the symptoms. Also worth noting is that for it to work, the nerve fibers between the muscles and the spinal cord can’t be damaged.
How Specifically Can EMS Help Alleviate the Symptoms of MS?
We’ve seen pro athletes and everyday gym-goers using electric muscle stimulation. What can it do for people with MS, though?
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society states that the application of a mild electrical stimulus to the muscle can help it move better. Electrical stimulation treatment can provide an external nudge to make the muscle contract, which can be helpful in countering the nerve damage caused by MS.
This is how it can help individuals walk. Electric muscle stimulation causes contractions in muscles that otherwise can’t be controlled. Research suggests that stimulation can help people walk faster, farther, and with more confidence (although to be clear, further studies are needed).
EMS is also good for alleviating pain and spasms in the muscles — two more symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
Think about the videos you’ve seen of electric muscle stimulation in action. The individual applies it to their muscle, which then twitches involuntarily.
It’s this same process that can help people with MS wake up their own muscles and gain more control over walking again.
The Many Other Benefits of Electric Muscle Stimulation
The power of EMS doesn’t end there. According to the International Functional Electrical Stimulation Society (IFESS), electrical stimulation can also improve muscle strength, mobility, recovery, and healing after injury. Because it promotes blood circulation, this allows EMS to further promote muscle recovery.
Mobility will be of particular importance for people who work at a desk, take long flights, or are otherwise confined to a chair or bed. Poor mobility is a common cause of muscle tightness, strains, and injuries. Both very active and very sedentary people can encounter problems with mobility, so making electric muscle stimulation a part of your everyday lifestyle offers great rewards. You can even use it while you exercise.
EMS is proving to be an aid not just in the fight against the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, but also as a tool to maintain better health in general.
How PowerDot Can Help
There are now several devices that cater to people who suffer from MS or want to utilize the benefits of EMS for other reasons. They come in all shapes, sizes, and forms, and they all have varying efficacy.
PowerDot offers electric muscle stimulation in the form of a small and lightweight pod that’s connected to circular pads. The device is compact, portable, and TSA-friendly, making it an excellent travel companion. Best yet, while devices were initially only used in medical offices, we’ve made it affordable and accessible for everyone.
Whether you’re an athlete competing at a national level or a mom of five wanting to take better care of her body, whether you’re perfectly healthy or struggle with multiple sclerosis, PowerDot can help.
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If you are a medical professional interested in using PowerDot for your clients please reference medical.powerdot.com.
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