I was left speechless when I faced this question from a recent client. I'm not normally speechless. Don't get me wrong, I am careful with my words. But speechless is not a term that often describes me. "I don't know." was all I could come up with as my client was near tears. I was gutted. This lovely woman is now confined to a wheelchair, and it seems this didn't need to be the case. At least not this soon in her battle against Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
MS is not a diagnosis I like to hear people have. The human body attacks its own nervous system breaking down the insulating cover that keeps nerves communicating quickly and efficiently. This process is progressive in nature. Initially, "flares" occur resulting in a change in function, strength, and/or sensation. In most cases, in the beginning of the disease people can regain function and return to pretty close to "normal" with the right medical and rehabilitative therapies. But as time goes on, less recovery occurs and a gradual march toward disability ensues. MS can attack any nerve, anywhere in the body - so, no two cases of MS are the same.
Initially, my client sought me out to address nerve pain she was having in her jaw. Because I was treating her pain in her home where she lives and functions every day, I was able to see warning signs of future trouble. She was at risk for developing multiple "secondary complications" - in other words, things that would eventually happen as a result of how her body was responding to MS not as a direct result of MS itself. I was certain she likely didn't know about these risks and the outcomes that could ensue. She's a smart, driven, independent woman. People who are smart, driven, and independent fight hard to prevent complications in any realm of life. So, I treaded lightly... careful with my words. As I discussed what I was observing and my concerns for how the future might look if she continues on her current path, she became visibly disconcerted. And that's when the question came... the question I didn't have an answer to, and the question that left me speechless.
"Why hasn't anyone else told me these things?"
MS is a complex and dynamic disease. Each person has their own experience with it. Each person has their own risk factors for their disability to progress faster than it needs to. Each person also has their own risk factors for secondary complications that will also progress their disability faster than it needs to. It Matters has the knowledge and experience to recognize these risk factors and act proactively to prevent disease and disability progression. Actually, it's one of our primary goals -
to see what you can't/don't and empower you to take control of your future.
We see and treat your primary concern, but also see and treat your big picture. This allows you to have greater odds in your fight against MS.
My client was not currently experiencing or hadn't recently experience a "flare" when we started working together. The disease was stable. This is typically when people with MS feel they don't need physical therapy. But it's one of the best times to seek it out. During times of stability, gains can be achieved and preparations for the next flare can be made. After her jaw pain was under control, we began working on addressing my client's risk factors - the ones she didn't know she had. In doing so, she reduced the time it took to perform ALL transfers by more than 50%. She gained confidence in her ability to move and control of her body. She is more prepared for the next time MS strikes. All of this because It Matters had the expertise to see the potential problems ahead, educate her on those potential problems, and train her to fight against them... when no one else had.
If you have MS, research shows you should be working with a physical therapist whether you're in the middle of a flare, a time of recovery, or a time of stability. Each of the three phases requires a different focus, but with the goal to always help you maintain as much control of your future and confidence in your mobility as possible.
Let the neurologic experts at It Matters help keep you on track in your fight against MS in a way no one else has!
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It Matters Neurologic Rehabilitation