A to Z of MS
Click on the relevant link for more information on a topic.
A to Z of MS Weakness
Weakness is a common symptom in multiple sclerosis. Weakness can be a direct result of MS, caused by poor transmission of messages by damaged nerves, mainly within the spinal cord. This process can create a cycle of decline, as an already weak muscle that is not used will become weakened further.
For many years people with MS were advised to avoid exercise due to the impact it could have on weakness and fatigue. It is now felt that exercise is beneficial if it works on gently building up endurance and strength in muscles without increasing fatigue.
Weakness can be a contributing factor in other MS symptoms. Weakness in both legs (paraparesis) or in one leg (monoparesis) can lead to problems with walking and balance. A lack of strength can make bowel symptoms worse. Weakness and fatigue are closely linked and the one often worsens the other.
Management of weakness
- Many of the techniques of fatigue management are also applicable when treating weakness, such as prioritising activities and conserving energy where possible.
- A physiotherapist might help the individual develop appropriate strengthening exercises.
- An occupational therapist can advise on aids and adaptations that make the most of available strength and ability.