What is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a nervous system disease that affects your brain and spinal cord. It damages the myelin sheath, the material that surrounds and protects your nerve cells. This damage slows down or blocks messages between your brain and your body, leading to the symptoms of MS. They can include
- Visual disturbances
- Muscle weakness
- Trouble with coordination and balance
- Sensations such as numbness, prickling, or “pins and needles”
- Thinking and memory problems
No one knows what causes MS. It may be an autoimmune disease, which happens when your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake. Multiple sclerosis affects women more than men. It often begins between the ages of 20 and 40. Usually, the disease is mild, but some people lose the ability to write, speak, or walk.
Muscular Atrophy due to Multiple Sclerosis
Atrophy is the progressive degeneration or shrinkage of muscle or nerve tissue. In multiple sclerosis (MS), two types of atrophy are common: muscle atrophy (due to disuse of specific muscles) and brain or cerebral atrophy (due to demyelination and destruction of nerve cells).
When a person complains of muscle weakness, the doctor checks muscles for bulk and texture and for tenderness. Muscles are also checked for twitches and involuntary movements, which may indicate a nerve disease rather than a muscle disease. Doctors look for wasting away of muscle (atrophy), which can result from damage to the muscle or its nerves or from lack of use (disuse atrophy), as sometimes occurs with prolonged bed rest. Doctors also look for muscle enlargement (hypertrophy), which normally occurs with an exercise such as weight lifting. However, when a person is ill, hypertrophy may result from one muscle working harder to compensate for the weakness of another.
Cerebral atrophy is a common feature of many of the diseases that affect the brain. Atrophy of any tissue means loss of cells. In brain tissue, atrophy describes a loss of neurons and the connections between them. Atrophy can be generalized, which means that all of the brain has shrunk or it can be focal, affecting only a limited area of the brain. The result of this type of atrophy can be a decrease of function in the affected area of the brain. If the cerebral hemispheres are affected, conscious thought and voluntary processes may be impaired.
Types of Atrophy
There are two types of muscle atrophy. The first type is disuse atrophy which occurs from a lack of physical exercise. In most people, muscle atrophy is caused by not using the muscles enough. People with sedentary jobs, medical conditions that limit their movement, or decreased activity levels can lose muscle tone and develop atrophy. Those who are bedridden can have significant muscle wasting. This type of atrophy can usually be reversed through exercise and/or better nutrition.
The second and most severe type of muscle atrophy is neurogenic atrophy. It occurs when there is an injury to, or disease of a nerve such as MS. This type of muscle atrophy tends to occur more suddenly than disuse atrophy. This type of atrophy can’t usually be reversed since there is actual physical damage to the nerve.
Walnut Medical Walk-Ex may be been used as a form of physical therapy that applies electrical muscle stimulation via small electrical impulses to nerves and muscles in an effort to cause involuntary muscle contractions. The electrical impulses are sent by electrodes placed on your skin over the muscle or muscles.
Foot Drop is very common in MS patients and may be managed using Walnut Medical Walkex, meet a Walnut Medical trained medical consultant today.