s you may know, March and Multiple Sclerosis have more than just their first letter in common. March also marks National Multiple Sclerosis Education and Awareness Month; and during this month various walks and other events occur around the country to raise awareness and funds for research to benefit the
estimated 400,000 people in the US living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) today.
Here at the Neuroscience Centers of Florida Foundation (NSCFF) we would like to honor National MS Education and Awareness month by sharing information about MS and the resources we provide to those living with MS in South Florida.
Multiple Sclerosis is defined as a "chronic, typically progressive, disease involving damage to the sheaths of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, whose symptoms may include numbness, impairment of speech and of muscular coordination, blurred vision, and severe fatigue." Sadly, MS is commonly diagnosed in younger people, between ages 20 and 50, severely affecting their quality of life and leading to disability at a young age.
There is still no known cause of MS, and symptoms can manifest themselves in both physical and cognitive ways, with attacks occurring in repeated, isolated incidents or progressing and building up over time. This means that a diagnosis can be difficult to reach, as patients with MS may display intermittent or vastly different symptoms throughout the course of the disease.
Researchers are making great strides in their efforts to find a cure for MS, but in the meantime, it is our philosophy that the best way we can help provide for the unmet needs of MS patients is through social services and education. To that end, in collaboration with others in our community we have developed therapy programs, established support groups, and made other resources available specifically for the MS population:
- Therapeutic Aquatics Class: MS can often lead to difficulty moving, but "our own experience has shown that people living with MS can make remarkable strides when participating in an aquatic physical therapy program...those with balance and coordination issues find it easier - and safer-to exercise in water."1
- The NSCFF Circle: This is a unique opportunity for those with MS and their loved one/ caregiver to partake in monthly meetings for sharing, venting, and supporting one another. Led by a Social Worker and held on the last Wednesday of every month, this is an excellent network and support system.
- Wellness Programs: Adaptive Yoga and Dance/ Music Therapy- there's no limit to what you can do! These programs, funded by the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, are held at Saint Matthews the Apostle Church and have a range of topics and activities.
- Check the NSCFF Calendar for all our programs and events!
Wherever you are in your MS Journey, you aren't alone. We are here for you, and we hope that you will join us as we coordinate the comprehensive care you deserve.
Les Littman, Aquahab Physical Therapy