The highest incidence of MS is among Caucasian people who live in Northern or extreme Southern latitudes or who lived there for the first 15 years of life. It is generally diagnosed in patients somewhere between 20 and 40 years old. Women are diagnosed with the disease approximately twice as frequently as men. It affects about 300 thousand Americans, with about nine thousand new diagnosis each year.
What happens in the body?
Ms often works in cycles of inflammatory flares followed by periods of remission. During flares the myelin sheath is damaged The myelin sheath is the outer layer of the nerves that is the conductor of the nerve impulse from the brain to the muscles The inflammatory flares are probably by specific types white blood cells, and is replaced by scar tissue, MS usually affects the optic nerve, brain stem, cerebellum, and spinal cord. During remission, inflammation subsides and some regeneration of the myelin sheath may occur. In this way, MS patients usually may lose some neurological function during flares, but regain some or all of it during remission. The cause of causes of MS remain a mystery. Leading theories suggest that a combination of factors is at work: exposure to some pathogen that stimulates an ongoing immune system attack, environmental factors, and genetic predisposition may all be part of the picture.
MS, How does it progress?
Relapse/remitting Definite periods of flare are followed by long periods of remission. Years may pass between episodes, This is the most common pattern.
Primary progressive Patients show a steady decline in function: episodes of flare are frequent
Benign MS Patients has only on flare in their lifetime
Malignant MS: This is a rapidly progress form of the disease, with little respite if any between flares.
MS, How does Massage Therapy Help?
Massage Therapy can have profoundly positive results. By working specifically with antagonistic muscle groups yields exciting results by using techniques to open and stretch muscles to increase muscle function and to reduce inflammation by helping the lymphatic drainage and by increasing the blood flow to reduce muscle cramping The touch also helps to decrease the constant increase of muscle tension.
As time goes on it is also helpful to become aware of repetitive holding patterns and compensations made by the client that can cause secondary conditions and to help consider alternative approaches to reduce the discomfort I also highly recommend yoga as a routine practice to help to open and stretch muscles, to reduce tension in the body and for a sense of over all peace and wellbeing.
In my practice I have a client that no longer has full use of her leg so she has to overly compensate by using her psoas muscles to lift her leg forward so she therefore has constant muscle spasms and pain in her psoas muscle group that were not meant to have to do all the work for her She also needs to use a cane which causes trouble for her in her neck and shoulders I truly believe that by working with people with MS I can see that massage therapy has had a tremendously positive affect on them and it has been rewarding for me to see the positive influence and progress that it has.