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About Multiple Sclerosis
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Managing MS Symptoms
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Balance and Dizziness

(see also Gait [difficulty in walking] and Incoordination)

Balance, and vertigo, or dizziness problems are common in MS and their management is difficult. These problems put people at risk for falls and the potential for added disability related to injury complicates things further. Because multiple areas of the brain are involved with extensive interactions between them, it is not surprising that these problems are so frequent. Sometimes balance problems are overcome with the addition of a walking cane. It is important that individuals introducing a walking aid do so with the instruction of a trained professional to insure good gait alignment. An in home occupational therapy assessment for safety can be helpful to identify potential hazards and to suggest strategies for a safe approach to activities of daily living. Shower stools, and secure hand rails are examples of in home adaptations that can add to a safer environment for people experiencing these problems.

Impaired balance and impaired reflexes can pose increased safety risk. Fatigue and weakness may make balance and coordination problems seem worse.

Balance and dizziness problems may present as symptoms of a relapse, or may be of a more permanent nature. Treating the relapse with special attention to safety needs can help manage this troubling symptom.

Key Healthcare Professionals:
Neurologist, MS nurse, Physiotherapist, occupational therapist.

Symptom Management:
Short term anticholinergics; short term stimulants (methylphenidate) may be helpful but these medications are of limited or no use if the symptoms are long term.

Other Resources:
Everybody Stretch
MS Society of Canada publication.

It’s Your Choice
Exercise video program designed by physiotherapists.

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Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada
Toll free to reach the nearest regional office: 1 800 268-7582

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