Is retraining the MS brain a possible way for
helping with taming the effects of Multiple Sclerosis?
the overall medical community thought that Multiple Sclerosis was
untameable, since both the MS disease process and the causes of
not understood much at all.
All that could
be don at that point in time was to chase symptoms of Multiple
Sclerosis, in an attempt to bring some relief to those who suffered
with Multiple Sclerosis.
But -- as MS research
progresses further into understanding more about the MS disease process
and more about how to assist our bodies into repairing from the nerve
damage that is often a result of the Multiple Sclerosis attacks on the
body, the thought that there was little that could be done to help
peopl recover more from the effects of MS on the body is changing.
more things are coming to light about what may help more with taming Multiple Sclerosis, not
with searching for ways to reduce MS symptoms chasing Multiple
Sclerosis symptoms around alone, more can be done for us to
actually help our bodies recover more of what we may have been unable
to do because of the often devastating effects of MS on our bodies.
More is also being
understood about how ms physical therapy and other types of ms
therapies can help with reducing the effects of Multiple
Sclerosis on the body by retraining and
reprogramming the body to function better again.
Physical therapy and
other forms of ms therapies have been used more with MS patients over
the last 10 years, and the positive results have been noticeable in the
majority of cases of Multiple Sclerosis. These results give us a much
more positive outlook on how well physical therapy and other MS
therapies can help those of us diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis to
recover more of our abilities to function.
The idea behind why this
can help those of us with MS to function better again is because
and ms researchers alike have been finding that the nerves throughout
the brain and the rest of the body can be exercised more like a muscle
can be exercised.
Previously it was thought
that the brain
became more "fixed" and "unchangeable" as the body aged.
the neuroscientists and other brain researchers have been finding out
that even people over the age of 70 can retrain their brains to
function better by doing brain exercises to reconnect or redevelop the
neural pathways through out the brain.
This means that
research has determined that the "plasticity" of the brain
allows a greater possibility to redevelop the brain's ability
to function better again, even in spite of a stroke or other damage to
the neurons in the brain.
Thanks to the research team of
Posit Science, led by Chief Scientific
Officer, Michael Merzenich, Ph.D. of the University of California at
Francisco, we understand more about brain "plasticity", than we did
Dr. Michael Merzenich, gathered a group of neuroscientists from around
the world to delve deeper into the idea that
the nerves in the brain are more "plastic" or retrainable than was
Thanks to their
research, further knowledge has been gained in understanding
more of how to exercise the nerves to gain more effective results of
not only reducing the symptoms of many of the more devastating diseases
on body, but of developing ways to actually help the nerves
throughout the brain to start to learn to function more
The idea that the nerves can be retrained is not new, but within the
last 10 years, more is being done to use physical exercise to retrain
the rest of the body, as in the case of people that have had a severe
stroke, where neurons in the brain are damaged or destroyed.
This idea of retraining and redeveloping the neural pathways through
out the body is being pursued more for those of us that have been given
the Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis.
Likewise, doing physical
therapy can help to regenerate damaged nerves and reconnect neural
pathways to help the body function better again, even after the often
devastating effects of Multiple Sclerosis on the body that have
resulted in demyelination of the spine, scarring or plaques in the
brain or possibly even nerve damage through out different parts of the
How can doing
be used to help with Taming
physical therapy with those that
have been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis can help to exercise both
the mind and body as it retrains and reconnects the neural pathways
The way this
works is because the nerves can be
exercised more like muscles, but it does take more consistent
retraining over a longer period of time when you are working with
retraining and redeveloping nerves than it would take to exercise
Some of the
effects of Multiple Sclerosis
that Physical therapy can help to improve
include the following:
* reduce spasticity
overall physical balance
* improve how
well a person can stand by improving balance during
* improve how
long a person with MS can stand before they have to sit
down and rest, by improving endurance and stamina.
help retrain the nerves to straignten out the nerve signal
that are scrambled.
* help to
retrain the legs to stand again (even it has been a while), help to
retrain the legs to walk again by helping to retrain the brain to get
accustomed to the movement of walking again, while retraining and
redeloping the nerves in the legs to function again.
circulation going better again, which helps to bring more oxygen to the
brain and the rest of the body and speed healing on a cellular level.
neural pathways again (where they no longer appear to function because
of the effects of MS on the body
This is just
a shor summary of the benefits that doing different types of exercises
can help with.
Types of Additional MS
therapy or MS exercises can include:
* Helps to
evaluate a person that has been
diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis to see if they can return to working
again within a shorter period of time (typically a few months).
* Helps to
retrain the person to do average tasks
that are required to perform many job-related tasks.
the person with Multiple Sclerosis to be able to speak
more clearly again, to reduce stuttering, slurring words or problems
with forming words or being able to speak more clearly to make it
easier to understand what the person affected by MS is trying to say.
ability to speak can become much more difficult because of
the effects of Multiple Sclerosis on the Speech Center of the
dyslexia, memory problems, cognitive
problems and sometimes even visiual problems can all interfere with the
ability to form sentences or be able to carry on a "normal"
conversation or to express what one is feeling.
therapy helps to retrain the different parts of the brain that
are involved in being able to form sentences and be able to reason
through the process of forming ideas and concepts to help reconnect the
needed neural pathways to improve the ability to carry on
conversations, convey concepts and thoughts, as well as helping the
brain to interprete what other people are saying to you.
* Allows the
person with MS to be able to exercise
while reducing the fatigue that is often associated with more intense
* Can retrain
a person to walk again in water,
even if they can not walk on land by supporting the weight of the body
without added exertion by the person undergoing the therapy.
on a horse strengthens the muscles,
and helps to retrain the brain to get used to the movement and natural
gait of walking again, even if the person is not able to physically
walk for a more extended period of time.
therapy has the potential of being able
to help people, that have been diagnosed with Multiple
Sclerosis walk again, by retraining the brain to become
accustomed to what it is like for the body to walk again, since the
natural gait of a horse walking is very similar to the walking gait of
a human being.
* This means
that once the person's balance has improved, so tat they can stay on
the horse, just having the horse walk around with the person sitting on
the horse can actually retrain the brain with the motion of the
movement of walking, even if the person is unable to walk yet.
Strengthening Exercises and
* Helps to
redevelop Neural Pathways in different parts
of the brain, which have been damaged or confused by the scarring that
can result from Multiple Sclerosis.
typically involves exercises specifically
designed to stimulate and strengthen specific parts of the brain.
Different specific parts of the brain are retrained to
function better, by reconnecting neural pathways within that specific
part of the brain.
After a few
different parts of the brain have been
exercised and strengthened, then exercises can be done to reconnect the
nerural pathways between these different parts of the brain so taht
they communicate better with each other and work together better again.
All of these
brain exercises have the overall effect of allowing
those with Multiple Sclersis to function better on a daily
* This can
include increasing the ability to
speak, increasing how well we can form sentences, increasing how well
we can think logically, improving memory (both short and long term),
increasing the ability to respond to outside stimulation, and improving
how quickly our brains can respond to what is going on around us, and
increasing cognitive function, increasing how well our brains recall
past memories and how well we can develop newer memories, including
many other functions that the
body performs on a daily basis.
* Helps to
retrain how the brain responds to any
stimulation by basically resetting what is considered the average brain
wave pattern to be at a higher level.
medical devices and techniques fall under this category, that stimulate
the brain in different ways to help improve how well the individual can
* Learning something new -- this pushes the brain to generate new
healthy nerve cells. We can generate new nerve cells in our
brains to help rebuild the part of the brain that has acually be
severely damaged or has destroyed nerve cells.
This has been found to be the case in several cases of severely damaged
brains of severe stroke patients (that have had a large percentage of
their brains destroyed by the stroke -- even those who had 90% of their
brain destroyed by a stroke).
Even these more severe patients
have recoved most of their abilities to function after
they have been given intense physical therapy for an extended
period of time (a year or so), which pushed their brains to generate
new nerve cells in the brain, to redevelop nerve pathways throughout
the "newly" developed nerve cells in the brain and to help the
different pars of the brain to learn to "talk" to each other again and
learn to work toegether.
This same idea can be used for those of us with Multiple Sclerosis.
As more and more doctors are turning to sending their MS
patients for more extreme physical therapy for a few months at a time,
these doctors are finding that their MS patients are recovering more of
their ability to function on a more regular basis.
Doing different types of exercises can help with Taming Multiple Sclerosis by
using the exercises
as a way of retraining or possibly even regenerating nerves.
It is being brought to the fore front of nerve regeneration research,
that the 2 main ways that we can
retrain our bodies are:
* Retrain the brain by redeloping neural pathways and generating new
nerve cells throughout the brain is by retraining and regenerating
the nerves in our brains and the nerves through out
the rest of our
bodies using different types of exercises.
Since the brain has to have more plasticity through various forms of
research that has been done on the brain, this has been showing that
the damaged parts of the brain, from brain damage from an accident or a
fall, for people that have had severe strokes and for those of us with
scarring in the brain because of the damage to the brain that Multiple
Sclerosis can cause are all reversible to a large degree by
redeveloping neural pathways through doing brain exercises.
It has also been discovered that there are ways to regenerate nerve
cells within the brain that have been damaged to the point of the point
of "no return" on brain cells in certain parts of the brains that have
been attacked or damaged in one way or another.
are being developed that help to both reconnect neural pathways and
regenerate dead nerve cells in the brain.
This is good news for those of us with Multiple Sclerosis that have
suffered mild to severe scarring in the brain, from previous Multiple
Sclerosis attacks on our brains.
It will take some work on
our parts to help aid the brain into regenerating the neurons in the
brain, but that means that we aren't "stuck" with what damage Multiple
Sclerosis has caused to our brains.
The other way that nerves can be regenerated throughout the rest of the
body is through physical therapy or exercise.
MS research has
also been finding that if we can find ways to exercise the muscles
their are connected to the damaged or confused nerves in our bodies,
this can help to reconnect the nerves and regenerate damaged nerves!
Regenerating nerves requires consistency in doing the exercises for a
monger period of time (a few months up to a year or two), since nerves
take longer to regenerate than muscles, but even if we can't afford to
pay to go to physical therapy, we can start to do our own physical
therapy at home to regain our abilities to function some initially and
then add more different types of exercises, while pushing ourselves to
go a little further each time that we exercise.
We can actually help to increase our own stamina and reduce the fatigue
that we can experience from doing exercise over time.
out doing what you can and gradually more things that challenge your
body to work to improve how well your muscles and your nerves can
function a few days each week.
Over time you will see
improvement if you keep pressing forward to reach your goal of walking,
standing, driving, working, or whatever -- whatever you were unable to
do before you started doing your own physical therapy.