Raising Awareness for Multiple Sclerosis & Moving better with Neurological Physiotherapy
Life is what you make of it, whether you are completely healthy or whether you have a neurological condition. Evidence of this lies with Betty Cuthbert, who was a four time Olympic Gold Medallist who passed away this month at the age of 79. Betty was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in her 30s and an active campaigner for Multiple Sclerosis. In her 50s, Betty’s mobility was limited to her wheelchair, but that didn’t prevent her from being a final torchbearer at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
Betty was quoted as saying “Never give up, never give up – Think of what you can do.”
This beautifully encapsulates one of the main principles in neurological physiotherapy. Rather than focusing on a persons’ impairment, we look at the whole person and focus on what they can do to help them live their life to the fullest. All physiotherapists integrate this principle from the International Classification of Functioning (ICF).
As shown the in above diagram, there are two sides to every element of health and functioning. For example, take the body structure of your quadriceps (the muscle group in the front your thigh which helps you stand and walk). If you hurt this muscle group, an activity such as standing at the sink to do your dishes might be too hard, and you might not want to participate in going for a long walk down the beach with your friend or partner. But this doesn’t necessarily mean you are bed ridden. You may still be able to go for shorter walks or stand with the assistance of an aid. If you have an acute injury such as a sports injury, the activities you do might change just over the short term. But with a neurological condition such as MS, your activities and participation might change over the long term, and may fluctuate over time; this is understandably frustrating. What is needed here is to analyse what you can do (maybe do a shorter walk) as well as what personal factors (a determined mind) and what environmental factors (good walking shoes, maybe a stick or crutches) will help you keep moving.
Betty Cuthbert was an inspiring Australian athlete who followed this principle of looking at the whole picture to make the most of her life. PhysioWest would like to recognise Betty’s inspiring work and send condolences to all who knew Betty.
If you would like more information on Multiple Sclerosis, please visit to MS Australia Website: https://www.msaustralia.org.au/
If you or someone close to you has a neurological condition such as MS and would like some help to get moving consult at PhysioWest today! I have a special interest in Neuro Physiotherapy and consult Monday to Friday at both our Mile End and Salisbury clinics.
Published by Laura Hundertmark, Physiotherapist, PhysioWest
Diagram credit: http://www.arsalis.com/rehab-scales/images/blocks/1176903286/image-1.png?1176975371
Image credit: http://www.nowtolove.com.au/news/latest-news/honouring-golden-girl-betty-cuthbert-39800