Balance. Balance impacts many people with
MS and can lead to Falls and injuries. In this video I’ll share with you our
thoughts when what causes balance problems, and I’ll share a few pro tips
on how to combat *bad* balance. If you’re impacted by balance problems and want to
up your game stay tuned because I’m gonna start that learning right now! Howdy! Learn about MS with me Aaron Boster. I started this YouTube channel to
help my own MS clinic patients learn between visits, and it’s my hope that
through these videos I can help you learn too – today’s topic is a challenging
one balance. Unfortunately balance problems
are all too common in Multiple Sclerosis. In fact many different neurological
problems can lead to difficulties with balance. Think about it with me: You can
have difficulties of vision, double vision or loss of vision, which changes
your visual perception and can lead to falls. You can have weakness of one leg
or a few muscles in the leg which changes your gait patterns and can throw
you off balance. Spasticity in a limb can change your gait patterns has caused
problems with balance. You can have difficulties with numbness in your feet
so that you don’t exactly know where your feet are in space. You can have
damage to the cerebellum and it’s connections, which are one of the major
balance centers of the body. My point here is many things can lead to balance
problems and before I forget let’s keep in mind that medication side effects can
also lead to balance problems. So why is managing balance so important? It’s
because poor balance can lead to falls and falls can lead to injuries, whether
that means busting up your knee, cracking your skull, bleeding in your brain god
forbid, breaking a hip! These are all things that I’ve seen and things that
you want very much to avoid, and so I urge you if you have difficulties of
balance make sure that you’re talking to your MS provider and to your physical
therapist. They can help you figure out, for you, exactly what’s going on. Also
safety first! So make sure that before you try out a new balance activity you
touch base with your physical therapist you want to make sure that you’re doing
it in a safe environment. Often times for example you may be
touching on to a wall or holding on to a chair just to give yourself extra
support. I don’t want someone to fall as they try to improve their balance. Now
when it comes to treating balance problems in MS, I must share that
unfortunately I haven’t had wonderful success using medicines. There are some
medicines that can help a little bit with tremor but there isn’t a pill that
I’m very familiar with with great efficacy in trying to actually improve
balance. I will share that sometimes 4- amino pyridine (4-AP) or trade named Ampyra
can help with heat-related balance problems, but that’s a special subgroup.
The mainstay for improving balance of MS in my opinion is physical therapy and
rehabilitation, and if you have balance problems honestly you should really talk
to a physical therapist, because they’re super awesome at teaching you ways of
improving balance and giving you exercises, homework, things to work on at
home to up your game and improve your balance. Now I would like to give you two
pro tips. things that you might consider doing at home to up your balance game.
The first one is to take advantage of a really fun and cool technology the Wii
Fit with the balance board! #BalanceBoardMS Now I went on Amazon earlier today and you can get a
used we fit console for one hundred and fourteen bucks and you can get a used
balance board for twenty one dollars and so this isn’t free and it might be
outside of some people’s budgets, but if you already have a unit or if you’re
able to afford a Wii Fit with balance board, this creates a really cool option.
There are some super cool games to play with the Wii Fit with a balance board
and the whole time while you’re playing these games you’re improving your core,
you’re improving your strength and you’re improving your balance, and it can
be a really really fun way of improving balance with MS. Some people benefit from
having a chair or something nearby they can hold on to just to provide extra
support. Nonetheless think about a Wii Fit with balance board as a pro tip for
improving balance despite having MS. My second pro tip is to set aside less than
five minutes a day for a couple key balance exercise. I reached
out to one of our amazing neuro physical therapist Lauren Esposito DPT and asked her
about some great home exercises for balance. Now her first recommendation is
that you want to practice balance in a safe environment and so here we have a
corner. Set yourself up with your back against the corner that way if you fall
while you’re practicing you’re safe. Secondly she recommends placing a chair
in front of you this way if you need to you can hold on. Now I’m going to set the
chair to the side so you can see me but probably the safest setup would be to
practice with the chair right in front of you like this. So once you’ve got your
safe environment set up, her first recommendation is to practice standing
upright with your feet together so you’ve got your feet together and your
upright. Now for some people with Multiple Sclerosis this is challenging
but you’re in a safe environment and you can tap here if you need to, And you
want to practice standing up straight with your feet together. Once you’ve got
this down you can practice turning your head left to right and stay standing
straight up, head left to right and looking up and down, and you can practice
moving your head up and down staying stationary. The second exercise and the
exact same setup is this is to practice heel to toe. I’m not talking about
actually tandem walking I’m just talking about standing heel to toe. Again placing
your feet heel to toe you’re standing upright you’re safe you have the chair
here if you need it and then once again you can practice turning your head left
to right, as you’re standing heel to toe you can practice moving your head up and
down see I just fell over a little bit and I’ve got the wall for protection. Now
as you get more advanced, a third exercise would be to practice balancing
on one foot now make sure that you’re cleared to do this by your MS provider
and your physical therapist, I don’t want you to tumble. But presuming that it’s
safe, once again if you want to practice balancing on one foot, and if you need to
hold on you can and you’ve got the safety of the walls behind you. Likewise
you can practice balancing on the other foot. Here are three simple
exercises this would take only a few minutes and I encourage you to consider
adding them into your daily routine as an awesome way of upping your balance.
And there you have it! A few words about balance in Multiple Sclerosis. Many
different things can cause balance problems and it’s worthwhile to work
with your MS provider and the physical therapist to sort out exactly what’s
causing balance problems for you. I personally haven’t had amazing success
using medications. I have however seen marked improvements in people when they
work with physical therapists. In this video, I shared two quick tips: one of
them is to leverage technology and consider checking out a Wii Fit with a
balance board #BalanceBoardMS. the second one is to set aside a few minutes every day to
practice key balance exercises. Once again my name is Aaron Boster and thanks
for learning about MS with me. If you like what you saw, feel free to give it a
like, and if you’d like to see more videos like this, please make sure to
subscribe to the channel. Also if you have some tips or tricks to improve
balance, I would love to hear them, and so with the viewers on this channel! Please
leave those comments down below, I’d love to read them and I’m going to respond to
each and every one of them. Until my next video,
take care!