Multiple sclerosis (MS) is one of the most common neurological conditions of young adults in the US. In this article, we introduce a recent qualitative study that tested the effectiveness of physical therapy based on the Pixformance station and its potential for improving the lives of people living with MS.
At age 28, she notices the symptoms for the first time. Shortly before graduating from college, Lisa wakes up one day with a feeling of numbness in her legs. Her family physician refers her to a colleague, who soon refers her to a neurologist. After a number of tests, she is diagnosed with the neurological disease MS that affects the nervous system.
This is often how the story of people living with the chronically inflammatory disease MS starts. Yet, the condition also makes itself known through other symptoms such as impaired vision, vestibular disorder, an inability to focus as well as fatigue. Although all of these symptoms can indicate MS, they don’t necessarily have to, which is why it is hard to diagnose the disease.
Multiple sclerosis: a few facts
Worldwide, an estimated number of 2.5 million people live with the diagnosis MS. Women are three times more likely to be affected by MS. The illness which is also known as “the disease with many faces” due to its unspecific symptoms is especially common in western industrialized countries. That’s why researchers assume that environmental as well as genetic influences trigger the condition; yet, the specific cause is still unknown.
According to the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, about 400,000 people in the US have MS. Typically, MS is found in people who are between 20 and 40 years old, which is why the illness is considered one of the most common neurological diseases of young adults.
Progression and treatment
MS oftentimes evolves unpredictably because the disease progresses in episodes before, in 40 % of cases, flare-ups start occurring more frequently (secondary progressive MS). This means that symptoms appear to be unrelated at first, but, as they start occurring more frequently, the condition can transition into the chronically progressive form.
That’s why therapy is essential for people with MS. Although there is no known cure yet, treatment can help people to manage symptoms. Especially new therapeutic measures, new forms of medication and technological innovations can improve the quality of life of people who have MS.
Physical Therapy with Pixformance
In a 16-week-long single-case-study, the Fresenius University of Applied Sciences (Frankfurt) tested if the training with Pixformance improved the ability to walk of a patient with MS. The participant, who was training with the Pixformance station throughout the study, clearly improved her balance ability.
The researchers pointed out that the training with Pixformance also had a positive impact on the participant’s quality of life and mental health. Even though the findings were made in a qualitative study, the researchers stressed that the results and insights could also apply to “similar people and groups”.
Finally, the researchers indicated that “regular exercise, also with short recovery breaks, can have a positive impact” on people with MS. They also stressed the chances of a long-term positive impact, which the Pixformance station presents, as “the therapeutic effects can be maintained over longer periods of time and can even be accelerated”.
The training with the Pixformance station can improve the well-being and quality of life of people with MS.