Blog

Multiple Sclerosis and Manual Therapy

May 3, 2019

Shanti Arwen- Myotherapist

Apart from the the obvious obstacles that are faced by multiple sclerosis patients, it is tiring for the body, mind and spirit. Over half of multiple sclerosis sufferers seek complimentary modalities from an allied health professional in the form of massage or other muscular skeletal services. (Nayak et.al, 2003).

People who endure the symptoms of multiple sclerosis generally receive a lot of physical and emotional relief from soft tissue work. For me, as a soft tissue therapist, it is an honour to be a part of their comfort strategy.
Some small studies have started to show promising results showing massage being safe and beneficial intervention for management of fatigue and pain in people with multiple sclerosis. (Backus et. al., 2016) .

I also believe massage helps with reintegrating the mind body relationship that can often be disturbed during the process of ongoing M.S. symptoms. This is particularly useful to support the patient in their exercise programmes.

Every person , healthy or not responds differently to soft tissue work and there is no single strategy that will work for everyone. M.S. itself is a varied condition that has no specific pathway or timeline , choosing your allied health professionals who will work with you and adapt to your needs will make the journey a lot more comfortable.

Please note, the advice above is generalised and may not be specific to your situation. If in doubt please contact one of our osteopaths or another health care provider to provide a specific diagnosis and treatment of your condition.

Backus, D., Manella, C., Bender, A., & Sweatman, M. (2016). Impact of Massage Therapy on Fatigue, Pain, and Spasticity in People with Multiple Sclerosis: a Pilot Study. International journal of therapeutic massage & bodywork, 9(4), 4–13.
Nayak, S., Matheis, R. J., Schoenberger, N. E., & Shiflett, S. C. (2003). Use of unconventional therapies by individuals with multiple sclerosis. Clinical Rehabilitation, 17(2), 181–191. https://doi.org/10.1191/0269215503cr604oa