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Balance and other delightful side effects

Hi everyone. It’s been a while since I’ve posted, which I suppose can only be a good thing:) Hope you’re all doing ok. I’ve got a couple of issues though I was hoping someone may know something on-After having my son last year I found my balance became shocking, I can no longer wear high heels, nor can I walk down the stairs without holding on, sometimes just have a little wobble if I try to walk in a straight line. I also used to be a keen runner but now when I run it feels like my legs don’t belong to me. My question is, is do I just accept this as the way I’ve become or is there a way to fight against it? Can any professionals help (podiatrist, physio, masseuse, chiropractor, etc)? Any exercises that could help? Thank you -I look forward to hearing any suggestions:) Nat xxx

Hi Nat,

Afraid balance is a frequent problem with MS (…mine is dreadful, and coupled with almost constant dizziness, meant I had to give up sports some time ago) and I’m not aware of any medical professional actually curing this problem. I’d love to be told my understanding is incorrect, so I’d be more than happy if someone corrected this ?!!

Don’t know what kind of MS you have, so - if you’ve been diagnosed with RRMS - it may be part of a relapse and sort itself out in due course. However, with a young’un to look after now, you’re probably not getting all the rest you need and recovery from any symptom may take a bit longer than usual ?

Again, not being any kind of medical pro, I’d be delighted for you to get other opinions. Perhaps other people have had more success with exercises/medication than I ??

Best of luck,

Dom

(PS:- Even though I’m not the tallest geezer, I’ve never even tried high-heels )

I can sympathise Nat, that is where my main problem is too. I have to have hold of a bannister when going down steps otherwise I will fall and walking down a steep hill can only be done in baby steps. Uphill or up steps however are no problem. I can’t run anymore either (never my favourite thing to do anyway) but it is affecting my dancing which is more annoying. I was thinking of buying those shoes which are meant to help with balance but don’t know if they would make things worse.

JBK x

Got to agree with the previous posters. I gave up high heels (or smart shoes at all, really) years ago - before I was anywhere near diagnosis. I had no idea what the problem was - just that styles that used to be fine were all cripplingly uncomfortable now. I put it down to a sad decline in the standards of shoe manufacture, and never to anything actually wrong with ME!

It’s also a long time since I’ve been able to go downstairs without one hand at least brushing the rail, in case I need to grab it quickly. And when going upstairs, I tend to hunch forward like an old woman, to counter any tendency I may have to topple backwards. I want to make sure that IF I fall, it’s only going to be forwards, not down the whole lot.

I don’t think there’s going to be any miracle cure for any of these things. Some physios - particularly neuro physios - will prescribe exercises designed to help with balance, but I don’t realistically think these are going to see you back in high heels, or running again, or bounding up and down stairs without holding on. I’m sorry if this sounds a bit negative, but I don’t want you to have unrealistic expectations. There’s no therapy that will make it as if you didn’t have MS. You can learn to do the best you can with what you’ve got, but that’s not the same as eliminating the problem.

I’m wary of the “balance” shoes, too. From what I can make of it, they are intentionally designed to cause a slight wobble, so you get more practice. In my case, I don’t think footwear that’s supposed to make me wobble is such a great idea.

Tina

x

Thanks everyone. Though not the best news, it is kind of reassuring that I’m not alone:) Thanks again xx

I’m seeing a physio to help with my balance but I don’t have the motivation to do the exercises I’ve been given so I can’t say if they are any good or not.

They basically use elastic stretch bands and even if I did them, I don’t think they’d help.

I go to yoga and prior to these last two relapses I had noticed a very slight improvement in my balance. I have to admit though that I am still the ‘dunce’ of the class when it comes to balance. The best I can ever hope for is a few seconds of balancing on one leg or in a tricky posture. Some of them can hold a position for what seems like an age whilst I teeter about.

Since the relapses I now have a chair beside me at all yoga sessions ‘just in case’ we do anything where I might wobble. This week I was even allowed to do a posture which required a wide leg stretch on the chair as my instructor noticed I was spending more time trying not to fall over, and grabbing at the chair, than keeping position and benefitting from the stretch . I’m beginning to feel like the remedial student …

Tracey x

Hi Mr Grumpy,

I was given those elastic stretch bands by a physio many years ago, but sadly they didn’t do anything for me (…perhaps they’d have been useful if I was completely immobile, but I wasn’t then and - despite mobility now being severely limited - I’m not totally immobile now !!)

I’m afraid I personally don’t have great faith in physio. At best it only seems to slightly delay a problem that’s either going to happen or not - rather than remedy anything.

As ever, that’s based on my purely personal experience, I’m sure others have enjoyed much better outcomes ?!!

Just out of curiosity, were you given ‘standing on one leg’ (eyes open then eyes closed), ‘taking pigeon-steps’, ‘putting weight forward & backwards’ etc. ?

Dom

No Dom. It’s all lying on my back and stretching my legs out but once I’m in the lying down position, I find sleep a much more exciting prospect!

When I do the standing up ones, it’s focus on one point and raise one leg up (unaided) but I quickly grab onto something to stop me falling over.

In my experience, gym work helps me to keep what I have for longer and is also good for general health, so no intention of stopping. Of course, you do actually have to do the exercises regularly before getting any benefit.

My experience was different again. The neurophysio gave me a set of exercises, starting with core strength, and then on to standing and small foot movements. After a few months,I found that while I was still inclined to lose my balance, I could often recover, and at other times I had enough control to influence the direction in which I fell. Usually, this meant I could go in a direction where there was something to grab hold of, and not fall completely. Of course, once or twice this did not work. On the whole, the exercises have been worth doing.

Geoff

Reading your post reminds me of when I relapsed last year…could it be that you are in relapse? Have you contacted the nurses? I know there is a risk of relapse after having a child although I notice you say last year so I’m unsure if steroids would make any difference now. There’s no harm in seeking medical advice or getting physio hun. I’m much improved since last year but did have steroids, also have had physio. Still not what I once was but definitely better than last year. Although I’ve nerve pain presently as one of my new symptoms! Xxx