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Neuroplasticity???

Has anyone had experience of overcoming weakness via exercise?
Im trying so hard in the gym to improve my walking but it still difficult to walk very far due to hemiparesis.

Is it naive to think ill Be able to create new connections to improve my ability? Is it a case of repetition and persistence or is the damage done?

What are others experiences? Ive had this weakness for 18 months and only recently had it investigated showing CIS and brainstem leison.

Ive been exercising last 6 weeks and im incredibly motivated to try improve things. Is it a case of it’ll never go away but ill. Get better at powering through?

Whats other peoples experiences.

Thanks in advance xx

Exercise is good, but directed exercise is better.
If you can find a neuro physiotherapist they will give you specific exercises. They tend to concentrate on doing things right and slowly.
Range of movement, strength and endurance are necessary, but if the fundamentals are wrong you will not succeed in neuroplasticity. It is all too easy to use machines in the gym to work on specific muscles. There are some resources online, but I would stick with the major charities until I had seen a neurophysio.
My major problems are foot drop and balance. I was lucky with my neurophysio and having a local exercise group. Pre COVID I used a gym but now do Yoga and Pilates online zoom as well as the original exercise group. I am awaiting a retune with a neurophysio. I do what I can, but I want to go back to the start to correct bad habits.

Good answer crd! I’m in a similar position to you.

Good call on the neuro physiotherapist - your MS Nurse can “prescribe” you some sessions and they know all about MS, stiffness, loss of motor control and fatigue. I’ve spoken to “mine” though first session is next week - after a 6 week wait, so get onto your nurses sooner rather than later.

Lockdown was unkind because I was still just about coping with a basic yoga class. I delayed going online for a couple of months and stiffened right up :-1: Online yoga is good, particularly the sessions that concentrate on matwork and flexibility.

I have an exercise bike at home which I use on the lightest setting - rotating the pedals for a just a couple of minutes is enough to free up my rigid hips and most importantly, force my dodgy left leg to prescribe the same rotation as the right.

As for exercise at all, I’d say do it, and do it for as long as you can. Watch out for fatigue as your symptoms develop but do all you can to promote flexibility, strength & stamina. I was misdiagnosed for nearly a decade and was doing extremely vigorous exercise, totally oblivious to the cause of pain and onset of leg numbness. Ignorance, clearly, is bliss!

Here is my example. No amount of exercise is going to heal the weakness in my legs:
once permanent neurological damage is done, it’s done and there is no fixing it. It’s not like a weak muscle that can be strengthened with exercise – that just isn’t the way it works. But my walking range has nevertheless improved a little in the past 18 months. This isn’t because I have found a miracle cure, it’s because I have taken up Pilates and the muscles in my midriff have got stronger, and it turns out that those muscles can be recruited to help a little with the task of walking. Who knew? Not me. My experience is that improving your general strength and fitness can have unexpectedly pleasing results. But I would say that there is little point in overexerting a specific area of MS weakness/damage because that probably isn’t going to help - you’re flogging a dead horse. Strengthen the bits that still work well and you might be pleasantly surprised at the spin-off benefits.

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Sorry i am 70 years old only just learning how to use a smart phone lol. I had to look up Neuroplasticity and hemiparesis.

I am left sided weak. my left foot doesnt work well. I saw orthotics who did a good work out on me and turned round and said you have too much damage in your spine not much we cand do as your foot isnt even strong enough to hold a normal shoe.

My idea of a gym is to constantly get up off my recliner to answer the door to all the delivery drivers who come to my house to deliver my on line life. Then i have to chase after a mad kitten.

I have to say just keeping a bit active helps my walking but sadly i can only walk a little way.

You can also help yourself by eating really well. MY neuro actually scolded me when i ended up in hospital. WHY? Because I got sucked into this FIT WATCH nonsense and decided to push myself to walk more each day and 3 weeks later ended up in hospital. I had a bad DO, couldnt get out of bed to go to the commode at night literally couldnt sit up. i pushed my alarm watch daughter came, i was taken to hospital with suspected stroke. Over the few days and numerous nueros and MRI I was told you have OVERDONE IT.

So the fitwatch went into bin, and i went on to lead my normal life.

I will say though i have PPMS so not quite the same and everyone has MS differently and some things work for one and not the other.

I think its a good idea to keep fit and healthy but you can do it internally as well as externally. FEED your body well and it will give you rewards. IS MY MOTTO.

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I find it really difficult and beat myself up a bit when I read of pwMS running marathons and leading their best lives. I remind myself this is not a competition, we are all different in our journey living with MS. I have been a regular gym member for decades and was addicted to exercise, all high impact. That was before my MS diagnosis, since then moved to swimming and Pilates …a few years on I can only manage yoga it is fantastic. I have pain and numbness and push myself gently to do what I can do, yoga is strengthening, conditioning and keeps me flexible, breathing and meditation exercises are rejuvenating. I hope you find something that suits you, remember to be kind to yourself, this is your journey x

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Thank you so much for your reply.
You’re so right. Health comes from within too. Ill try not to put so much pressure on myself. Its just hard trying to keep up with everyone else. Im only 35 feel so unfair sometimes. But diet and doing what i can should be enough. Thank you again

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Thanks for this reply.
Because my diagnosis is CIS i dont get access to any MS nurses or pathways. Despite the leison at the bottom of my brainstem and being quite symptomatic.
But you gave some good advice. Ive sought out a private neuro physio locally for an assessment and will see what i can crack on with.
Thank you again. This site has already been so helpful x

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Look up SUMS at Plymouth University where they have been using standing frames for wheelchair bound pwMS. Reduced mobility has many implications beyond the obvious. We spend a lot of money on drugs for a few and overlook (the now proven) benefits of exercise to improve the lot of the many.
Telling people to exercise is not enough, we need direction and encouragement. Are there any places in the UK where there is good practice?

dont try. If you really ask them I expect they are just pushing themselves too and would rather just chill out. Sometimes I think we are all sucked into this we have to exercise, we have to do this that etc.

Back when i was 35 a few years ago lol, i worked hard every day brought up 2 children on my own, i was never without work. we didnt have media and facebook back then (bliss). I didnt have MS back then.

LOL i even went on an 18-30 holiday to corfu, what a hoot. My room mate was an overweight lady from the North of UK. She was fab she made me laugh and didnt care about herself and had the best holiday.

I was errrr 35 at the time lol. I had a great holiday, even went horse riding, swimming, dancing the night away, it was the best 2 weeks i had. HOWEVER, the 18 year to 25 were dying all around me lol. Hung over, not eating, sleeping all day missing the sunshine. Ah those were the days.

Just do what you can when you can. I expect all your friends envy your energy. I expect if you were a fly on their wall, they would be lazying about on a settee snoring cos they were super tired. lol.

I am so glad i was born when I was. at 11 years old I swam from malta to gozo for my life saving badge. I never stopped doing natural things and possibly that is why I cope better now. I have also dropped a lot of weight and my BP has been normal lol. All down to diet and eating right.

you know walking is the best thing too. i have my dog could walk not so long ago with her now i have a kitten lol and I am exhausted but exercised lol. xx

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