Physical activity or exercise after a relapse

Hi, my names Holly. I’m a physiotherapist working in the NHS treating people with Multiple Sclerosis. We’re looking at improving the information we offer people on physical activity and exercise following an MS relapse. We’re interested in hearing about your experience with exercise or physical activity following a relapse, any advice you’ve been given and whether this was helpful or not.
Thanks in advance for any information you can share.

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Hi Holly,

Mr Motivator; believe it or not; is my Guru. See

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I think I read on here that all people with MS should try and take a balanced view of exercise. On the one hand, it is extremely important that pwMS exercise as much as they can as this delays progression more than the very effective DMTs. On the other hand, overdoing exercise can bring on a relapse and will definitely slow down recovery from one. A while ago, I got new symptoms after doing very strenuous yoga in a very hot place (that was as moronic as it sounds, for a pwMS).

So do gentle exercise, if you can, when recovering from a relapse. Try to build up what you can do but listen to your body.

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I believe that exercise, whether following or a relapse, or for people with SP or PPMS, at any time, is most beneficial if done in a way which unites the mind and body.

I found that conventional physiotherapy exercise such as, “Lie on your back with knees bent, separate your knees, bring back together, and repeat 10 times.” type boring and lacked the mental connection. I took up Tai Chi and found the connection between my mind and my body much more satisfying and effective.

I told my teacher, before I started, about my MS and he had no idea if Tai Chi would help but we were both surprised at the improvement in my mobility after only a few weeks.

I’m sure that other “mindfulness” techniques such as yoga or Pilates would be equally beneficial, but please don’t ignore the holistic approach.

Best wishes,


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Hi, I’m not sure whether you have relapses. If you do, have you been able to contiune with Mr Motivator during a relapse or how long has it taken for you to return to this? Thanks for your help.

Hi ‘Sewingchick’, thanks for your reply. As you say, exercise is important for people with all forms of MS but there is very limited research into exercise or physical activity following a relapse and so I’m interested to hear peoples experience.

Hi Anthony, thanks for your reply. Finding an exercise that you enjoy and are motivated by is really important. It’s great your finding Tai Chi helpful. I’m not sure whether you experience relapses. If you do, have you been able to continue with Tai Chi during a relapse or how long has it taken you to get back to it?