So yesterday I had my 6 week follow up after being put on steroids for a relapse, the consultant wanted to know if I had felt any improvement, which in all honesty I haven’t, in fact I would say my walking is a little bit worse, definitely less distance.
Personally I think I had my relapse around 6 months ago maybe even longer when I was constantly contacting the MS clinic as I felt that my symptoms we’re changing, so even though my consultant put me on steroids 6 weeks ago I feel it was too late and the different consultant that I saw 6 months ago missed an opportunity to calm things down by offering the steroids at that time.
Oddly every time I have an examination by the consultant or physio they all comment on how strong my legs are, yet when I stand up and try to walk my legs feel as if there’s no strength at all ?
The consultant explained about the muscles getting quickly fatigued due to disruptive nerve signals but he also done a bit of an odd test on me as well. He took me out to the long corridor,stood in front of me, held my hands and told me to count backwards from 100, counting down 7 digits at a time, whilst we walked, the result was that firstly I could hardly get down to the mid 80`s without getting confused and had to think really hard what the next number was,but more importantly I actually walked slightly better !
The consultant explained that around 20% of people with MS concentrate so hard on their walking that the brain actually exaggerates the MS symptoms. He’s not saying MS is all in the head, but was trying to explain that if you start to think about the MS and how you are going to walk as soon as you get up to walk your brain very quickly learns that this is how your supposed to walk.
So by trying not to concentrate just on the walking it can help to put the brain back into a mode where you don’t have to think about walking you just do it naturally.
Obviously you’re not going to start running marathons and the weakness ect is still the underlying problem, but by trying to not to instantly think about it your walking can become to feel a bit more natural.
Having said all that I think even though there’s probably some sense to what he said, it’s sounds far easier said than done,it’s actually very hard to just switch off from how you’re going to walk when you have MS, hence him getting me to count backwards whilst we walked,taking my concentration away from my walking. I definitely know without doubt that when I walk I only concentrate on my walking and nothing else, if I try to relax and not concentrate I feel like I’m going to fall straight away.
My whole body just tenses up and I walk like a robot.
This is where he reckons the brain has concluded that it has to be over involved in the walking, hence the over active tension when trying to work the legs, which is leaving the muscles quickly fatigued as they are moving unnaturally.
Long story short, try to relax and not think about the walking, apparently the brain will learn not to get over involved and in time you may find that your walking is less rigid and more fluent.
Yep, far easier said than done, and the consultant agreed, especially if like me you’re a tense person to start with !
Im also guessing as well that this theory mostly works on people who’s MS still has fairly good nerve conduction and the ability to still walk, albeit not great.
That’s the impression he gave me.