Multiple Sclerosis is a unique diagnosis, as no two patients experience the same set of symptoms. In general, however, people with MS tend to experience sensory changes (such as vision problems) and difficulty with mobility. As a result, there is a connection between Multiple Sclerosis and falls.
With that in mind, one way to prevent falls is to approach your diagnosis with a proactive mindset. There are plenty of things you can do to make your environment safer for your changing body. You may need to rely on friends and family members to help you set yourself up for success. A strong support system and a few precautions can keep you safe, mobile, and independent throughout your day.
Are you curious about the connection between MS and falling down? Continue reading to learn what causes MS falls and how to prevent them.
Is Falling a Symptom of MS?
Falling itself is not a symptom of MS. It is a side effect of the primary symptom. When you have multiple sclerosis, your brain can struggle to keep information flowing within the brain.
As a result, those with MS may notice their brains and limbs struggling to communicate. It can feel like their bodies “aren’t listening.” Some people with MS have trouble lifting things, walking, or transitioning from one position to another. That is when most falls take place.
It can take more effort to perform simple tasks when you have MS. Sometimes fatigue is enough to cause falls.
Many people with MS also experience a symptom known as foot drop. Foot drop can make it hard for people to lift their feet to the correct angle while walking. Many people with MS work with a physical therapist to help them navigate this symptom.
Likewise, many people with MS have trouble with their sight. Vision problems are a common early symptom of the condition. People with MS may have a more difficult time seeing obstacles, which can lead to falls. Likewise, some people experience dizziness or vertigo, which can make it harder to maintain their balance.
Furthermore, your doctor may prescribe medications that help improve your daily MS symptoms. In some cases, medication side effects can increase your fall risk. Speak to your doctor about your medications so you will know what to expect.
MS and Falling Backwards
Some people with MS may experience a symptom that involves spontaneously falling backward. This can be jarring if you aren’t expecting it! While the symptom is uncommon and unpredictable, your physical therapy team can help. If you experience falling backward, be sure to mention it to your medical team.
Fall Prevention Tips for People With MS
You can reduce your fall risk by taking a few proactive steps. These can often provide peace of mind, especially if you have a fear of falling. Confidence is key to maintaining your independence after an MS diagnosis.
- Work with friends and family to “fall-proof” your home by removing obstacles, clearing pathways, and installing supports
- Develop an awareness of your daily energy shifts, and make sure to practice good sleep hygiene. Aim to get a full night of restful sleep as often as possible
- Boost independence by using a mobility device if you need one. You can add an assistive device like NexStride to anticipate challenges in your environment
- Choose well-fitting clothing and shoes that reduce your trip risk
- Speak to your health care team about implementing an appropriate exercise program. Exercise can help you build balance, boost core strength, and learn to fall safely
- Don’t be self-conscious about addressing any fears you have about falling with a mental health provider. They can offer strategies to calm your anxiety and keep you moving
Prevent MS Falls with the NexStride Walking Coach
A strong support system is an important key to thriving with a diagnosis like multiple sclerosis. For many people, however, it’s important to maintain a sense of independence. It can be helpful to rely on tools and technology to keep you moving. That’s why many people with MS are comfortable relying on NexStride.
Nexstride is a device that attaches to your cane or walker. It uses sound and light cues to help your brain maintain a rhythm. Many users call it a “walking coach” as it trains you to continue moving forward, it helps to prevent falls, freezing of gait, and more. It’s a research-backed tool that can help you feel safe while you’re out and about in the world.
Are you interested in learning more about how NexStride can help with multiple sclerosis and falls? Contact a friendly representative by calling 805-574-7275, or use the live chat feature below. In the meantime, click here to learn more.