July 31, 2008

No Pain, No Gain?

Posted in multiple sclerosis tagged , , , , , at 6:07 pm by melissasummers

  As with many others with MS, I have muscle spasticity.   Spasticity is a tightening or contraction of a muscle or group of muscles.  I experience this daily in both of my legs, occasionally the back of my arms and once in a while my stomach. 

  Imagine that you are on an exercise regimen, fulfilling a late New Years Resolution or just trying to get in shape.  A balanced exercise plan usually includes some weight workouts to gain muscle tone.  So out come the weights…don’t forget to dust them off!  As you start to lift the weights..one..two..hey, pretty easy.   Seven……oh boy, can I do eight?  The muscles are tiring, the body begins to struggle to maintain the motions that were once easy.  At this point a burn begins and there comes a point in which you will not be able to lift that weigh for another repetition.  So, if you are like many others, the weight goes back into the closet to gather dust, and you rest your muscles.  With spasticity, the muscle contracts as if holding a weight and then holds it’s position.  A burn begins and the muscle becomes fatigued. Movement becomes not as fluid and is sometimes shaky as the muscle struggles to work.  There is no weight to put down to relax the muscle.  It will quit when it is ready..or not at all.  When I was first experiencing spasticity,  I honestly did have fantasies of a super toned body without the workout!  Buns and Abs of Steel tapes?  Not this girl!!  Needless to say,  yes, I am toned..but will definitely not be entering any body building contests!

There are a few medications out there to help combat spasticity.  Unfortunately they also have side effects, the most common being drowsiness and fatigue-both symptoms that are already present in those with MS.  While I am on a medication to help ease my muscles, it is not as effective as my body would like it to be, and my body cannot handle a higher dose.   When I am very tight, the quickest cure is a nice warm bath.   Now, the fun part.  Heat aggravates MS symptoms!!    It is 85 degrees outside, I am stiff and sore, longing for a hot bath, but I am so heat sensitive!

Any MSers out there with that have a hot tub?  Truly, I am curious as if I make that investment, if I am careful with the temperature settings if that may work to help.  I am sure that it will definitely be of benefit once the weather cools down.




P.S.    Wow, over 500 hits on this blog…people are actually reading this?