Many studies have been conducted to evaluate if exercise can help slow the progression of multiple sclerosis. An analysis of the different studies could not establish clearly if exercise slowed the progression of the disease but it is clear that exercise is helpful for managing several of the symptoms of MS. In addition to improving cognitive function and a person’s mood, exercise can prevent a person diagnosed with MS from developing issues related to a sedentary lifestyle including1:
- Improved cardiovascular fitness and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
- Increased strength and muscle mass
- Maintain bone density
- Decrease the risk of depression
- Increased energy levels
- A more positive attitude
Unfortunately, many people with Multiple Sclerosis find exercising unpleasant or even difficult due to the increase in body temperature that occurs while exercising. The increased sensitivity to heat is called Uhthoff’s phenomenon. The increase in heat can cause a worsening of symptoms including blurred vision, cognitive difficulties and/or a loss of balance. The effects of increased heat are temporary and typically resolve once their body temperature returns to normal but it makes exercising unpleasant.
In 2017, researchers from Columbia University Medical Center published the results of a double-blind, crossover study, evaluating the effect of aspirin on length of time participants were able to exercise and on heat sensitivity during exercise. For patients who described themselves as heat sensitive, aspirin had only a minimal beneficial effect on the length of time they were able to exercise but aspirin reduced their increase in body temperature by 56% making exercise far less uncomfortable2.
Additional considerations for decreasing the potential discomfort of exercise:
- Exercise in the morning or evening and avoid the heat of the day
- Avoid exercising to excessive fatigue
- Stop working out if you start to feel sick
- Choose activities you enjoy
- Some options include:
- Water aerobics
- Tai chi
- Avoid slippery floors especially if you choose to exercise in or around a pool
- Drink plenty of cool water
Stem cell therapy at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute in Costa Rica may help improve the signs and symptoms of MS. Mesenchymal stem cells may reverse the damage to nervous system and improve the symptoms of MS, resulting in an improved quality of life. Mesenchymal stem cells produce; 1. proteins that support the growth and survival of neurons, 2. angiogenic factors that are essential for the healing, growth, development, and maintenance of blood vessels, and 3. immunomodulatory substances that can reverse the damage to the nerves.2,3 For patients with multiple sclerosis this means, the stem cells repair the damaged areas of demyelination and grow new, healthy cells, preventing future damage and improving symptoms. Initial research evaluating the safety and efficacy of autologous stem cell transplantation to treat patients with multiple sclerosis is promising.
Exciting progress is being made through innovative research evaluating the safety and efficacy of stem cell transplantation for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. With the urgent need for more effective treatments for multiple sclerosis the experts at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute believe that the potential of cell therapy must be explored. Stem cell therapy is not for everyone but the professionals at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute will review your disease and treatment options with you and answer all of your questions. Our goal is to keep you healthy and active; helping you live your best life. Contact us today to see if stem cell therapy is right for you.
2. Leavitt VM, et al.Aspirin is an effective pretreatment for exercise in multiple sclerosis: A double-blind randomized controlled pilot trial.October 27, 2017 https://doi.org/10.1177/1352458517739138