Victoria Lawton, PT, DPT joined the Bacharach physical therapy team in 2018.
March is Multiple Sclerosis Education and Awareness Month. Doctors say that no two cases are alike, and that MS patients have to be careful to conserve energy and not to overheat. Victoria Lawton, PT, DPT, talks about how physical therapy can be beneficial to people with MS.
“It’s true no two cases are alike.,” says Victoria. “It depends on what type of MS they have and how long they’ve had it, but even then no two cases are alike. Patients can be ambulatory or they could be in a power wheelchair or anywhere in between.”
What are you trying to accomplish when you have a patient with MS?
“Most often I’m trying to help them stay as independent as possible and maximize their function. The patients with MS I have treated were pretty involved and non-ambulatory so we focused on standing in the standing frame, transfers, and seated balance.”
What kinds of education do you provide Multiple Sclerosis patients?
“My patients have usually been thoroughly educated about energy conservation and heat intolerance. Recently I’ve talked to the patients who were less mobile about the benefits of and how to use leg straps to help with their transfers and bed mobility. I’ve also discussed the importance of spasticity management as it effects their ability to stand and transfer.”
Can you help MS patients improve flexibility?
“I usually go over the importance of having a stretching program and wearing the proper braces to prevent plantarflexion contractures. If they develop those contractures then it can make transfers difficult and prevent their braces from fitting and thus keep them from standing.”
Do you ever use any of the robots with MS patients, and if so which ones and for what purpose?
“I have used the ANDAGO to help with safe weight bearing and to trial gait with patients. The ANDAGO allows us to practice gait training and removes the fear of falling for the patient so they are more able to focus on the task. For patients that have increased tone that is triggered by weight bearing the ANDAGO let’s us de-weight the patient up to 60# per side which will hopefully allow them to move their legs easier.”