Multiple Sclerosis

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What to expect

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological condition and is a result of damage to the protective sheath surrounding the fibres of the central nervous system. This is known as myelin. When this myelin becomes damaged it can cause interference with the messages to the brain and body. MS can be progressive and also involve patches of remission and relapse.

Speech and language therapy can help people who have multiple sclerosis in many different ways, and can build on confidence and increase it. Speech and language therapy will treat and support any speech, language, communication and swallowing difficulties experienced by someone with MS.

What is multiple sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis is a disease which occurs when there is damage to the central nervous system. The central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord, myelin sheath surrounds the nerves which carry the messages along the spinal cord to the brain. When this is damaged, messages cannot be transmitted as affectively as before. This causes difficulties with moving or speaking. Symptoms and severity will depend upon which area of the central nervous system is affected and to what extent. MS can be progressive and also involve patches of remission and relapse.

What causes multiple sclerosis?

The cause of multiple sclerosis is nerve damage which is a problem with the immune system, instead of attacking harmful bacteria; it attacks the healthy myelin which affects the transmission of messages to the brain. There is no clear reason as to why this happens however there are theories to suggest that causes of MS are a combination of:

  • Genetics- It is not directly inherited; however people are more likely to develop MS if they have relatives who have it.
  • Environmental factors-Some research has shown that in certain countries no one has developed MS. This includes Malaysia and Ecuador.
  • Viruses and bacteria-certain viruses and bacterial infections can lead to MS.
  • How is multiple sclerosis diagnosed?

    Diagnosis of multiple sclerosis is through a medical professional, working within a multidisciplinary team and will take many different aspects into consideration. It may take several assessments until a final diagnosis is given.

    A speech and language therapist will identify and treat any speech, language, communication or swallowing difficulties.

    What problems caused by multiple sclerosis can speech and language therapy help with?

    Speech and language therapy can help with a number of symptoms of multiple sclerosis, and treatment may involve speech and language therapy for some or all of the following areas:

    How does speech and language therapy help multiple sclerosis?

    Speech and language therapy can help with the symptoms that arise from multiple sclerosis. It is common for people who suffer from multiple sclerosis to have the following symptoms:

    • Slow and slurred speech
    • Memory and concentration difficulties
    • Difficulty eating, drinking and swallowing

    Speech and language therapy can help a patient to manage these types of difficulties relating to communication and swallowing. The speech and language therapist will work collaboratively with both the client and their family to ensure the benefits of speech and language therapy are met on an individual basis. Benefits of Speech and Language Therapy for people who have multiple sclerosis include:

    What would speech and language therapy treatment for multiple sclerosis involve?

    The speech and language therapy treatment programme will be tailored to the individual, and involve the client and family working together. This will allow for effective management of symptoms. Speech and language therapy treatment may include all or some of the following:

    • assessments
    • reports
    • one to one therapy
    • clinic visits
    • home visits
    • review
    • groups
    • training
    • consultative role
    • alternative and augmentative communication
    • advice and education

    Specific treatment might include:

    How do I arrange a speech and language therapy assessment?

    To arrange an assessment for multiple sclerosis with one our speech and language therapists please email office@slt.co.ukor call 0330 0885 643 and we will be happy to help.

    Summary

    Multiple sclerosis (MS) can be difficult to live with for both the client and their family. Speech and language therapy can help with the symptoms of multiple sclerosis and allows for a collaborative approach to speech and language therapy. Symptoms can lead to difficulties with communication, eating, drinking and swallowing. There are many benefits of having speech and language therapy for individuals with multiple sclerosis, if you would like to book an appointment with one of our speech and language therapists, please email office@slt.co.uk or call 0330 0885 643 and we will be happy to help.


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    Next steps

    To speak to a Speech and Language Therapist or to book an appointment, call us on 0161 883 0111 or email office@slt.co.uk

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All our speech and language therapists are registered with the RCSLT and the HCPC

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