–   MAY 2022   –

Tips for helping people with MS get the right physio support


When a Support Coordinator is choosing which physiotherapist to match with someone who has multiple sclerosis (MS), there are multiple factors to consider. 

MS is a condition that manifests symptoms in ways that are completely unique to each individual who has it, and as such, the management of it in terms of physio needs to be highly specialised.


Developments in the latest research continually bring new insights into what does and doesn’t work for MS exercise prescriptions and physiotherapy. This medical landscape keeps changing, which is why we ensure we stay up to date with the very latest findings. However, not all physios do this, which runs the risk of causing more harm than good. An example of this is in the past it was recommended for all people living with MS to avoid immersion in a warm water pool during hydrotherapy as it would exacerbate symptoms, but new research now shows that this is not necessarily the case. The physio you choose needs to be passionate about MS research and actively applying the latest guidelines.

It is common for those with MS to have a fear of exercise, as they are typically anxious that exercising will make their symptoms worse. One of the most helpful things a Support Coordinator can do is empower people with MS to understand how exercising can be highly beneficial, if approached in the right way. At Active Edge Physiotherapy, every time we work with someone who has MS, we will adapt a physio programme to meet the needs of that participant on that particular day, based on: fluctuations in their symptoms; how fatigued they are; physical symptoms; how they slept; and even how weather conditions could be impacting them.

A key consideration is taking into account what time in the month an MS patient has received their infusion for medications to help calm down their symptoms. If a physio was to assess them in the first two weeks after having their infusion, versus the end of the month when they are due to have another one, this would significantly impact how much exercise they are able to withstand. On weeks when they are struggling to get out of bed or function fully at work, our physios would never expect to see the same level of exercise endurance but not all physios work in this way.

This medical landscape keeps changing, which is why we ensure we stay up to date with the very latest findings.

As our service is home-based, we see MS patients at their worst, at their best, and the whole spectrum in between, to fully understand what they can and can’t do. Our aim is always to stabilise the condition over the monthly cycle between infusions, so that these participants can have some physical strength in reserve for the days that are hardest. Non-specialist physios will miss this and mistakenly push people too hard at the wrong times in the infusion cycle, so the patient’s stabilisation never occurs. 

If you need to refer people in your care who require multiple sclerosis physio, our dedicated MS physio specialists would be delighted to help. Contact us to book a free 15-minute consultation with our team here at Active Edge Physio. Alternatively, complete the referral form online and we’ll be in touch within 24 hours (on week days) to explore the best way forward.