Keep Steady: Balance and Eye Exercises May Help Multiple Sclerosis Patients

As someone who has suffered with chronic vertigo for the past year and a half, and who deals with a chronic vestibular condition, I know all too well how debilitating dizziness and poor balance can be and the negative affect it can have on a person’s daily life.
Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the brain and spinal cord. With multiple sclerosis (MS) the immune system attacks the protective covering of the nerve fibers and inhibits the brain from communicating with the rest of the body. MS can affect many aspects of a patient’s life including vision loss, pain, fatigue, and balance problems and the symptoms can vary greatly from person to person. Some people with MS may be symptom free for most of their lifetime while others deal with chronic and life altering conditions and symptoms throughout their lifetime.
Some of the common symptoms of MS include dizziness, poor balance, and vertigo. Vertigo is a problem with the inner ear, which causes feelings of spinning and imbalance and even nausea.
Likewise, MS patients with balance disorders may have trouble doing even ordinary activities like grocery shopping, driving (especially at night), taking safe walks alone, etc. However, there may be help in improving the conditions of people with MS who deal with balance issues.

A recent research study conducted a study with 88 adults who walked 100 meters. Half of the 88 were chosen at random to participate in supervised exercise program. Read the source article at

All of the participants were given balance tests. A healthy adult would usually score a 90/100 on the computer balance test. All MS participants scored around 62-63 at the start of the study.

The participants who were chosen to do balance exercises had balance sessions twice a week and had daily practices to do at home for six weeks. Afterwards, for the next eight weeks they moved on to one supervised workout a week and daily home exercises.

Study participants who did balance exercises completed movements like waking on different surfaces, tying to walk while moving their head in different positions, walking with their eyes closed, and they also did visual stabilization exercises as well.

The exercise group who was given balance and eye exercises had an average score of 73 on the balance test at the end. The other group, which did not exercise, had an average of 66 at the end. The exercise group improved in their dizziness and fatigue as well.

These results appear to suggest that regular balance and eye exercises could help reduce coordination problems for MS patients.

Some researchers, however, were concerned that the results were just by chance. Because the study group was very small, the results may be skewed and more research and studies must be done to confirm this data.

Regardless, Susan Bennett, an author and researcher at the University of Buffalo, says that MS patients who completed these exercises at night may still benefit in their dizziness and imbalance which could reduce the risk of falls and more serious injuries.

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