Utah is doing its part to help find a cure for multiple sclerosis (MS). Family, friends, and neighbors will gather on Saturday, April 27, for Walk MS: Salt Lake City to support loved ones affected by the disease and to raise money for one cause: ending MS. And, in Utah County, Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions (RMUoHP) is helping combat the disease by offering a therapeutic option through the RMUoHP Foundation’s Community Rehabilitation Clinic’s (CRC) Multiple Sclerosis Physical Therapy and Wellness Center.
In the United States, multiple sclerosis affects nearly one million people over the age of 18 (National Multiple Sclerosis Society). This means almost one out of every 300 people are affected by the disabling disease of the central nervous system. There are a number of medications that help slow the progression of the disease. Additionally, therapeutic and technological advances can also help those diagnosed with multiple sclerosis to manage their symptoms.
Finding Individualized, Quality, Accessible Care
Many diagnosed with multiple sclerosis struggle to find individualized and disease-specific physical therapy rehabilitation and wellness services to address their symptoms and healthcare needs. Wellness Center participant Jody Robinson noted, “Any previous experience in my life with physical therapy for other issues was not very good as it didn’t seem to really help the issues. However, as my MS progressed through the years, I attempted to find physical therapy because I thought it was the only hope or possibility to try and help.” She continued, “I searched for a few years and couldn’t find ANYTHING! Last year, I received a couple of leads that I found my way to Hina [Dr. Garg] at the CRC. I had heard rave reviews from her from patients that had worked with her up at University of Utah‘s MS Wrap program!”
The Multiple Sclerosis Physical Therapy and Wellness Center opened at the CRC in 2016 under the guidance of RMUoHP Doctor of Physical Therapy faculty Dr. Hina Garg. The purpose of the Center is to provide free, high quality, evidence-based physical therapy care to individuals with MS. In additional to serving community members by providing physical therapy for participants, the Center also supports participants’ social needs through building relationships with others who share the MS diagnosis.
Improving Quality of Life
“When I was evaluated, given home exercises and started coming in each week, my daily function improved in a very dramatic way, very quickly! Over the last ten months, even with some new challenges that have set me back a bit, I am so much stronger and still walking and functioning better than when I started therapy and definitely better than without doing any physical therapy. To the point that I believe if I was not doing physical therapy, I would not be walking, at all at this point!” reported Robinson, a resident of American Fork, Utah.
“Despite some increased disease symptoms from my MS, my neurologist and others at the neurology clinic have been shocked at how much improvement I have had in my neurological exam! I have been having neuro checkups every three months and made substantial improvements each time!! At one of the appointments, my neurologist told the MS Fellow that what he just saw is ‘Rare. In fact, so rare that I would probably be the only MS patient he would see in his career that had that big of improvements!’ From my observations, I don’t believe that it would be that rare of an occurrence if you have a physical therapist that is specially trained with multiple sclerosis or other neuromuscular pathology and a patient that is truly dedicated to doing their part with the home exercises. Coming to the CRC [MS Center] has been one of the most important and amazing experiences that I have done/had for my health! I can’t thank the foundation, employees, and volunteers enough for what it has meant to me!”
In addition to serving the community, the Center creates an ongoing opportunity for teaching, learning, and research for graduate students and faculty at RMUoHP and for college students from other area institutions.
For more information on the Center, contact the Community Rehabilitation Clinic.