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    I really love these webinars - they teach me positive steps I can take to improve my life and protect my health.  Each one makes me feel better about my diagnosis.  Just like the name, they make me feel like I ‘Can Do MS'.

    Lauren, Webinar Participant from CA
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    MS Education


    Articles are posted here regularly that pertain to Can Do MS’s whole person approach to MS, exploring the physical, interpersonal, emotional, intellectual and spiritual well-being of people living with multiple sclerosis and their support partners.

    These educational articles are authored by our interdiscplinary team of health care professionals, who are also our programs consultants.  Read these articles and learn how you can incorporate our can do philosophy into your lifestyle.

    This program is possible thanks to the generous support of Teva Neuroscience.

    Healthy Eating & Multiple Sclerosis

    by Aliza Ben-Zacharia, ANP, DNP, MS

    Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease which affects the function of the brain, spinal cord and/or the nerves to the eyes. Many patients who suffer from MS look for ways to improve and increase their quality of lives. Good nutrition is among the cornerstones of health-promotion activities.  Maintaining a balanced diet and exercising regularly are essential for promoting wellness and well-being and enhancing quality of life. Diet recommendations for the treatment of MS have shown mixed results, and specific dietary guidelines for people with MS have not been established. The same recommendations concerning a well-balanced diet apply equally as they do for the general population.  Although there is no direct evidence that nutrition is involved in the etiology of MS, healthy eating can decrease the risk of developing other chronic diseases and secondary conditions.  For example, diets high in calcium and vitamin D may reduce the risk of osteoporosis and the risk of MS, diets low in saturated and trans fat may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and maintaining an appropriate intake of calories reduces the risk of obesity. 

    Full Article

    Unique Approaches to Unique MS Symptoms

    by Patty Bobryk, MHS, PT, MSCS, ATP

    Have you ever wondered if there was a novel approach to manage one or more of your MS symptoms?  Adequate symptom management is key to living well with your MS.  There are a variety of approaches to managing your symptoms: prescription and over the counter medications, complementary and alternative medicine, rehabilitation, and other self-help strategies.  In this article we are going to explore a few unique ways to manage some of the unique symptoms you may be experiencing.  

    Full Article

    Managing Your Mood and Cognition issues with MS

    by Peggy Crawford, PhD & Jeff Hodgson, SLP

    Some symptoms in MS, such as changes in mood and cognition, seem to be more challenging than other symptoms for individuals with MS and the people who care about them. There are several factors that likely contribute to the challenging nature of these symptoms.

    Full Article

    Getting the Most Out of Your Medical Visit

    by David Rintell, EdD & Lynn Stazzone, RN, BSN, MSN, NP

    Stay healthier by becoming an active member of your own healthcare team!    Multiple sclerosis is a complex neurological disease which often changes over time.  There are now many treatments which can modify the disease, called DMTs or disease modifying treatments. There are also many treatments which help to improve or alleviate symptoms.  Although the new treatment options are hopeful, understanding all of the potential benefits and risks to these treatments can sometimes be overwhelming.

    Full Article

    Managing Multiple Sclerosis Early

    by Deborah M. Miller, PhD, LISW & Linda Walls, OTR

    Learning how to manage the physical changes you may experience as a newly diagnosed person living with MS can be a major challenge.  

    Full Article

    Travel Tips with Multiple Sclerosis

    by Juliann Hanson-Zlatev, OTR & Amanda Rohrig, PT, DPT

    The spring/summer travel season is fast approaching!! What are your plans? Perhaps attending a family reunion, dipping your toes in the surf and sand, or traveling to that “bucket list” location you have so long wanted to enjoy are your summer travel goals? Maybe you just want to relax and “get away from it all” with the family, or use up your well-earned vacation time from work? Wait no longer…..you CAN travel. With a little knowledge, preparation and planning, your travel aspirations can become a reality.

    Full Article

    Social Security & Disability: Understanding a Critical Safety Net Questions answered by Thomas Stewart, JD, PA-C

    by Thomas Stewart, JD, PA-C

    With the overwhelming number of questions we received from the September 2013 webinar on Social Security we decided to revisit the topic by having our presenter, Thomas Stewart answer the questions asked during the webinar. Enjoy!

    Full Article

    Questions & Answers: Live with the Can Do MS Experts

    by Deborah M. Miller, PhD, LISW; Juliann Hansen-Zlatev, OTR; David E. Jones, MD

    QUESTION: How do I handle and cope with knowing that I am going to live with MS for the rest of my life?

    Answer from Deborah: Receiving the diagnosis of MS can be unsettling, for anyone at any age.  It is important to know that there are different points along the continuum of life with MS.  The person will go through a grieving process related to changes in their life that comes with the realization that MS is a part of their life.  The key to managing this realization is that MS is only a part of your life, and there is much in the person’s life that remains as it was before their MS.  It is very important to find a place for MS in their life without it being the entire focus of their life. 

    Full Article

    Coping with MS: Using Rehabilitation to Enhance Resilence

    by Rosalind Kalb, PhD & Mandy Rohrig, PT, DPT

    Multiple sclerosis often involves “stormy” periods that can rattle the foundations for you and your family members.  The “storms” or challenges of MS may include adapting to the diagnosis, changes in functional abilities and the use of new or different adaptive devices, among other obstacles.  Or, it may involve daily challenges such as driving independently or overcoming a fatiguing day of work.  During such challenging times, you and your loved ones may feel down, exhausted and defeated.  Learning to cope effectively with these obstacles helps strengthen and prepare you to meet future challenges. In other words, successful coping helps increase your resilience.  

    Full Article

    The ABC’s & XYZ’s of Daily Living with MS

    by Denise Nowack, RD & Ann Mullinix, OTR/L

    Managing your MS is more than making doctor appointments, taking medications and using your energy to perform the activities that “should be done”. Making time for the activities that bring joy and fulfillment are important to improve health and overall well-being. Finding solutions that help you reclaim the things you love and enhance the manageability of everyday life can be easy as ABC.

    Full Article

    Want To Get Away?

    by Pat Kennedy, RN, CNP, MSCN, Can Do MS Nurse Educator & Programs Consultant

    When you face physical limitations, traveling can seem like an insurmountable task. You think about “how do I get about if my walking is unsteady?” “How do I manage my bladder problems?”

    Full Article

    Gardening Tips

    by Gail Hartley, NP, MSN, MSCN

    Spring has sprung and it is time to look forward to a new season of growth. Growing a garden—whether flowers or vegetables—is a wonderful, relaxing and therapeutic way to get you in touch with Mother Nature.

    Full Article

    Disability & Social Security Benefits in MS

    by Thomas M. Stewart, M.S., J.D., PA-C

    Treatments for MS are advancing rapidly.  It is increasingly clear that more and more people with MS will never develop impairments that will interfere with their ability to work; that is, many people with MS will never become disabled. 

    Even so, some people with MS remain at risk for disability.   According to the Social Security Administration, MS is the third most common neurological cause of disability, behind only stroke and epilepsy.  Of course, the consequences of unemployment related to disability are numerous and potentially devastating.  These consequences include poverty, lack of health care benefits, loss of professional identity, social isolation, and increased focus on pain and impairments. 

    Full Article

    Losing Weight

    by Can Do Multiple Sclerosis

    With Atkins, LA Weight Loss, Dr. Phil, South Beach and 35 billion dollars donated to weight loss routines, why are Americans getting heavier? In 2000, the prevalence of obesity in US adults was 19.8 percent, which reflects a 61 percent increase over the previous 10 years.

    Full Article

    Some things to know about the world around you that may affect your MS

    by Pat Kennedy, RN, CNP, MSCN and Deborah M. Miller, PhD, LISW.

    At the time of diagnosis, most patients are told that the absolute cause of MS and a cure are unknown.  Hearing this makes most people feel a bit out of control concerning living with this disease.  The reality is, however, that there are factors we know to enhance your health and to improve your quality of life.  Knowing what some of these are gives you back some of that control and helps you to move forward by making some lifestyle modifications.  We call that “control” empowerment and it truly allows you to make positive changes that will make a difference in your life.

    Full Article

    Multiple Sclerosis and Applying for Disability Benefits

    by Lisa Giorgetti, Community Liason, Social Security Disability Help

    Living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) or caring for someone who does can put a financial strain on your life and keep you from being able to work. Social Security Disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) can help ease that strain and provide an opportunity to live a more comfortable life.

    Full Article

    Celebrating the Season and Maintaining Wellness

    by Pat Kennedy, RN, CNP, MSCN, Can Do MS Nurse Educator & Programs Consultant

    What is the most important part of the upcoming holidays to you?  While some “love it all”, few of us can “do it all”. 

    Full Article

    Turning Challenges into Possibilities

    by Pat Kennedy, RN, CNP, MSCN, Can Do MS Nurse Educator & Programs Consultant

    Here we are in a new year.  For some people with MS, it will be facing their first year with the diagnosis.  For others, this may be the second, third or fourth year living with MS. 

    Full Article

    Leisure Wintertime Activities

    by Beth Bullard, OTR, Can Do MS Programs Consultant

    Stay Active and Connected in Winter

    For centuries winter has been identified as a time for reflection and replenishment. It's an opportunity to resolve issues, create resolutions and look forward to the prospects of a new year.

    Full Article

    Traveling With MS

    by Can Do MS Programs Consultants: Linda Walls, OTR and Mandy Rohrig, PT, DPT

    Don’t let your mobility challenges be the obstacle between you and a relaxing vacation.  There are many available options to make travel easier and more enjoyable.   Bon voyage!

    Full Article

    In the Kitchen with MS

    by Denise Nowack, RD and Ann Mullinix, OTR/L

    Having the desire and motivation to eat well is one thing, but the process of actually carrying it out, from purchasing the food to placing a meal on the table, is another. Obstacles are real, such as limited time and energy, or challenges from cognitive and physical changes. Here are four simple strategies that can help you have more success in the kitchen, eat well, and feel better, with more energy and confidence.

    Full Article

    Yoga and Multiple Sclerosis

    by Victoria Szwajcer, BScPT, Registered Yoga Teacher

    Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual discipline which originates in ancient India.  It is a unique kind of exercise because it requires cognitive attention to the breath and the body simultaneously.   There are many varieties of yoga that can be practiced and are readily available by attending classes out in the community, working one on one with a yoga instructor/yoga therapist or trying a home based practice. 

    Full Article

    Talking to Your Employer About MS

    by Barbara McKeon, MA, CRC, LMHC & Steven Nissen, MS, CRC

    Disclosing one’s Multiple Sclerosis to your employer is one of the most difficult decisions people with MS face. You need to consider carefully before making the decision to do so, as it has legal and job related implications that can be ongoing.  When disclosing to an employer, there are many issues to consider. There may be good reasons to disclose and benefits from doing so. However, once information is given, it can never be taken back, so it’s important to make certain that telling does benefit you.

    Full Article

    Gaining Function by Horseback

    by Ken Seaman, PT, DPT, ACE, Can Do MS Programs Consultant

    The vast majority of individuals who participate in therapeutic riding rehabilitation programs have shown significant positive outcomes. Regardless of the condition one may be dealing with, numerous research studies have clearly shown functional improvements in people who partake in this activity.

    Full Article

    For Women With MS: Making Decisions About Pregnancy, Breastfeeding & More

    by Elizabeth Salas, MPH, Teratology Information Specialist, MotherToBaby California

    If you have Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and are currently pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning a pregnancy, where do you go when you have questions about MS or MS treatments? In this day and age, the first place you might go is the Internet. With no shortage of information at our fingertips, it may seem the answers to all of our questions are just a web search away. But when it comes to chronic conditions and treatments in pregnancy, reliable and accurate information isn’t always easy to find, and the answers may not be so simple. So let’s try a different approach, shall we? First, let’s start with the facts!

    Full Article

    Keeping Fit with Multiple Sclerosis

    by Alexander Ng, PhD, FACSM & Tammy G. Roehrs, PT, MA, NCS

    Fitness is often associated with exercise.  While exercise or physical activity is now advised for everyone, having MS can make meeting recommended exercise guidelines challenging.  But is it really that important if someone has a chronic disease like MS?  The short answer is. . . YES!  Lack of exercise is associated with heart disease, cancers, metabolic diseases, hypertension, low bone density, all-cause mortality, and numerous other health risks that affect people with MS.  The latest catch phrase about exercise, “Exercise is Medicine,” implies that physical activity is just as important for someone with MS as it is for the general population.

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    Rebounding from an MS Relapse

    by Gail Hartley, MSN, NP, MSCN & Susan Kushner, MS, PT

    Just like the disease itself, relapses and recovery in MS can be highly variable. You may have a mild exacerbation or one that may require numerous changes for you. No matter the extent of relapse, it is possible for you to maintain an exercise program during and after recovery.

    Full Article

    Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) in MS

    by Jennifer Smrtka, ANP-BC, MSCN, Can Do MS Programs Consultant

    MS is a chronic neurologic, immune-mediated disease affecting the central nervous system including the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. Currently there are eight FDA approved medications to treat the disease that have been rigorously tested, monitored for safety, and are closely regulated. 

    Full Article

    Exercise and Using Adaptive Equipment

    by Juliann Hanson-Zlatev, OTR and Kathy San Martino, PT, NCS, ATP/SMS, CLT-LANA, MSCS

    Exercise…For some that word conjures up negative feelings like a tedious task, a bad movie your spouse makes you watch, or homework. For others, exercise represents “me time”, feeling of wellness and accomplishment, taking care of yourself. For those who look at exercise as a negative, let’s capitalize on that last description – “taking care of your self”.

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    Cooling Techniques & Devices

    by Beth Bullard, OTR, Can Do MS Programs Consultant

    Around 60-80% of individuals living with M.S. experience heat intolerance, particularly during the warmer summer months.  Simply explained, when the body’s temperature elevates nerve conduction is slowed or blocked causing a temporary worsening of symptoms. The effects are as unique as we are with each individual having their own threshold and response to heat and humidity. It is important to note, heat does not cause an exacerbation of the disease process. The effects are temporary with symptoms returning to their normal level as the body cools.

    Full Article

    Bladder & Bowel Issues

    by Susan Kalota, MD, Urology

    Peeing is not as easy as it sounds.  The act of urinating voluntarily is a very complex act requiring functions of the brain, the spinal cord, nerves directly to the bladder or urethra, normal bladder muscles, normal urethral muscles and in men, a prostate that is not blocking the outlet.  Unfortunately, MS is a disease of nerve function so it has the ability to affect bladder function in many different sites from the brain down to the bladder or urethra.  Bladder issues are experienced by 50-80% of all people with MS.

    Full Article

    Exercise and MS

    by Mandy Rohrig, PT, DPT, Can Do MS Programs Consultant

    Nearly twenty to thirty years ago, individuals diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis were instructed to avoid physical activity and exercise as it may worsen their symptoms or the course of their disease. The value of exercise in the management of MS has been firmly established by years of collaboration among clinicians, researchers, we well as the leadership of advocates such as Can Do MS’s founder, Jimmie Heuga.

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    Pain Management for People Living with MS

    by Janice Miller, MD, Susan Anacker, MSPT and David Engstrom, Ph.D, ABPP (CAN DO MS PROGRAM CONSULTANTS)

    Pain can be a problem for many people with MS. Many factors like muscle cramps, tight aching joints, and musculoskeletal problems can contribute to pain. Fortunately, several seemingly small changes can add up to a real reduction in pain. 

    Full Article

    New Year’s Resolutions: Motivation to Exercise

    by Can Do MS Programs Consultants:David Engstrom, PhD, ABPP & Sue Kushner, MS, PT

    It is now known, thanks to years of collaboration among clinicians and researchers, that exercise is helpful in managing many multiple sclerosis symptoms.  It can still be difficult to find the motivation to exercise; even knowing that exercise is beneficial in controlling the symptoms of MS.  Part of the problem is that we tend to set lofty goals and end up not following through or even starting!  This is one of the reasons that most of us beyond the age of 35 or so stop making New Year’s resolutions.  It is very easy to set a goal and then never even start.

    Full Article

    Top Ten Gizmos and Gadgets to Move You

    by Beth Bullard, OTR, Can Do MS Programs Consultant

    In doing research for this article, my colleagues and I discovered that there are as many gadgets and gizmos as there are tasks and situations. Many of them have made their way into the main stream and are available at local stores or via online shopping. 

    Full Article

    Coping With Invisible MS Symptoms

    by Allison Shadday, LCSW, Can Do MS Programs Consultant

    How do you cope with something that you can’t see? For many of us, dealing with the invisible symptoms of MS can be extremely challenging. Issues with fatigue, depression, cognition, intimacy and self-esteem often go undiagnosed, under treated and misunderstood.

    Full Article

    Strategies for Safe Eating and Swallowing

    by Can Do MS Programs Consultants:Janet DeClark, MA, CCC-SLP and Baldwin Sanders, MS, RD, LDN

    Swallowing is a function that happens so automatically that we never give it much thought until something goes wrong. Most of us have experienced the occasional coughing and sputtering that comes with “swallowing down the Sunday throat.” However, when you have MS, those episodes can become more frequent and bothersome, to the point that they affect safety of oral intake. Swallowing problems, also known as “dysphagia,” can vary in MS from occasional episodes of something “going down the wrong throat” to more serious symptoms of unintended weight loss or repeated cases of pneumonia due to aspiration.  Dysphagia can also have a negative impact on quality of life.

    Full Article

    Adaptive Equipment: How It Can Help You Exercise

    by Juliann Hanson-Zlatev, OTR and Kathy San Martino, PT, NCS, ATP/SMS, CLT-LANA, MSCS

    When MS impairs your mobility more and more, exercise can pose yet one more challenge. For some the word “exercise” conjures up negative feelings or nervousness while for others, exercise represents ‘me time’, empowerment, a feeling of wellness, accomplishment, and taking care of yourself.

    Full Article

    Aging with Multiple Sclerosis

    by Gail Hartley, MSN, NP, MSCN and Terry DiLorenzo, PhD

    Approximately 25% of people with MS are 65 and older.  The average older person with MS has been diagnosed for 20 years and is more likely to have a progressive form of MS. However, older individuals are less likely to have a regular MS care provider. In addition to MS symptoms, older individuals experience the typical changes associated with aging, which include having more physical health conditions, fatigue, weakness, pain, cognitive difficulties and need for assistance with activities of daily living. 

    Full Article

    Fight Fatigue - Create & Implement New Strategies to Take Control

    by Ann Mullinix, OTR/L, Can Do MS Programs Consultant

    MS fatigue is more than "normal" fatigue. It affects 80 to 90 percent of people diagnosed, and a majority of people feel it is their most debilitating symptom.

    Full Article

    Bladder Issues

    by Pat Kennedy RN, CNP, MSCN, Can Do MS Nurse Educator & Programs Consultant

    How well do you know your bladder? If you have MS and are experiencing some changes in your bladder function, you have a great deal of company.  Probably 85% of people with MS will experience problems with bladder function at some time in their course of MS. 

    Full Article

    Healthy Eating Made Simple

    by Baldwin Sanders, MS, RD, LDN, Can Do MS Programs Consultant

    Recently, I was at a community meeting where I knew no one. I was standing around the Southern Living type food buffet, indulging in some creamy, cheesy dip and crackers. 

    Full Article

    Spasticity Management in Persons with MS: An Interdisciplinary Approach

    by Can Do Multiple Sclerosis

    Spasticity is a common symptom seen in people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and can play a major role in disability.  Spasticity has important clinical manifestations including tonic increases in muscle tone with limb rigidity and/or a phasic pattern of uncontrolled spasms. 

    Full Article

    Functional Electrical Stimulation in Multiple Sclerosis

    by Brian Hutchinson, PT, MSCS, Former Can Do MS CEO

    There has been an increase in the public's awareness of functional electrical stimulation (FES) and its use in people living with MS.  FES as an ambulatory aid, has been used for many years by rehabilitation professionals.

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    Exercise for Endurance and Health: Doing What you CAN DO!

    by Can Do Multiple Sclerosis

    As recently as twenty years ago, people with multiple sclerosis (MS) were advised to avoid physical activity/exercise because it could increase symptoms or possibly even increase disease activity.  Today it is well accepted that exercise is beneficial in maintaining or increasing one’s health, decreasing secondary complications and improving psychological well-being. 

    Full Article

    Improve your Balance

    by Brian Hutchinson, PT, MSCS, Former Can Do MS CEO

    Loss of balance can be frustrating. It is most commonly seen with activities such as walking, climbing stairs or transfers. It can also be a problem with sitting or standing.

    Full Article

    Vitamin D: What Do We Know?

    by Pat Kennedy RN, CNP, MSCN, Can Do MS Nurse Educator & Programs Consultant

    It seems you can’t pick up a publication these days without reading about how many of us seem to have low levels of Vitamin D. It never seemed to be a problem before; why is it now? 

    Full Article

    Stretching for People with Multiple Sclerosis

    by Can Do Multiple Sclerosis

    Stretching has many benefits for all people. It is an activity which we can all participate in to one degree or another. 

    Full Article

    Summertime Heat - Is it Making My MS Worse?

    by Jennifer Smrtka, APRN, MSCN, Can Do MS Programs Consultant

    Most of us enjoy the warm weather months; the longer days, lots of sunshine, and time enjoying the great outdoors.  For some individuals living with MS, however, summertime heat can be tough and cause their MS symptoms to be temporarily worse.  So what is really going on? 

    Full Article

    Strength Training for People with Multiple Sclerosis

    by Can Do Multiple Sclerosis

    Strength is defined as the quality of being strong or powerful as it relates to muscular activity. Muscle strength is needed to perform daily activities. Weakness can decrease function. 

    Full Article

    How to Be Active in the Winter

    by Greg Farmer, M.S., M.P.T., Can Do MS Programs Consultant

    With less daylight and colder temperatures it can be a challenge to stay active and maintain your fitness in the winter. By understanding your symptoms and using some creativity, you can have fun and maintain your fitness goals during the winter.

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    Heat Management for MS: Avoiding the Meltdown

    by Juliann Hanson-Zlatev, OTR, Can Do MS Programs Consultant

    Do you ever turn down offers of outings or social gatherings because you will get too hot? Do you stay indoors when you would rather be outside? Do you ever feel like you might just melt?
     

    Full Article

    Benefits of Exercise for People with MS

    by Can Do Multiple Sclerosis

    As recently as twenty years ago, people with multiple sclerosis (MS) were advised to avoid physical activity/exercise because it could increase symptoms or possibly even increase disease activity.  Today it is well accepted that exercise is beneficial in maintaining or increasing one’s health, decreasing secondary complications and improving psychological well-being.

    Full Article

    The Snack Attack: Healthy-Snacking Tips

    by Baldwin Sanders, MS, RD, Can Do MS Programs Consultant

    What does your snacking behavior look like? Are you a vending-machine junkie? Does your co-worker bring in tempting sweets made especially for you? Does your snacking generate a guilty feeling?

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    Fun in the Sun...Be Careful

    by Pat Kennedy, RN, CNP, MSCN, Can Do MS Nurse Educator & Programs Consultant

    Now that summer is here, most of us want to spend more time outside; in our gardens, doing activities, picnicking, and sitting on our decks and porches.  The problem comes when our skin is exposed to too much sunshine. 

    Full Article

    Communication is a Two-Way Street

    by Beth Bullard, OTR & Rosalind Kalb, PhD

    Healthy productive communication abilities are not inherent. They are learned and developed.  Our life experiences frame the foundation for how we perceive each other and form relationships.  Healthy relationships depend on good communication, mutual respect and trust.  Communication is far more than the words we speak.  The way we say the words and how they are received impact the success of the message.  When we are able to communicate effectively, we connect, and these connections establish and strengthen our relationships.

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    Keeping Your Relationship Alive: The Physical & Emotional Aspects of Intimacy in MS

    by Pat Kennedy, RN, CNP, MSCN & Rosalind Kalb, PhD

    ‘Intimacy’ isn’t just about sexual feelings and sexual activity – although that’s one important part we’ll talk about later. Intimacy is about effective communication, trust and respect, shared values and expectations, and a balanced give-and take. Maintaining intimacy can be difficult in any relationship, but the stresses of MS – its unpredictability, progressive nature, complex symptoms and financial impact – can challenge any couple. Feelings of loss, anxiety, anger and guilt can interfere with communication, connection and effective problem-solving; physical changes can interfere with everyday activities and sexual intimacy. So where to begin?

    Full Article

    Effective Parenting: Balancing Family and MS

    by Peggy Crawford, PhD

    The demands of either MS or parenting can be challenging, but when experienced together, it is not unusual for people to feel stressed and overwhelmed.  Add to this, unpredictable and fluctuating MS symptoms that can interfere with fun activities and make it difficult to carry out your daily responsibilities (even disciplining your children).  The good news is that there is a lot you can do to limit the impact of your symptoms on your life and the lives of people you love.  

    Full Article

    Talk about Complementary and Alternative Medicine

    by Pat Kennedy, RN, CNP, MSCN, Can Do MS Nurse Educator & Programs Consultant

    In June, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine of the National Institutes of Health launched a campaign called “Time To Talk” to encourage both patients and health care providers to discuss the use of complementary and alternative treatments (CAM). 

    Full Article

    Relationships & Communication

    by Rosalind Kalb, Ph.D., Can Do MS Programs Consultant

    When one person is diagnosed with MS, many other people are involved and affected. And the changes brought about by MS can have an impact on those important relationships.

    Full Article

    Support for the Partner

    by David Rintell, Ed.D., Psychologist & Can Do MS Programs Consultant

    Being a support person to someone with MS often involves many challenges, but can also be enormously rewarding. One of the most significant challenges is to take care of oneself, and meet one’s own needs, while at the same time helping to support and care for a loved one.  But we know that if you do not take care of yourself, you may become unable to provide support to the people you love.

    Full Article

    Support is a Two-Way Street: Tips for Partners Who Care about Each Other

    by Rosalind Kalb, Ph.D., Can Do MS Programs Consultant

    Every partnership has a rhythm of its own. Whether you are spouses/partners, relatives, or close friends, a healthy, balanced relationship relies on a variety of factors:

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    A Wellness Approach for Families Living with MS

    by Can Do Multiple Sclerosis

    Wellness is a term that has gained increasing popularity in recent years. Wellness generally focuses on physical, psychological and spiritual aspects of one’s life.

    Full Article

    Developing Intimacy

    by Pat Kennedy, RN, CNP, MSCN, Can Do MS Nurse Educator & Programs Consultant

    February is the month to show someone you love them.  We see ads for flowers, chocolates, sleepwear and dinners for two.  While it is cheerful and colorful and fun, one would hope that sharing intimacy with the ones you love and care about is not a one day affair. 

    Full Article

    How to talk to others about living with MS

    by Pat Kennedy, RN, CNP, MSCN, Can Do MS Nurse Educator & Programs Consultant

    Being diagnosed with MS or being told your loved one is diagnosed is like being told a secret. You can keep the information to yourself or share it with everyone you meet. Neither of these are good long-term solutions to help you live a quality life.

    Full Article

    Couples Living with MS

    by David Rintell, Ed.D, Can Do MS Programs Consultant

    “In sickness and in health.” Although we make this vow in earnest, when we marry (or commit to each other), we do not expect that chronic illness will enter our lives.  The diagnosis of MS is life altering, not only for the patient, but also for her or his partner.

    Full Article

    MS and the Family

    by Peggy Crawford, PhD, Can Do MS Programs Consultant

    MS comes with many challenges for both the individual and family living with MS. As a chronic condition, MS is present every day even when medication is taken, stretches are done, and a positive attitude is maintained. 

    Full Article

    Managing Your Depression & Moods

    by Rosalind Kalb, Ph.D and Alexander Ng, Ph.D, FACSM

    The holiday season can be a time of joy and celebration with family and friends.  Yet it is also the season when you cannot escape media coverage of the holiday blues or holiday stress.  These changes in psychological health can all be compounded by multiple sclerosis, of which depression, altered mood, and fatigue are major symptoms.

    Full Article

    Quick and Easy Stress Reducers

    by Allison Shadday, LCSW, Can Do MS Programs Consultant, Author of MS and Your Feelings: Handling the Ups and Downs of MS

    Most of us can benefit from managing our stress more effectively.  However, for people with MS, managing stress may also help us manage our MS symptoms. When we feel more in control of how we react to the inevitable stresses in life, we feel better physically and emotionally.

    Full Article

    Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much

    by Pat Kennedy, RN, CNP, MSCN, Can Do MS Nurse Educator & Programs Consultant

    Valentine's Day was less than two weeks ago, but seems like a distant memory. It's a holiday that conjures up thoughts of romance, flowers, candy and kisses. 

    Full Article

    Forming Your Health Care Team

    by Pat Kennedy, RN, CNP, MSCN, Can Do MS Nurse Educator & Programs Consultant

    “I have discovered in life that I can do anything but I can’t do everything.  No one can go it alone.  Create your team!” 
    ~Robert Schuller

    If you have multiple sclerosis or are a friend or support partner of someone with MS, knowing how to access those people who can help you manage better is essential.  In our health care system, we generally see our providers on an as needed basis or as a regular scheduled check up. 

    Full Article

    Discover Your Brighter Side

    by Peggy Crawford , PsyD, Can Do MS Programs Consultant

    If you feel a bit down in the dumps this time of the year, you have lots of company. By March it can feel like spring will never come. For most of us, seeing the sun and the first few buds are enough to perk up our mood. 

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    Do You Know Where Your Zone Is?

    by Pat Kennedy, RN, CNP, MSCN, Can Do MS Nurse Educator & Programs Consultant

    Rosalind Kalb, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, Vice President of the Professional Resource Center of the National MS Society and a member of our Can Do MS Program Staff has coined the phrase “MS Free Zone.” What she is referring to are areas of your life where MS can’t touch you.

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    Managing Speech, Language and Cognitive Challenges

    by Pamela H. Miller, MA, CCC-SLP and Janet DeClark, MA, CCC-SLP

    *Please note this library article has two parts, each answered by different MS medical professionals.

    Difficulty with speaking clearly (dysarthria) may occur in up to 40% of people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).  Problems may interfere with how easily a person’s speech can be heard and understood. They are typically mild to moderate, or worsened intermittently by MS-related fatigue. Changes in voice quality (dysphonia) may also occur, resulting in hoarseness, breathiness, and/or reduced loudness.

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    Prioritizing Your Time and Activities

    by Ann Mullinix, OTR/L, Can Do MS Programs Consultant

    We all know what the word “priority” means. When living with MS, our priorities are focused on managing symptoms. Making time for activities that bring joy, fulfillment and improve our quality of life are neglected and moved aside.

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    Cognitive Changes: Recognizing and Meeting the Challenges

    by Deborah Miller, PhD, LISW Janet DeClark, MA, CCC-SLP

    It is fortunate that the MS community is increasingly open about the fact that this disease includes cognitive symptoms as well and physical and emotional ones.  This opens the door for persons living with MS and their health care providers to assess if cognitive symptoms exist and how best to manage them. Based on a number of studies, it is estimated that 50% or more of people with MS will experience cognitive symptoms due to the disease.

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    Get Back on Track: Keep Your Motivation Alive

    by David Engstrom, Ph.D., ABPP, Can Do MS Programs Consultant

    Change can be hard. Every one of us has trouble with it. New Year’s resolutions are a perfect example of how change can be hard. Whether you made a plan before the New Year and never got started, or you started off great and didn’t follow through, goals are often not accomplished because they are too big, vague or complicated. Make your goals attainable, simple and small.

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    Fatigue Management

    by Can Do Multiple Sclerosis

    Managing a hectic schedule can be a very daunting task.  As our lives get busier we have to take into consideration many more factors.  Organization and time management become essential to ‘getting everything done’. 

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    Feeling Sluggish? Regulate Your System

    by Pat Kennedy RN, CNP, MSCN, Can Do MS Nurse Educator & Programs Consultant

    We often see TV ads about bowel issues and think that these problems are common and manageable.  They are common and they are manageable, even if your MS is the cause. 

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    Choosing an Assistive Device

    by Can Do Multiple Sclerosis

    There has been a recent focus on assistive devices (specifically walking aides).  Choosing an assistive device can be a very difficult decision.  What is the best way to make a decision on an assistive device?

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    Make the Most of your Farmer’s Market

    by Pat Kennedy, RN, CNP, MSCN, Can Do MS Nurse Educator & Programs Consultant

    With summer comes Farmer’s Markets in most areas of the world, displaying a veritable cornucopia of tasty and healthy treats for you to eat.  Try to find the markets in your community and visit the one that works best for your schedule or location. 

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    Staying Energized Through the Season

    by Cindy Gackle, OTR/L, MSCS, Can Do MS Programs Consultant

    It seems to be all too common to take on too much during this season.  Some of that can be managed by choosing your activities wisely.  Use the following tips to shave off some energy expenditure.

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    Preventing Falls

    by Pat Kennedy, RN, CNP, MSCN, Can Do MS Nurse Educator & Programs Consultant

    The fall season is a good thing because the cooler temperatures makes it easier for people to be active.  Falling down is not a good thing.  There is growing information about falls in the general population, as well as with people living with MS or other conditions, that put them at risk

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    Maintaining Motivation for Exercise

    by Dr. David Engstrom, ABPP, FACP, Can Do MS Programs Consultant

    Many of us face the challenge of maintaining balance in our lives. One of those challenges is being able to maintain motivation for your exercise program. 

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    Be Active in the Summer Heat

    by Pat Kennedy, RN, CNP, MSCN, Can Do MS Nurse Educator & Programs Consultant

    Summertime sometimes makes living a challenge. Many of us live by our routines that often take a hiatus in the summer months. Others find summer more difficult due to the heat so we spend far too much time indoors in our homes to escape the summer’s heat.

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    Goal Setting & Attainment

    by Can Do Multiple Sclerosis

    Everyone sets goals in their lives. Goals are set for many reasons and usually with noble intentions. The New Year is a time when many people set ‘resolutions’ or goals for the coming year. Often these ‘resolutions’ are broken before the beginning of February.

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    Brain Exercises and Some Fun

    by Pat Kennedy, RN, CNP, MSCN, Can Do MS Nurse Educator & Programs Consultant

    Humor is the great thing, the saving thing.  The minute it crops up, all our irritation and resentments slip away, and a sunny spirit takes their place.  ~Mark Twain~ 

    April is upon us. Winter is waning, spring is coming. It is time to shed the pallor and have some fun. Play this little game. Good for the brain and good for the soul!

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    Exercising Your Brain Power

    by Pat Kennedy, RN, CNP, MSCN, Can Do MS Nurse Educator & Programs Consultant

    We often talk about the value of exercise for your health and well-being.  As it turns out, exercise is valuable for your brain as well. 

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    Your Yearly Checklist

    by Pat Kennedy, RN, CNP, MSCN, Can Do MS Nurse Educator & Programs Consultants

    Every year when I open the first page of my new calendar, I feel excited about the things that will fill my calendar over the next year. While New Years' resolutions never work for me, I do make sure the things that need to be done for my health are planned in advance. 

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    What Is Your Motivation Personality?

    by Dr. David Engstrom, ABPP, FACP, Can Do MS Programs Consultant

     Take two minutes to complete the quiz.

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    Practical Spirituality

    by Lisa Redfearn, MSW, LCSW, Can Do MS Programs Consultant

    Many of you have heard of spirituality or have experienced spirituality.  Even if you have heard of it, you may wonder what it really means or how you practice spirituality.

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    Emerging Therapies

    by Randall T. Schapiro, M.D., FAAN, Can Do MS Programs Consultant & Board Member

    No one wishes to have multiple sclerosis, but having it in 2012 is certainly different from having MS in 1992.  Those twenty years brought about more changes than the one hundred twenty years before them.  And the changes continue to happen at a lightning fast rate.  It is quite possible that in the next year there will be three more disease modifying drugs available to slow relapsing forms of MS. 

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    Updates from the American Academy of Neurology

    by Dr. Randall (Randy) Schapiro, M.D., FAAN, Can Do MS Programs Consultant and Board Member

    As the roving reporter for Can Do MS at the American Academy of Neurology Meeting in Toronto, I could not help but notice how large and spacious the Convention Center of Toronto is.  Anyone attending the meeting had to lose 5 pounds simply by walking between the sessions! 

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    Emerging Therapies

    by Randall T. Schapiro, M.D., FAAN., Can Do MS Programs Consultant & Board Member

    Emerging therapies is a topic that is of interest to anyone involved in the management of multiple sclerosis.  Whether you are a person with MS or a practitioner you cannot help but get caught up in the fever of all the new treatments being talked about. 

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    Emerging Therapies

    by Randall T. Schapiro, M.D., FAAN, Can Do MS Programs Consultant & Board Member

    As we look toward the future in MS therapies the key will be risk versus benefit.  The market for MS treatments appears to be very high despite the fact that there are eight FDA approved treatments.  As newer, different treatments come into being it is going to be even more important for the physician and the person with MS to weigh the risk/benefit ratio to decide whether the “newness” and unexplored (outside of studies) treatment is worth passing on the older/potentially safer models.

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    MS Coalition Charity Navigator Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers Independent Charities of America Humane Charity

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    Formerly The Heuga Center for Multiple Sclerosis | Founded by Jimmie Heuga

    A national nonprofit organization, Can Do MS is a leading provider of innovative lifestyle empowerment programs
    that empower people with MS and their support partners to transform and improve their quality of life.