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    We support Can Do MS because they help people every day. Research for a cure is great, but we also feel it is important to help people living with multiple sclerosis live a full life. We are big proponents and supporters of lifestyle programs and are pleased to help Can Do MS support scholarships for people to attend programs.

    Andrew K., The Laurence Polatsch Memorial Fund
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    by Janice Miller, MD, Susan Anacker, MSPT and David Engstrom, Ph.D, ABPP (CAN DO MS PROGRAM CONSULTANTS)

    Historically, pain in MS has not been well recognized or emphasized. We are now aware that an estimated 50-75% of MS patients experience pain at some time in their illness, and a sizable percentage live with some form of chronic pain. Pain may affect other potential symptoms in MS such as mood disorders, sleep disturbance and fatigue.

    Stretching muscles and joints daily can be a big contributor to maintaining proper flexibility and reducing painful injuries to joints.    Strength exercises can also relieve muscle pain.  More importantly, strength exercises restore strength to a level that prevents, or lessens the chance of small and painful injuries.  These are examples of “stealth” pain management techniques.  Doing stretching and strengthening exercises only one day will not relieve your pain.  But by working even 15 minutes a day, slowly,  you realize pain is no longer a big factor in your life.    This is “stealth” pain management.

    The way you sit, stand, sleep and move can contribute to long term pain.  This is true for all of us as we age, but this solution can be forgotten in those with MS.  Sitting crunched every day at your computer can stretch muscles and joint ligaments, causing aching and muscle stiffness often noticed the next morning.  Correcting this can be another “stealth” pain management technique.

    Listening to your pain can be enlightening.  Being your own scientist, looking for patterns and contributing factors, can help you discover one of the keys to your pain. 

    There are major differences between pain, suffering and disability, and they can each occur separately or together. Your patterns of thinking, emotions and behavior play a key role in the impact of pain in your life. You can learn to cope with your pain in a positive way.  Here are several techniques which can help:

     1)   Exploring your “unhelpful” thoughts about your pain, since these are often automatic thoughts that aren’t necessarily true! They can often be disputed in your own mind.

     2) Being a detective by always keeping a good record of not only your pain level, but your activity, emotions and sleep time. Looking back on these logs will help you to discover what works and what doesn’t.

     3) Manage your stress level by learning muscle relaxation, breathing, visual imagery and mindfulness techniques and practice often!

     4) Learn to pace your activity by slowing down, taking breaks and keeping a steady pace.

     The bottom line is that pain is influenced by your thoughts, emotions and activity.  

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    100 W. Beaver Creek Blvd. Suite 200 PO Box 5860 Avon, CO 81620 Phone: 970-926-1290 or 800-367-3101 Fax: 970-926-1295 Email: info@mscando.org
    MS Coalition Charity Navigator Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers Independent Charities of America Humane Charity

    Can Do Multiple Sclerosis™ is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization.
    Charitable Organization Number: 74-2337853

    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.