Up and About: Steps We Take For Granted

Submitted by: Jeff Wood

Joe's Success Story

Most everyone does this every day; we wake up, walk to the bathroom and brush our teeth and get ready for the day, then we walk out the door and go to work. The act of walking is a task I am sure none of us really think about, but for one client in particular, whom we will refer to as Joe, walking again was the goal he set out to do.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is thought to be an autoimmune disorder since the immune system attacks the protective layer of fat that surrounds the nervous tissue we refer to as "white matter." In addition to providing insulation, this protective layer of fat, called the myelin sheath, plays a part in speeding up the nerve conduction velocity, sending signals to various parts of the body, including skeletal muscle, those muscles which are responsible for allowing us to move. With MS, depending on the case, a person eventually loses the ability to properly send signals to the muscles resulting in paralysis (worse case) or difficult and uncoordinated movement.

I met Joe's wife through a group wellness and fitness class. It was a limited time class and she has been in attendance for the majority of sessions. On the last day I worked with her personally through a 1-on-1 session while an associate of mine worked with the group. Two weeks after this final class she called me and told me about Joe.

When I first met Joe he was confined to his power scooter. He had the ability to transfer, but over the years lost the ability to walk. He's tried various doctors, all of whom basically said it was MS taking its course. I wasn't ready to give up on him so easily.

For months I worked with Joe, starting with a whole series of therapeutic and strengthening exercises for the lower extremity, then designing an upper body strength program specifically for the tasks of using a walker, transferring, and preventing falls.

These days, we focus more on the functional aspect of walking. In September 2012 there is an event in which he hopes to walk for, even if it is by walker. As of the date of this writing (a month prior), he has already walked the length of a football field non-stop with his walker. This is a MAJOR accomplishment for Joe! Fatigue is a major challenge for anyone with MS and he got up and proved to me that he is going to accomplish his goal. In a month's time, he is going to SHOCK the crowd with what he is able to do.