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FES Therapy for MS Patients

July 21, 2016

Over 1,000 multiple sclerosis patients are benefiting from Restorative Therapies’ training systems. FES, Functional Electrical Stimulation, is cycling that allows you use your legs and arms to cycle against resistance, similar to riding up hill. FES is appropriate to use when your injury has made it difficult for you to move your arms or legs. This is because it stimulates the nerves that connect to your muscles, therefore they contract and work.

Other physical benefits one can experience when cycling with FES are relaxed muscle spasms, atrophy prevention, increased blood circulation and an increase in range of motion. Dr. Stephen Kanter of the International Multiple Sclerosis Management Practice in New York said movement is an immediate benefit seen in patients using FES.

The device gives users essential feedback such as asymmetry display, speed and distance. They are also able to see all of the effort they are putting in and are able to receive assistance where they are weakest. Kanter stated this is important because they are given the ability to maximize a motor contraction result in their strength and circulatory benefits. While patients report having reduced spasticity after a FES session, Kanter said this allows him to perform gait training immediately after in a ‘more effective manner’.

A new study published in the Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine in 2014 said that 71 percent of 40 participants with a mean follow-up of 15 months included FES into their rehabilitation. Lower extremity motor scores improved in 75 percent of patients that have primary progressive MS (PPMS), 71.4 percent of those with secondary progressive MS (SPMS) and 54.5 percent with relapsing remitting MS (RRMS). Patients also have said that the relief from FES can last up to 24 hours.

Patients also have the ability to use FES from home and not just at their physical therapy sessions. They can build independence along with lasting relief into their everyday home-life routines.