Herb Karpatkin, PT, DSc, NCS, MSCS
Operates a private physical therapy practice in New York,
…on improving balance and preventing falls
“Disability in MS is multifactorial. Lesions can occur in any area of the central nervous system (CNS), and therefore a variety of impairments are possible. Balance loss is common in MS because it occurs not only from myelin loss, but also from a variety of symptoms such as weakness, stiffness, sensory loss, pain, and loss of muscle control. Fatigue is a common MS symptom and can be a major reason for falls and balance loss. Research has shown that people with MS are far more likely to fall when fatigued.
“However, falls in MS are to a large extent preventable with exercise programs that are specifically tailored to the individual’s needs. A falls-prevention program must address the specific causes of the falls, and since falls in MS are multifactorial (depending on how the disease expresses itself), the program must be customized to the specific needs of the person with MS at risk of falling.
“An evaluation with a therapist or physician trained in MS falls prevention and balance can uncover the specific reasons for the falls and construct an exercise program to address them. In the same way that specific medications are given to address specific MS symptoms, specific exercises can be given to address MS balance loss.”
Dr. Herb Karpatkin is a physical therapist specializing in multiple sclerosis since 1993. He has presented nationally and locally, to patients, therapists, and physicians on topics related to MS, exercise, and physical therapy. Dr. Karpatkin has published numerous articles on the subject of MS and exercise, and serves on advisory boards for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation. He owns and operates a private practice in New York, specializing in the evaluation and treatment of MS.