Training with Multipel Schlerosis Training with Multipel Schlerosis

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Thread: Training with Multipel Schlerosis

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
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    Default Training with Multipel Schlerosis

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    Hello Rip

    I have decided to write you an email hoping to get an answer. If I don't then that's OK too. You are a busy man.

    I have been doing starting strength for almost two years. I have been training on my own since there is no place to do barbell training near where I live.

    The last three years have been without training due to family reasons.

    1 month age I got the diagnosis, multiple sclerosis. I am 38 years old. Since that disease attacks the central nerve system I thought that barbell training could do something good to keep my disease in check.

    I was wondering if you had any experience with this or had written any articles about the subject.

    My training consists of squat, deadliff, benchpress and some additional work recommended by my Physiotherapist.
    Later on I would like to add the press and the bend over row.

    I hope you understand what I'm trying to write.

    Greetings from Denmark.

    Kind regards

    Cajus Nielsen

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    North Texas
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    39,479

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    Several people here are training with MS. We'll get some answers.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
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    Cajus,

    While perusing the archives, I stumbled across an older post (currently on page 625 of this subforum) that talks about this. Paul Stagg gives a great response (Have You Ever Coached Someone With MS), but there are several other good responses too.

    I'm sure that there are more examples in the archives.

    Bill

  4. #4
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    Mar 2016
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    Austin, TX
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    Hi Cajus,

    I am sorry to hear about your diagnosis. I was diagnosed myself 10 years ago. These things certainly have a way changing how to think about life and what is important. The linked response above is an excellent one. It also highlights the fact that there are quite a few people out there who have a severe first attack of MS but then have much less severe or no attacks after that. Being in a wheelchair is NOT a certainty with this disease.

    From what I have seen, it is possible to change the course of the disease through diet, exercise, and medication. I have seen this with myself and with others I know who have ben diagnosed. Personally, I have lingering nerve issues with my lower extremities. I have a difficult time with anything requiring fine motor skills (sprinting, playing soccer, balancing, etc.) and with feeling tired a lot. Strength training has helped me with all of these things. Proper diet also helps. With strength training, you will need to eat more so make sure it is good quality food! Last, I have been on Avonex for the last 10 years. I have had no MS symptoms other than my original ones during that time. I am working with my neurologist to develop a plan to stop taking the medication and for monitoring to make sure that the MS stays dormant. I think this is possible because of strength training and a good diet.

    As you train, remember that you will have good and bad days. On the bad ones, remember why you are training to begin with. If you do that, you quickly realize that even bad training days are good days!

    Dr. K

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
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    I was diagnosed with RR MS a little over 3 years ago. My one and only flare up affected my sensory nerves on the midline of the left side of my body from the nipple down. I found starting strength about 10 months ago and my strength has been on par and unaffected by the MS.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
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    I too have multiple sclerosis and was diagnosed in 2005. I am a 59 yr old woman and am overweight. Three years ago I could not climb a flight of stairs. I can now squat with over 100 lbs and deadlift 155 lbs. I press, bench press, and lat pull (because I cannot do chin-ups). When I peaked on deadlifts, I added in bent rows.

    My recommend doing it all and doing it heavy. It has done so much for me I have opened a gym that caters to those with disabilities and seniors. My achievements are not unique due to my multiple sclerosis. I have been able to duplicate it in others. Be proactive with your MS. MS is an incurable degenerative disease and strength is your greatest tool to live well.

    My neurologist is so impressed with the results he has seen in me and others that he is interested in doing a pilot study and possibly a research study based on these lifting techniques. Thank you, Mark Rippetoe for touching so many lives.
    I also recommend the book, "Barbell Prescription," by Dr. Sullivan for any necessary adaptations. My friend with MS, I encourage you with the name of my gym, Get Strong To Live Strong.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
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    No direct experience with this, but I think the general formula here applies:

    Would you rather be weak and have MS or be strong and have MS?

    Go forth and train! Good luck and keep us posted.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    Manhattan Beach, CA
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    To my knowledge, there's no known downside to strength training with MS. There's some data to suggest that maybe, hard cardio training can precipitate a relapse in the relapsing-remitting form of the disease. I don't know if you have that but if you do, that might be something to think about.

    If it were me, I'd strength train whenever I was able to between relapses. I'd want to get my muscle mass and tone as dialed in as much as possible during those times when it's possible to do so. If you DO have the RRMS form of the disease you might very well not be able to train during relapses. This is because the neural signal to the muscle might be degraded during those periods enough to prevent the signal from getting through to cause a meaningful muscle response to your efforts. So take advantage of the good times and train then!

    Make sure you have a good neurologist and let him or her know what your goals are from the beginning. If they're not onboard with them, get someone who is.

    Good luck and prayers going your way!

    John

  9. #9
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    Aug 2010
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    Olympia, WA
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    Quote Originally Posted by JFord View Post
    To my knowledge, there's no known downside to strength training with MS. There's some data to suggest that maybe, hard cardio training can precipitate a relapse in the relapsing-remitting form of the disease. I don't know if you have that but if you do, that might be something to think about.

    If it were me, I'd strength train whenever I was able to between relapses. I'd want to get my muscle mass and tone as dialed in as much as possible during those times when it's possible to do so. If you DO have the RRMS form of the disease you might very well not be able to train during relapses. This is because the neural signal to the muscle might be degraded during those periods enough to prevent the signal from getting through to cause a meaningful muscle response to your efforts. So take advantage of the good times and train then!

    Make sure you have a good neurologist and let him or her know what your goals are from the beginning. If they're not onboard with them, get someone who is.

    Good luck and prayers going your way!

    John
    I'd like to dovetail on what Dr. Ford says here. With proper safety precautions in place, there is no discernible risk to strength training with a person afflicted by Multiple Sclerosis. There is no good longitudinal data to support this, however, with neurological disease, theoretically, working in higher rep ranges MAY be more dangerous than working in lower rep ranges. In practice in the clinical setting, I perform strength based barbell rehab with virtually every MS patient I have. I reduce the in-set volume to begin with sets of 2-3.

    There is some data to support heavy cardiorespiratory training being a potential trigger. The data is not complete, but in practice, I have seen enough to warrant my support of this hypothesis. I try and actively persuade my MS patients from engaging in heavy cardiovascular exercise, at least until they are well-controlled on Disease Modifying Drugs (DMD) and they are then allowed to perform a linear progression, so to speak, to get back into aerobic training.

    Climate control is absolutely key. When you train, you must make sure the area you train is cool. No garage, dungeon gyms without climate control. Prison yard outdoor gyms in the brutal heat of the summer is not an option. Cool, climate controlled is the only way to go.

    Time will tell, but a lot of this hinges on the type of MS you have. Someone with a confirmed diagnosis of Primary Progressive MS is going to have a far different experience than someone with Relapsing - Remitting MS.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    Manhattan Beach, CA
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    To the original poster: Everything that Will says makes complete sense to me. He's also factually correct about temperature regulation. In general, overheating is deleterious to MS.

    Will's advantage is that he's obviously trained real MS patients (in addition to having a healthcare background). Take his recommendations seriously.

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