Assistive devices are tools that can make life with multiple sclerosis a little easier. They help you with tasks like walking, dressing, and bathing, and help you use less energy. An occupational or physical therapist can recommend devices that will help you the most and teach you how to use them.
Always talk with your doctor or therapist before you use any assistive device.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) and Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) are diseases of the nervous system. They’re not the same, but they do have a lot of similarities.
Both MS and GBS are autoimmune diseases. This means they cause your body's immune system to attack its own tissues. They both start when the immune system attacks and damages something called myelin. That’s a layer of insulation that surrounds nerves. It also helps nerves transmit their messages.
Each condition affects a different part of...
Orthotics: These are lightweight inserts you wear inside your shoes that can keep you more stable and ease fatigue. They also can brace your feet, which helps if you have spasticity in your feet.
Leg braces: Weakness in your leg muscles can make it harder to go up and down stairs, rise from a chair, or walk. An ankle-foot brace can keep your ankle stable when you have trouble with the muscles that raise the foot. It fits into a regular shoe and keeps your toes from dragging. If you have muscle weakness in your neck, a neck brace may make you more comfortable.
Canes: One of these may be the most useful tool when one leg is weaker than the other, or when you have mild problems with balance. Here are some tips for using one:
Hold the cane on the stronger side of your body while your weight is shifted away from your weaker side.
A quad, or four-legged, cane can give you more stability than a standard one.
It's a good idea to have a session with a physical therapist to learn how to properly use your cane or any other assistive device.
Walkers: These are best if you have a lot of leg weakness or a balance problem. You can add wheels or platforms to the walker if you need to.
Wheelchairs or scooters: They can give you more freedom to go where you need to if it’s getting harder for you to get around on your own. They’re usually best if you have serious fatigue, are very unsteady on your feet, or you fall some times.