For this last week of MS Awareness month, FALLS are going to be a theme for MSPals. Mainly because I don’t think I have met a person who has had MS for any length of time who has not fallen! Like Megan’s post demonstrated, there can be a wide variety of severity of our falls, but how we react to them can make the situation.
I guess I have had 3 big falls. The first one was when I was trying to flip my mattress in a bout of Spring cleaning. Why a person with balance and gait issues who try to flip her mattress ALONE is beyond me, but needless to say, I ended up being flipped instead and may have gotten a bit of a concussion. The second was super painful and embarrassing because I fell in the shower. Aside from the fact that I was at my in-laws and pulled down my mother-in-laws fancy shower curtains, I also bit through my lip. And of course I ended up sitting sideways in the tub with my legs over the side, naked as the day I was born, and bawling like a baby! Also covered in blood from my bleeding lip. The third actually happened during one of my physical therapy sessions for balance and gait! Not to say I am wonder woman, but of course I want to be, so I too often act like it, and instead of sitting down to take of my special walking pants, I tried to balance on one leg and ended up falling on my butt. I injured my pride and my back.
Falling becomes a badge of honor for those of us who can say we have lived through it! Especially if we can show off the scars! It can also be very dangerous. So we need to try to avoid falling. Easier said than done, but there are some things we can do to minimize the danger.
I recommend physical therapy to everyone I come into contact with, whether they have MS or not. A good physical therapist will help you maximize your strengths and shore up your weaknesses. Most physical therapists will start out (for people that are prone to falling) helping you learn to fall safely. That is a key to avoiding injury when you can’t actually avoid the fall! They will also help you strengthen muscles that may help you, either muscles to help you stand and walk better, or muscles that will provide your body with more support. They will probably also push you beyond what you would do for yourself. They know how to tell when your body reaches its limit.
I also practice mindfulness. Pay attention to every little thing. Don’t just pay attention to your surroundings, but pay attention to your body as well. Find things that you can use to support you if you need it, but also be aware of when you need it! With MS one of our curses (slower movement) is also a blessing because it forces us to be patient. It gives us the opportunity to pay more attention. Embrace that.
Use assistive devices if you need them. In my blog, I wrote a whole post about assistive devices. They are called that for a reason you know! We need them to help us sometimes. Having a cane or a walker should not make us dependent on the cane or walker, but it should offer us support when we need it. And if we need it and use it, it may keep us from that damaging fall!
Falls are part of life with MS it seems. If we can roll our eyes and maybe giggle a little when it happens, so much the better! That means we aren’t in too much pain, right? Hopefully we learn to fall safely before it happens! And hopefully we won’t get piled on top off by a big defensive line…Well, unless we are into that kind of thing! Ha ha!