Medical Matters for Drivers, Caregivers & Family Members

Mobility Challenges

Below are links to more information based on your mobility challenge.

Multiple Sclerosis

MobilityWorks and You

At MobilityWorks, we understand the desire of individuals with MS to maintain their own freedom and independence to get around. We also understand that each individual with MS has unique mobility needs and that those mobility needs may change through the years.

Our Certified Mobility Consultants can work with you to assess your current physical condition and mobility needs and discuss what your needs may be in the future.

By asking a series of questions such as; are you currently using a cane or a scooter, are you able to get into and out of a vehicle seat easily and safely and/or are you able to drive, we can determine whether adaptive seating or adaptive driving aids might be the best option for you. Adaptive seating is designed to help you move into the front seat of a vehicle. Adaptive seating works through controls that allow the seat to move backward, forward, up, down and side-ways. You may find that adaptive seating may be the perfect solution to make entering and exiting your vehicle easier. In addition, you may find that adaptive driving aids such as hand controls, pedal extensions and steering knobs would make operating your vehicle easier as well.

If you are using a wheelchair full-time, then a wheelchair accessible vehicle, may be the best option for you. If that is the case, we can evaluate the size/weight of your chair, as well as factors such as your ability to drive, the number of people that will be transported in the vehicle, where it's parked/garage and your budget to offer you options for mobility solutions.

At MobilityWorks we pride ourselves on developing lasting relationships with our customers. We want to ensure that you have the most appropriate mobility equipment for your needs—today and in the future.

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a degenerative neurological disease that causes an erosion of the insulating fat (myelin) that surrounds nerves. When someone is affected by the disease, it is because white blood cells (T lymphocytes) have crossed the usually impermeable blood-brain barrier, and have eaten away at the myelin, leading to barren patches.

When nerves have barren patches without myelin, they can no longer properly conduct electrical signals; leading to neurological issues and physical symptoms including numbness, loss of balance, tingling, weakness in the extremities and/or a general lack of physical coordination.

People suffering from MS can experience many different neurological symptoms or signs including changes in sensation, muscle weakness and fatigue, muscle spasms, difficulty in moving, difficulties with coordination and balance, problems in speech or swallowing and/or visual problems.

Be Aware of the Early Symptoms of MS

Many people feel numbness in their arm or leg or a tingling in their spine and simply dismiss it as a pinched nerve. Or, they may feel off-balance or fatigued, and think they are just coming down with something. Early intervention could have a very significant effect in shaping the outcome of MS treatment, so alerting your physician to these conditions and/or being tested is critical. Often, by the time a person seeks out a physician and is diagnosed, a significant amount of damage may have already been done to their brain.

Risk Factors for MS

Research has shown that while MS does not have a high rate of inheritability, there is a genetic component rooted principally in a family of immune genes called the major histocompatibility complex. Other risk factors are environment, including a lack of Vitamin D, and smoking.

Although much information is known about the mechanisms involved in the disease process, the actual cause of MS remains unknown. Many theories on the cause of MS include genetics or infections. Different environmental risk factors have also been found. MS usually occurs in young adults and is more common in females. Estimates indicate that there are over 400,000 people with MS in the United States and 2.5 million people living with it worldwide.

MS can take several forms; either with discrete attacks (relapsing forms) or slowly accumulating over time (progressive forms). Between attacks, symptoms may go away completely, but permanent neurological problems often occur, especially as the disease advances. MS treatments attempt to return function after an attack, prevent new attacks, and prevent permanent disability. There is no known cure for MS; however, and the life expectancy of persons with MS is nearly the same as that of the unaffected population.

MS can result in many social, vocational and psychological complications. For example, if you are no longer able to drive or walk, you may not be able to maintain your job. The stress and strain of dealing with MS often alters social networks and can fracture interpersonal relationships.

Treatments & Rehabilitation for MS

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society believes firmly that rehabilitation is an essential component of comprehensive MS care. The essential goal of rehabilitation is to improve and maintain your ability to function. From the time of your initial diagnosis onward, rehabilitation specialists can provide education and treatment strategies designed to promote good health and overall conditioning. In addition, they can help you to reduce your fatigue so that you can feel and function at your best — both at home and at work.

If your symptoms worsen and/or begin to increasingly interfere with your everyday activities, rehabilitation can also address your mobility problems, dressing and personal care, performance at home and work, and participation in leisure activities. Rehabilitation experts can also provide evaluation and treatment of any speech/swallowing difficulties, as well as troubles with thinking and memory.

MS Research

Newsweek recently reported that some patients with MS are trying new, more aggressive therapies; including stem cell therapy treatment. The pioneer of the stem cell therapy treatment is Dr. Saud A. Sadiq of the Tisch MS Research Center of New York. While still in its early stages, the therapy involves the harvesting of stem cells from a patients' own bone marrow. The stem cells are then transformed in a laboratory into "neural progenitors". The neural progenitors are then injected into the patient's spinal fluid. The intent is that the neural progenitors could eventually lead to the repair of the myelin sheaths in the brain.

Stem Cell MS Research

Stem cell therapy treatment is just one part of a broader push to understand the neurological disorders that affect the structure of the brain. As the baby boomer generation ages, more and more people within that age group may become affected by disorders such as MS, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

As a result, a commitment has been made by the White House to allocate $100 million in federal research funds for initiatives geared at understanding the brain. In addition, organizations such as the Ann Romney (wife of Mitt Romney) Center for Neurologic Diseases are also working on understanding the brain and its neurological disorders in an effort to find treatments, and ultimately a cure.

Pinpointing an Immune Marker: The Next Frontier
Many doctors and researchers have raised the question that if MS is an immune disease, then there should be something known as an immune marker. For this reason, finding a biomarker that could be identified through a blood test would represent one of the next major frontiers in MS research. Potential biomarkers that could signal the presence of MS have already been identified in some studies. In addition, it has been discovered that MS patients have an elevated level of a protein called serpin A3 in their tears---another possible clue to early detection.

While previous breakthroughs have found ways to slow the progress of MS and perhaps lessen the severity of symptoms, the breakthrough that everyone most wants to find is the one that may heal the brain, not just seal it off from future attacks.

Reversing the Damage Through Cell Stimulation
Dr. Ari J. Green of the University of California at San Francisco is a researcher working to find a way to heal the brain. His mission isn't just to stop the disease, but to also reverse it by finding a way to stimulate cells called oligodendrocytes, which make myelin, to repair the nerves stripped by MS. Instead of injecting stem cells like in Dr. Sadiq's therapy, Dr. Green is trying to strengthen the body to do the repairs itself.

For more information on the recent advancements in multiple sclerosis treatments/research outlined here, check out the Newsweek article; On the Hunt for a Multiple Sclerosis Cure.

MS Resources

Mobility Challenges

Below are links to more information based on your mobility challenge.

Stay connected with our social network

Stay connected with our social network: