Multiple Sclerosis Wellness

Swedish takes a comprehensive approach to treating multiple sclerosis. We move beyond the long list of physical and cognitive symptoms of MS to address the emotional, psychological and social needs that arise from this complicated disease and its impact on every aspect of a person’s life. We have wellness teams for all of these issues so we can treat the whole person. Our goal is to help patients not only to cope, but to live life well, despite having a chronic illness.

Because our wellness teams work together to coordinate and deliver personalized care to each patient, they are all conveniently located at the Swedish MS Center.

Physical Well-Being

Our physical wellness team works together to coordinate personalized exercise programs, physical treatments, evaluations and equipment needs to address MS symptoms such as:

  • Weakness
  • Spasticity
  • Sensory alteration
  • Autonomic function
  • Cognitive changes
  • Mobility issues

The MS Center’s state-of-the-art gym is fully equipped with specialized equipment for MS patients. In addition to a treadmill, stationary bike and elliptical, the gym has therapeutic FES, NuStep and Motomed equipment, walking bars, a stretching platform and weights. More about the MS Center gym

Your physical wellness team will create a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.

Your plan could include:

  • Stretching and range-of-motion programs to increase flexibility
  • Gait training for better balance
  • Strength training to improve power
  • Posture assessments of the neck, upper extremities and shoulder
  • Conditioning programs using ultrasound, heat, stretching, transcutaneous nerve stimulation and other methods  
  • Custom upper-extremity orthosis and splints to decrease spasticity and improve range of motion
  • Assistance with spasticity management options such as botulisum toxin or phenol blocks
  • Cardio, weight training, yoga, Pilates, music therapy and musical instrument reconditioning
  • Individualized recreational opportunities planned by our Adventure Guide

In addition, the team conducts an array of evaluations and clinics to help MS patients:

  • Optimize mobility with bracing, canes, walkers, wheelchairs, electric wheelchairs or scooters
  • Maximize the use of wheelchairs through best seating practices
  • Choose the best home equipment for safety and ease in performing tasks such as writing, eating and dressing

Emotional Well-Being

Emotional health is vital to living well with MS. Our rehabilitation psychologist, neuro-psychiatrist and counseling program help patients and their families cope with the ups and downs of the disease. We also hold workshops on depression, pain management and other topics to promote emotional health.

Emotional health is important in living a healthy and happy life. Our emotional wellness team specializes in working with those facing the challenges of multiple sclerosis and related disorders. We can help you help maintain emotional health in a number of ways.

Individual Counseling

  • Make positive behavior changes
  • Learn to manage stress
  • Cope with a diagnosis, symptoms or disability
  • Get treated for depression, anxiety or other psychological disorders

Couples or Family Counseling

MS affects more than just the patient. It affects family members as well. Get support and help as a family.

Group Counseling

Our psychologist offers group counseling sessions periodically throughout the year to help patients learn skills to manage many of the challenges they may face. These skills include mindfulness techniques to relax and cope with stress.

Support Groups

View more information on the types of support groups we offer and how to join.

Social Wellness

Our social wellness team includes a social worker, physical therapist, occupational therapist and patient education coordinator. Together, they work to help MS patients remain engaged in their local communities.

We can help MS patients and their families:

  • Stay connected to their communities through recreation and other enjoyable activities that help patients remain mobile and active.
  • Obtain medical coverage such as Medicaid, Medicare and private insurance
  • Get financial assistance for MS disease-modifying medications and other prescribed medications
  • Obtain financial assistance for medical bills, rent, utilities, food, mental health counseling and other needs
  • Learn about Social Security disability
  • Assess medical equipment to determine what is needed at home to optimize mobility and safety
  • Find subsidized housing, accessible housing and community living settings for those who need personal care
  • Find in-home care services

Our social wellness team also is a resource for activities, programs and support groups at the MS Center, and MS service organizations. These programs can help MS patients create a supportive community for daily living.

Vocational Services

Multiple sclerosis may affect a person's ability to work or participate in an educational program. Many people wonder if they can keep working. Some quit because of their MS limitations and then face financial stress.

Our vocational services team knows there is a place in the working world for people with MS, and we can help you look at your employment options -- whether you want to stay at your current job, make a career change or apply for disability.

Vocational services at the MS Center are free and can often be coordinated with other appointments on the same day.

Our vocational services team can help people with MS:

  • Stay employed. Our vocational counselor focuses on reasonable accommodations at work and serves as an advocate for employment rights
  • Learn how to talk to an employer about an MS diagnosis and how to handle disclosure in the workplace
  • Find a job, use job search strategies, write a resume and learn interview tips
  • Change careers and learn what to consider before making a change
  • Plan for school, whether it’s transitioning from high school or choosing a college program
  • Navigate disability. We can help patients understand disability benefits and how to effectively file a claim for SSDI, and short- and long-term disability
  • Find volunteer work, for enrichment or enjoyment