How did we find information before the Internet? Wondering about the relationship between Betaseron and peroneal neuropathy, I Googled(tm) [“multiple sclerosis” “peroneal neuropathy” betaseron] and found links to three web sites. One of the online resources is excellent. The Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington, School of Medicine makes available a course syllabus for Rehabilitation Medicine titled, “Clinical Practice of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation” (PDF File).

If you provide care for someone with MS, the chapters you want to read are Chapter 1, “What is Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation?” and Chapter 8, “Rehabilitation in Multiple Sclerosis”. These two chapters should be required reading for MS caregivers.

Chapter 1 clarifies definitions for a group of words we tend to use without discrimination: disease, impairment, disability and handicap. The distinction between disability and handicap is important. Disability is defined as a limitation of performing tasks, activities and roles to the expected level considered normal. Handicap is a lack of societal role fulfillment for an individual due to a disability. Examples of cases are provided which explain clearly how one can be physically disabled without being handicapped.

You may be thinking it odd that I’m intrigued by the difference between “disability” and “handicap”. Not having traveled down this road before, the distinction between the two is enlightening for me.

Chapter 8 is speaks directly to rehabilitation for MS patients. I’ll run through the headings: background, diagnosis, classification, treatment, rehabilitation in multiple sclerosis, impaired mobility and self care, spasticity, pain, cognitive function (“cognitive issues are one of the primary reasons that people with MS are medically retired“), bowel and bladder care, treating fatigue, depression in MS (“in a … survey of 739 patients with multiple sclerosis 41.8% were suffering from depression), and conclusion. Included in the chapter is The Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) and a list of references.

Clinical Practice of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation” (PDF File) is now on the MSCaregiver.com list of recommended reading! (I’ll post the official reading list later …)

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