As you might guess by its name, Occupational therapy for Multiple Sclerosis is administered by Occupational Therapists, or OTs. The OTs job is to help Multiple Sclerosis maintain or improve function in the occupation of their daily life. Therefore, Occupational therapy for MS is usually focused on the strength and control of the upper-body strength and motor skills.

Fatigue is usually the most disabling of all MS symptoms.  Unfortunately, it’s also the most frequently reported. When you suffer from fatigue, everything about your daily life is affected.  Although drugs may be of some help, learning to conserve energy and work more efficiently is the most effective way to battle fatigue over the long run.  This is why energy conservation is a component of all occupational therapy for Multiple Sclerosis.

Your occupation, from a macro sense, is to get through the everyday, sometimes mundane, things you need to accomplish every day. You need to take care of your home. You need to take care of your own personal hygiene including bathing, dressing, eating, going to the bathroom, even recreation with your family. All of these become difficult with MS, and occupational therapy for MS is all about teaching techniques to compensate for specific disabilities you may have. Exercises and routines to improve upper body strength and motor skill coordination of the hands and arms are at the core of all of these functions.  Therefore, occupational therapy for Multiple Sclerosis will be centered on fatigue management, which is accomplished thru improving motor skills that allow you to perform your daily activities more efficiently.


Computers and other technology


Computers are not only often needed for our jobs, but keep open a link to the outside world through the internet and often are the center of some recreational pursuits. But patients with vision problems may need to learn to use different input devices, text-to-speech recognition, and other adaptations for disabilities. Occupational therapy for MS has the OT review the individuals current state of disability, asses the best way to overcome it, then train the patient so that they can continue to use technology at work or at home.

The OT can also help the patient equip the home or work environment with remote controls or other technology that helps the patient use electronics in an efficient way that conserves energy, yet maintains efficiency.


Occupational therapy for Multiple Sclerosis and driving


An Occupational Therapist can help determine if you are still able to drive, and if so, how best to do it safely. The OT will test you both in cognitive skills and on the road. There are also state laws that may have to be considered and reporting of the disabilities is sometimes required.

There are hand controls for braking and acceleration for those who have difficulties with their legs. Knobs on the steering wheel can make driving less fatiguing and help those with strength issues. And finally, for those patients that cannot drive, a role that occupational therapy for MS can play is in teaching both the patient and the caretaker to install and use wheelchair lifts or scooter carriers.