MS and some of its related symptoms, such as numbness, dizziness, weakness, loss of balance, tremors, and more, can lead to an increased risk in experiencing falls for those living with the condition. One of the MultipleSclerosis.net contributors, Devin, recently posted an article about his life with MS-related falls, and how he copes with these potentially frustrating or embarrassing situations. After this article was published, we received an incredible response from our community on their experiences with falling, and how they cope with this often-scary situation. Below are some of the amazing responses we received.
Maintaining a positive attitude and sense of humor
Although falling may be frustrating or painful, many of our members reported that the only way to get through a fall is to look on the positive side of things. Several of our members mentioned that embracing a potentially embarrassing situation with a bit of humor helps them get through.
“I know I walk like I am drunk. But like I said before, if I fall, I am taking the table, plant, lamp, and chair with me. I plan to do it with as much finesse as I can, LOL”
“Hubby said when I go down it’s like a wildebeest that gets shot! Have to have a little humor with this! Seriously, I can drop like a sack of potatoes with absolutely no warning.”
“I always get up saying, I’m ok, I’m ok. I really don’t know if I’m ok, I just licked the floor, lol!”
“I fall. Usually in new or crowded places. (Airports are my favorite, lol) I have survived them pretty much intact, and laugh them off.”
“Having a constant tremor since 28 does not help, but I use a lot of humor because I must to survive.”
Utilizing mobility aids, if necessary
For some, using a mobility aid, such as a cane, walker, or wheelchair, may feel like a loss of independence and lead to frustration on its own. However, many individuals in our community noted that although it may be difficult to start using a mobility aid, the potential reduction in pain and injury from falling may be well worth it.
“I have a couple of canes, one I keep in the car and the other at home. I also walk like I am drunk, but hate using a cane. If I am tired or am on uneven ground, in crowds, etc., I will use one for safety.”
“I use canes at home and crutches in the wild. Get a smart looking cane and use it, you will thank yourself. It took me some time to realize that a bruised ego heals faster than a body bruise. There are so many options to give yourself some style. Be like House and have a cane with flames—or add stickers—or whatever!”
“I can fall standing still, very frustrating. One fall almost killed me. I use a cane now and if necessary, a walker.”
“Also had some nasty falls, mostly at home, but some in public. I gave in and started using a cane. Best thing I ever did.”
Exercising extra caution when walking about
Regardless of whether or not they were using a mobility aid, many of our members shared that they have started practicing increased caution when walking. The use of supportive surfaces and ample lighting helps several of our members get through the day without a spill.
“I used to ski, and it sure helped learning how to fall then. Now I work on the avoid, by slowing down things. And good lighting—that always helps too!”
“I really don’t want to fall. Period. I have night lights everywhere. Just in case I missed something.”
“I don’t fall much yet, but that’s because I always try to have a wall close by. I must look like a weird person, following walls and touching all objects I pass.”
“I don’t fall, I just about crash. But I use the walls a lot!”
It’s apparent from the feedback we have received that MS-related falls are of concern for those living with the condition. For many of our members, utilizing a bit of humor after minor falls, relying on mobility devices, and practicing increased caution when up and moving are ways to cope with this often-frustrating situation. However, if you or a loved one take a fall that leaves you in pain or makes you feel as though you are injured, contact a medical professional as soon as possible.
In what ways do you combat MS-related falls? Let us know if you have any tips or tricks to avoid a tumble!