Ataxia is a fancy way of saying that you have a lack of muscle coordination. It is more a sign of something wrong in your nervous system than a condition in and of itself. It can be caused by any number of things, MS being one of them. It describes a lack of muscle coordination while trying to do things like walking or picking up things.
It can affect your movements as well as your speech, as in slurred speech or your ability to swallow. It can also affect your eye movements. If your eyes shake when you are looking from side to side, this is another sign of this symptom.
When this symptom is persistent, this suggests there is damage to the cerebellum. Besides multiple sclerosis, there are many other things that can cause this damage. Head trauma, alcohol abuse, cerebral palsy, a tumor, or a stroke, are some of the other conditions that can cause it as well.
Can it be treated? That all depends on the cause. When MS is the cause, leg braces or afo's, canes, walkers, or rollators are used to help prevent falls. If it becomes severe, a wheelchair or scooter may be necessary. Sometimes therapy, either occupational and/or physical, can also help.
If you aren't sure if you have multiple sclerosis and are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it's probably a good idea to talk to your doctor.
Any one of these would suggest damage to the cerebellum, which is the part of the brain that controls muscle coordination. It is located at the base of the brain near the brain stem.
Two ping-pong ball sized pieces of folded tissue, side by side make up the cerebellum. One on the right, one on the left. The right one controls the right side of the body. The left one controls the left side of the body.
Cir must have damage to the right side, because his right side is weaker, especially his leg. It is so weak that he also experiences foot drop. His right arm and hand also tend to get weak or lose coordination whenever he is fatigued.
So in the case of MS, demyelination of the nerves in the cerebellum, cause the ataxia. Damaged nerves cannot control the muscles very well. So if you already have multiple sclerosis, then you know the cause already.
If you haven't had a diagnosis of MS yet, your family doctor will probably refer you to a neurologist. Because there are so many reasons why you might have this problem, the neurologist will go through a process of elimination to determine the cause.
"Life in Spite of MS is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. We're also part of the Ebay Partner Network, another affiliate program."
We'd also like you to know it doesn't cost one cent more when you click through the links here on our blog. Not one single penny. And we will make a little extra cash when you do click through. We'll be ever so appreciative. You also have our word that we'll only link to things that we would use ourselves, (or wish we could have or use).
Cir & Akrista
You are reading original content written by Akrista or Cir L'Bert of Life in Spite of MS. If you enjoyed reading this blog, please consider following us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. See you there!