Faculty Advisor(s)

Kirsten Buchanan

Document Type

Course Paper

Publication Date



© 2015 Ellen Cox


Background and Purpose: Multiple Sclerosis can be a debilitating disease that affects millions of people. Exacerbations range from mild to very severe. Due to the inconsistent nature of multiple sclerosis, the most effective treatments are still unclear. The purpose of this case report was to document the findings of an individual, who suffered a severe multiple sclerosis exacerbation after a series of stressful life events. Case Description: This case report presents a 26 year old female with a known history of multiple sclerosis. This patient suffered an exacerbation and her level of function went from living independently to unable to care for herself or raise her limbs against gravity. This patient had history of social instability and lack of support, which caused stress. The patient underwent physical therapy with a focus on regaining strength and functional activity tolerance so that she could live independently again. Interventions focused on gait training, balance training, and functional training for daily activities. Outcomes: After 12 weeks of physical therapy intervention, the patient was able to safely ambulate unlimited distances continuously using a front wheeled walker. She had gained a gross strength of 5/5 in the Manual Muscle Testing grade, and was able to perform all functional tasks such as transfers and bed mobility. Discussion: Although the patient made significant gains during her rehabilitation, she was unable to achieve her previous level of function, needing an assistive device for ambulation and was limited in functional activities. Her persistent pain and unstable support system likely contributed to a lack of full progression. This patient was able to gain enough function to be discharged to an apartment that caters towards disabled persons.


The case report poster for this paper can be found here:




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