This week’s show includes a special feature on Josephs Court, a special wellness centre based in Colchester for people affected by multiple sclerosis. The facility recently celebrated its fifth birthday, having been transformed into a centre of excellence and fitted out with specialist physiotherapy equipment for use by people with MS in 2012.
Despite over 100,000 MS sufferers living in the UK today, multiple sclerosis gets surprisingly little news coverage. MS is an auto-immune disease – a result of what happens when, in rare cases, your immune system gets confused and instead of attacking an infection or virus, it turns on itself and attacks the body’s own cells. Cells in your central nervous system (your brain and your spinal cord) are covered in a protective layer of fatty protein called the myelin sheath, which works a bit like the insulation on an electrical cable. MS attacks these protective layers, which causes disruption to the ‘messages’ being transmitted from and to the brain, causing them to slow down or not get through at all. For the moment, there is still no cure for the disease.
Multiple sclerosis can present different symptoms in different people, and diagnosing it can be a long and painful process. Some symptoms like changes in your mobility are more obvious, but ones like fatigue – well, they could mean anything. There is no set pattern and some people will experience symptoms that others never get. What medics can be sure of is that MS is very commonly diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40 – children and older adults can develop MS but this is much less common.
When you can’t move as well, your muscle tone can deteriorate really quickly – and as you can imagine, so can your mood. That’s where Josephs Court comes in. The centre offers a range of activities and specialised equipment designed to create strength and muscle tone and improve the general fitness of people affected by multiple sclerosis. This allows them to use their muscles when they can’t do so themselves – and while you might think this is a pointless exercise if they won’t be able to use those muscles in everyday moving around that we take for granted, there are some muscles you need for circulation and digestion that you just can’t function without.
As well as this, Joseph’s Court provides community. It’s a great base for socialising, counselling and life enrichment –a place for MS sufferers to feel normal again and lay the challenges they face aside for a while. Josephs Court provides so much more than support for health and physical wellbeing – specialists there are trained to care for body and mind, and help MS sufferers to maintain their independence. We’re so grateful to have had the opportunity to speak to them.
You can find out more about how to get involved or donate to MS-UK today on their website: www.ms-uk.org
And you can learn more about Josephs Court and sign up to their regular events here: www.ms-uk.org/josephscourt