Why is was falling: Julie’s Story
ARC has been sharing a series of real stories of the journeys of some of our clients with MS and other conditions and their families. This is Julie’s Story. Julie started having regular falls and suffered daily, unrelenting dizziness. She struggled to shop in busy environments, navigate crowded places and walk on uneven terrain meaning that she was gradually losing her independence. Julie’s story showcases some of the complexities around imbalance in people with MS. She has worked hard, challenging herself over a long period of time with the help of the right experienced professionals, and it has paid off.
‘Life was getting more difficult with my relapses; my health was troubling me big time. My dizziness meant I was unsteady a lot and I was physically and emotionally drained. I hit rock bottom after a nasty fall. I was determined it wouldn’t happen again and especially when someone told me to buy a walking stick! During all of this, my family have always been very supportive.’
ARC Physio Team:
Our ARC Physiotherapy had the pleasure of first meeting Julie in 2017. Julie came to us as she was having regular falls. She reported right-sided weakness, fatigue, dizziness and loss of balance.
After being assessed, Julie commenced an exercise program and attended ARC group classes specifically for MS. Julie was very dedicated and disciplined right from the start and was not afraid of putting 110% into her home exercise program. Julie quickly grasped the principles of exercise specific for MS such as high effort, interval-based and frequency and learnt strategies to manage her fatigue and heat sensitivity. Julie incorporated these new strategies to her exercise program and modified her daily routine accordingly.
Julie also had significant daily difficulty with her dizziness and double vision impacting her independence in situations such as crossing a road and navigating in shopping centres. These activities would often leave Julie feeling nauseous for quite some time afterwards. For this, Julie was referred to ARC vestibular physiotherapist Vanessa Simpson.
Julie presented with dizziness with all head movements such as looking up & down and turning head side to side. She was overwhelmed going to the shops due to the inability to stabilise vision in these types of environments. She would get nausea for up to 20mins after active activities with moderate to severe levels of dizziness reported.
Julie engaged in a programme of vestibular rehabilitation to reduce her sensitivity to movement provoke dizziness, improve her balance and explore ways to improve her gaze stability.
‘I started my exercise program and loved how I was able to do them- I started very slowly and gradually. With the support of compassionate and encouraging professional care, the physical symptoms improved, as did my speech, writing and fine motor skills. Friends would say that I looked so much healthier. Now my eyesight is improving as well, I can see things that I never used to and I can carry things without dropping them’
ARC Physio Team
Julie has been an absolute superstar and has diligently completed her home exercise programme as instructed (which is difficult when they make you feel worse at first!). Her home exercises have been progressing regularly with Julie always striving to challenge herself as much as possible.
Nowadays Julie is able to go shopping for lengthy periods of time and Julie likes to shop! Her vision is now more stable, she has reduced double vision and minimal dizziness with moving her head quickly while shopping and walking in the community. She has minimal nausea with activity and if she does experience dizziness, it only lasts momentarily (for a few minutes at most).
Julie has come a long way and continues to set the bar higher for herself. She has now returned back to her hobby of walking, feeling more confident when navigating on busy uneven terrains in the community and inviting her husband for healthy competitions such as seeing who can balance the longest or walk faster to the local train station!
‘My life continues to improve and as my physios give me more challenging exercises, the better I get. The results have been like a miracle to me. I am seeing better and more able to do housework, gardening, and community work. I feel like I have climbed out of a deep hole and see there are good things about my physical health in the future.’