1. “I’ve had to become aware of triggers, individuals, and environments that create stressful situations.”
Autumn Grant, 29, was diagnosed with M.S. in March 2020, two days after her business was hit by the Nashville tornado, and nearly four years after dealing with several bouts of illnesses. For Grant, M.S. spasticity makes her muscles become tight, experience contractions, and feel fatigued. In addition, she deals with painful joint stiffness and lower back pain. “The pain, fatigue, and spasticity are mentally draining and can become very frustrating,” Grant tells SELF. “All you want to do is get better, but you feel like you’re in a battle with your own body.”
There are times when Grant feels so helpless she gets mad at her own body. During those instances, she has to remind herself that she didn’t choose this, but she can choose her outlook on life, along with how she approaches environmental and emotional triggers that make her M.S. symptoms such as spasticity worse. “I’ve had to become aware of emotional triggers, individuals, and environments that create stressful situations,” she explains. One example: “My body does not like the cold weather, and I tend to have more relapses, including worsening spasticity, in the winter months,” Grant says. However, in the summer months, she’s more active and believes that routine exercise, stretching, and movement help preserve her quality of life.
To help with spasticity, Grant relies on medication, yoga poses, stretching, and taking Epsom salt baths to relax her muscles as well. She also has found that supplements like magnesium provide some relief for her symptoms. (Magnesium deficiency can bring about muscle cramps or spasms, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, and there has been some research into how magnesium supplementation may affect spasticity in people with conditions like M.S., but much more research is necessary.1) Grant also swears by an acupressure mat that provides massage and much needed relief daily.
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