Background Because of the high degree of disability in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, minimizing injury occurrence is essential for preserving quality of life.
Objectives By documenting the incidence of particular injuries, establishing relative risks of particular injuries in different subsets of MS patients and analyzing when the injuries occurred following diagnosis, we aim to provide information to encourage injury prevention recommendations and to provide preliminary data for further clinical research.
Methods This study utilized a questionnaire consisting of 40 fill-in-the-blank or multiple choice questions. It was administered to previously diagnosed MS patients at office visits, infusion center visits, hospital stays, MS clinic visits and MS support groups.
Results The years following definite MS diagnosis with the highest injury rates (injuries/people years lived) were 25 years or more (.0594 injuries/year, 95% CI [0.0771 - 0.0449]). In addition, people below the age of 40 have nearly a doubled risk of injury compared to people above the age of 40 (p= .033). Primary progressive MS patients had the greatest past incidence of fractures, 55.6% (5/9) (p=0.033). Patients reported that only 17.4% (19/109) of injuries occurred during exercise.
Conclusions Overall, risk factors for injury include male gender, living longer with MS, being younger and having the diagnosis of primary progressive MS. Patient education, along with specific treatments and regimented physical activity, can lead to a more robust and injury free lifestyle in this patient population.