Multiple System Atrophy – Jose shares his story

Posted on October 25, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Multiple System Atrophy

Jose has Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), a rare neurological disorder that impairs the autonomic (involuntary) nervous system. Patients with MSA often exhibit ataxia or poor coordination and difficulty walking. MSA shares many symptoms with Parkinson’s Disease, such as rigidity and tremor, but patients experience more widespread damage to their nervous system. Additional symptoms include changes in and/or inability to make facial expressions, dizziness, loss of fine motor skills and balance, loss of the ability to sweat, gait changes, posture difficulties, tremors, voice and vision changes.

Physicians often make a diagnosis based on a patient’s history of symptoms, physical examinations, and ruling out of alternate causes. There is no cure for MSA, and no known way of preventing the progression of the disease in general. The goal of treatment is to manage and control symptoms.

Treatment includes prescription drugs aimed at specific symptoms such as low blood pressure and tremors, and in some cases a pacemaker may be used to regulate a patients heart rate. Physical therapy is an essential part of MSA treatment as well to help patients maintain their mobility and to prevent contractures, falls, and to ensure the patient’s general safety.

When I met Jose he was walking with very small step length…2 inches with a walker. He was going to pain doctors for his neck and back. After testing his balance reactions we placed 1.5 pounds in his BalanceWear orthotic. Immediately his step length increased to 4-5 inch steps. I know that isn’t much but it doubled what he was able to do on the same day. I didn’t see him for a month. When I did his pain in the low back was gone. He is now walking with a cane or without one. He is able to perform many more activities of daily living.

It is not about just changing symptoms. It is about applying interventions that improve mobility, balance and confidence. He still needs therapy to address his neck, improve his stability, endurance and walking.


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2 Responses to “Multiple System Atrophy – Jose shares his story”

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Am from India and am quite interested to know more about the balancewear orthotic vest that featured as part of Jose’s video. My dad suffers from MSA as well and any details on the vest like price, availability, order method, pre-validations, etc will be really helpful. I can be reached on


Hello Sathiyan,

Thank you for your interest. MSA is such a difficult disease and I was so happy I to be able to help Jose. In order to get the BalanceWear devices one needs to be seen by a trained clinician. We examine the patient to determine if the directional deviations from upright postural control by watching the patient in several positions. In addition we provide perturbations to the torso to see where they can not control their balance. After the testing, small strategically placed weights are placed in the garment. We retest to make sure that the patient is better. We will know the first visist.

At this point there are trained therapists in the US only. When people are considering coming from a different State or Country I have them send me a video first.
Many times I consult about if it is worth the trip after I review the video. Please see to see other videos and more on the product.

The cost of the product varries if it is a rigid or nonrigid design. The range is 795-950.00 USD + the therapists exam. At no time should a person ever feel pressured to get a device. We let the patient make those decisions.

I hope that answers you questions. We can discuss this further if you would like.


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