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Information sessions with
Dr Gretchen Hawley

Mobility aids workshop

Monday 26 September at 2pm 

In our next information session on mobility aids, Dr Gretchen will be talking about the different mobility aids that are available to help with walking and multiple sclerosis (MS). This is a subject that we often get questions on, with many people wanting to know when is the right time to start using a mobility aid and how to choose the one that is right for them. 

Searching the internet for mobility aids will bring up a wide range of different types of walking aids, making the right choice a difficult decision. So, in this information session Dr Gretchen will identify how to weigh-up choosing one walking aid over another by looking at the pros and cons of each of the most common walking aids that are available and the reasons you might choose it for yourself versus another option.  

We will then take a look at how to adjust the aids to ensure they are comfortable, prevent overuse injuries and are as efficient for your use as possible. Finally, Dr Gretchen will take us through the correct way to use the different aids, which will stop bad habits and make its use as safe as possible. 

Session overview 

  • When to consider using a mobility aid 
  • Types of mobility aids and their pros and cons 
  • Demonstration on how to adjust different mobility aids for you 
  • The proper way to use a mobility aid 
  • Question and answer 

We hope you can join us for this session. If you have any questions about mobility aids you want to send in advance to Dr Gretchen, please email register@ms-uk.org. 

If you can’t make the session live, don’t worry as we will be recording the presentation and will make it available to watch again for all those registering in advance. 

We have a suggested donation is £5 for this information session, but you can make a donation of your choosing from £1 to attend. 

If you would like to know more about this session or would like help in registering, please email register@ms-uk.org.  

Strength training – improving strength for your MS 

Monday 22 August at 2pm 

In our next information session from Dr Gretchen Hawley we will be looking specifically at strength training and how to improve it through a focused approach for multiple sclerosis (MS).  

Why is strength training important? 

Strength is one of the key components for being physically active and staying healthy. Strength training is not simply about lifting weights to get stronger, but it is a key component to help improve issues such as balance, flexibility, walking and reduce the risk of falling. Other benefits include increased muscle mass, so although we might not be aiming for a world record in the Clean and Jerk, increasing muscle mass essentially means there are more muscle fibres to recruit leading to increased strength for a specific movement. We know that neuroplasticity takes place in the brain with exercise, increasing neural connections, so why not focus on increasing connections at the other end of the system to?! 

Dr Gretchen will first discuss how a tailored physiotherapy approach can help tackle muscle weakness and transfer these improvements into performing daily tasks such as sit to stand and mobilising with reduced effort. 

We will then look at how a “regular” physiotherapy approach differs from a “MS specific” strength programme and how this will influence the type of exercise practised. Dr Gretchen will provide exercises for different problem areas to allow you to tailor your exercise practice, including a review of exercise parameters (e.g. how many reps/sets/holds). We will then finish the session with 20 minutes of Q and A at the end. 

Session outline 

  • How can physiotherapy help with a progressive disease, like MS? 
  • What is the difference between “regular” physio and MS physio? 
  • MS-specific exercises and parameters when practicing 
  • Questions and answers 

If you can’t make the session live, don’t worry as we will be recording the presentation and will make it available to watch again for all those registering in advance. 

There is a suggested donation is £5 for this information session, but you can make a donation of your choosing from £1 to attend. 

If you are having trouble registering or would like to know more about this information session, please contact us at register@ms-uk.org. 

If you would like to know more about Dr Hawley please visit our Facebook page to see her blog or visit her website The MSing Link.

About Dr Hawley

A Doctor of Physical Therapy, with years of clinical practice experience, Gretchen is a Physical Therapist and Multiple Sclerosis Certified Specialist through the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centres based in the USA.

She has a special interest in the management and wellness of MS patients, and presents as the Keynote Speaker at numerous MS events including Living Well With MS events sponsored by the MS Society in addition to MS Views & News. Other collaborations include national MS organisations, including the National MS Society, MS Association of America, and MS Foundation.

Additionally, Dr. Gretchen shares her expertise to MS support groups, podcasts, and on her own YouTube and social media channels.

If you would like to know more about Dr Hawley please visit Dr Hawley’s website The MSing Link.

Please see the feedback from our previous information sessions from Dr Hawley that included ‘Neuroplasticity and changes with exercise’ and ‘Exercise – the difference between regular and functional exercise’

Just a note to say how inspiring I found this presentation to be. Having had MS for approx 30 years. I must admit to feeling fairly sceptical that I would hear anything new. In fact, it wasn’t so much that this was all definitely new, but it was the way it was conveyed to people like me. I think it took away a continual feeling of failure and replaced it with a new mindset – Chris

A really excellent presentation. Incredibly informative and made so much sense

I thought yesterday’s presentation was fantastic. The Dr was inspiring and enlightened me to things I’ve being doing not quite right for years. I certainly took a lot away from it and thoroughly enjoyed listening – Pam

Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciated Gretchen’s talk on neuroplasticity this week.  I had rather given up on exercise as not really helping me (I am in my 70’s) but Gretchen’s advice has motivated me to try again and try better. So, I am resuming my exercises and paying more attention to carrying them out correctly.  She was spot on about the need to change one’s mindset too. I do equate walking with fatigue and difficulty and should endeavour to get out of this negative thinking cycle