You know Christmas must be fast approaching when certain things start to happen – tubs of chocolate appear on every shop shelf, Christmas lights start to appear in windows and on houses, the first storms of winter officially bring the country to a halt, and of course 'I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here' is on the television... or not, having fallen victim to storm Arwen itself.

It has got me thinking though, what would it be like to be a participant, and undergo some of the hardships they encounter – no phone, no TV, very little contact with the outside world, sleeping on a hard floor, and that’s before we even get to the lack of food, hydration, warmth and the added burden of physical tasks and their associated unpleasantness which all drain physical and emotional resilience.

It’s not sounding that attractive is it? So I am full of admiration for Kadeena Cox for taking on this challenge when she is living with the additional challenges of having had a stroke at the age of 23 and being diagnosed with MS later the same year (2014).

I’m sure that many of you, whatever your diagnosis can identify with the following:

Talking to the MS Trust, Kadeena explained the symptoms she experiences. She said: "I get a lot of muscle spasms, mainly through my right arm and in my right leg, and then when I'm quite fatigued I get them in both legs and arms and that's when I spend time in my wheelchair."

The Paralympic athlete also said she experiences "pins and needles and burning" sensations as well as "problems in terms of memory and thinking".

This is her reality, something she lives with every day, something her love of sport and her natural ability and tenacity have given her a small amount of control over – we all know the positive link between being active and emotional wellbeing, but what about the things that are now out of her control?

Cold weather

If you have a condition like multiple sclerosis (MS), cold temperatures can make your symptoms worse and make you flat-out uncomfortable. You might find that it's harder to move your limbs, you get more muscle spasms than normal, or your muscles feel tighter. Doctors aren't sure why cold temperatures make MS symptoms worse, but there are some things you can do to help:

  • Try to get moving - walking or stretching to burn energy and warm up.
  • Dress in layers, and wear a hat to stop heat escaping through your head. You can always take layers off.
  • Keep your hands and feet warm – you may be more susceptible to Raynaud’s phenomenon where your fingers or toes lose heat and can turn white.
  • Warm your insides – have a hot drink, or eat some hot food. Using an insulated mug will keep the drink warmer for longer.
  • Get some sunshine – even on winter days you can wrap up and enjoy the feel of sunshine on you as well as helping your body make Vitamin D.


Staying hydrated helps control bladder and bowel symptoms, and may help decrease injection site reactions and medication side effects. Dehydration can contribute to fatigue and cognitive impairment. Clearly, good hydration matters. The recommended amount of water to be taken in per day is between 1.5 and 2 litres; more if you are exercising or if the weather is particularly warm. Little and often helps, and don’t forget that clear fluids such as tea count towards your total, although you may want to restrict the amount of coffee you have.


Certain food will impact on how well hydrated your body is, such as salt, sugar, caffeine and alcohol, which in turn will impact on your symptoms.

Maintaining a healthy weight and diet has been found to be beneficial for a number of health conditions such as Type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease, and it makes sense that a good diet will have a positive effect on MS, although there hasn’t been a lot of research in this area. More information can be found at on the MS Trust website.


Poor sleep is common in people with MS and other neurological conditions, and may be a symptom itself, or a side effect of other symptoms such as spasms, pain, anxiety or depression.

The MS Trust website states that: ‘Many of the MS symptoms that can cause sleep disturbance are treatable. If you are currently not receiving treatment for them, or if the medication you are taking is affecting your sleep, do speak to your MS team. Changing your medications or altering the time you take the treatment could help. For example, treatment options for pain can include medications such as gabapentin, which has been shown to improve nocturnal pain and also promote restorative sleep.’ 

These are just some of the additional issues that Kadeena will be facing during her time in 'I’m A Celebrity' and it certainly makes me very grateful for a warm home as I watch her and the other participants’ progress in the evening.

She is a fantastic representative for anyone living with a neurological condition and the challenges they face on a daily basis just to do the ordinary things. That is why I love my job so much; if we at the Neuro Therapy Centre can help even a little bit, then it makes our job worthwhile, and we take as much pleasure as you do in all the little gains we can make together.

Your determination constantly humbles me and your ability to cope with adversity is an inspiration. I salute you all.