Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease that impacts the nervous system. It involves an abnormal immune response which causes inflammation of myelin, which is a fatty substance that surrounds nerve fibers. This produces neurological symptoms, which vary widely. Many patients with multiple sclerosis use alternative treatments to improve their quality of life and to find symptom relief.
Common Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis
MS symptoms vary from person to person, and symptoms change over time. Common symptoms include:
- Numbness or weakness in one or more limbs.
- A lack of coordination.
- Electric-shock-like sensations that happen when the neck is moved in certain ways.
- Vision problems, including blurry vision, double vision and loss of vision.
- Slurred speech.
- Tingling or pain.
- Problems with bladder, bowel and sexual dysfunction.
Symptoms like these can significantly interfere with quality of life.
Conventional Treatment Approaches for MS
There is no cure for MS. The conventional approach to treating MS involves prescription medications such as corticosteroids, which have side effects like insomnia and increased blood pressure. Other prescriptions often used to treat MS have side effects such as headaches, liver damage, hair loss and an increased risk of cancer. Some may also interfere with a developing fetus, so they are not an option for women who are planning to have children.
Alternative Treatment Options for MS
Given the dramatic side effects associated with many conventional treatments for MS, it is understandable that MS patients would want to seek other options for treatment. Some alternative treatments have shown promise in improving quality of life for MS patients. Plant-based treatment has been one of the most promising options.
Plant-based treatment options have been studied extensively and shown to help reduce muscle spasticity, which significantly improves quality of life. Plant-based options also relieve pain and improve bladder symptoms. It may also help reduce cognitive symptoms associated with MS.
Plant-based treatments also help improve sleep and increase appetite. Using an alternative treatment does not mean patients need to stop taking prescription medications. Using them together might be the best approach for many patients, and the alternative treatments can help minimize the side effects of these medications.
Other Alternative Treatments
Other alternative treatments can help provide further symptom relief. Massage, for example, can help reduce stress and the depression many patients experience. Acupuncture can also help relieve symptoms like muscle spasms and bladder control problems.
Exploring Alternative Treatments
With a disease like MS, it is essential to carefully explore alternative treatments with an experienced integrative medicine professional. A doctor who practices integrative medicine uses both conventional and alternative treatments to help improve the quality of life for patients. Dr. Daniel P. Stein is one such integrative medicine professional. Dr. Stein has extensive training in neurology, which gives him unique insights into brain function and how to best approach treatment for conditions such as MS.
Ready to learn more about alternative treatments? Contact Dr. Stein today for an appointment.