Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis
Although there is still no cure for multiple sclerosis (MS), effective therapies are available to modify the course of the disease, treat attacks or relapses and manage symptoms. Additionally, there are many exciting research studies in MS to improve disease outcomes. It is important to know that the majority of people with MS do not become severely physically disabled and MS is not considered a life-limiting disease. With recent advances, more than two-thirds of people who have MS remain able to walk without assistance. Though some will need an assistive device, such as a cane, to help with weakness and balance problems sometime in their lives.
Medications to Treat Multiple Sclerosis
Because MS is the result of a malfunctioning immune system, many drug therapies for the disease target the immune system's activities. Medications used to treat MS work to reduce relapses of the disease and slow its progression by preventing further damage to myelin, the protective sheath covering nerve cells.
Learn more about MS disease modifying therapies:
- National MS Society – MS Medications
- MS Association of America – Long-Term Treatments for MS
- PatientsLikeMe.com – Patient reported medication experiences
Complementary Therapy for MS
In addition to lifestyle factors that are important for MS treatment, there are a number of additional medications, dietary choices and supplements which may be of benefit for symptom management or disease modification.
Treating MS Symptoms with Physical Therapy
Physical therapy may help mobility problems caused by MS symptoms.
While physical therapy doesn't eliminate the actual symptoms of MS (such as weakness, tremors, tingling, numbness and other physical problems), therapy can help patients to compensate for the changes brought on by MS. Such treatments can include learning about new techniques, strategies, and equipment that are designed to facilitate movement.
Physical therapy can also be very helpful for combating the tightness, pain or weakness MS patients feel in muscles and joints. Exercises that can be taught and performed at home are designed to increase independence and quality of life by improving function and relieving pain. Physical therapy can also help with balance problems, coordination and fatigue.
Virginia Mason also offers comprehensive, nationally recognized neurological rehabilitation services. Our highly experienced physicians, psychologists and therapists are dedicated to working with patients and their families, as key members of the rehabilitation team.