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    How to Treat and Prevent an MS Flare-Up

    How to Prevent Flare-Ups continued...

    Relax. In some people, stress can bring on a relapse. Chill out with meditation, yoga, or anything else that’s good for you and helps you unwind.

    Rest. You won't feel well when you're worn out. Sleep problems are common in people with MS. Symptoms like pain and muscle spasms can keep you up at night. Some of the medicines that treat MS interrupt sleep, too. Work with your doctor to get your symptoms under control so you can sleep. Adjust your medicines if they keep you awake.

    Ways to Treat a Flare-Up

    Your symptoms might go away on their own if they're mild. Even so, let your doctor know what’s going on.

    Treating symptoms can shorten your flare-ups and help you recover faster. The goal is to bring down the inflammation that caused your symptoms.

    Your doctor will likely prescribe a steroid drug. Steroids curb inflammation and can help you get over a relapse faster.

    Some people can't take steroids. Others are bothered by steroid side effects, which include weight gain, mood changes, trouble sleeping, and upset stomach. Another option is ACTH gel (Acthar gel). It's injected into your muscle or under the skin. ACTH triggers your adrenal gland to release natural hormones that bring down inflammation.

    For a very severe flare-up that doesn't get better with steroids, you can try plasma exchange. First, a health care professional will take some of your blood. The liquid part, called plasma, is taken out. It's replaced with a substitute plasma fluid or with plasma from a donor. Then, the blood is returned to your body.

    During a relapse you might feel more tired than usual. Try to get enough rest. Also avoid heat, which can make your symptoms worse.

    What to Do After a Flare-Up

    You can recover fully after a relapse, but it might take weeks or months to get over all your symptoms. If you had a lot of nerve damage, some symptoms might not fully go away.

    You may need extra help getting back to your normal life. A rehab program can put you back on track. Your rehab team will help you with:

    • Exercise
    • Speech
    • Dressing and personal care
    • Movement
    • Home chores
    • Problems with thinking and memory
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    Reviewed on December 13, 2015

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