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Alternative and Complementary Therapies for Multiple Sclerosis

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What Are Some Other Alternative/Complementary Options for Multiple Sclerosis? continued...

Diet. It is important for people with MS to maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet to keep them as healthy as possible. Discuss any dietary concerns you may have with your doctor.

Marijuana. The use of marijuana to treat any illness remains highly controversial. Some people with MS claim that smoking marijuana helps relieve spasticity and other MS-related symptoms. However, there is little evidence to date that marijuana really works. Research is ongoing to answer this important question. Until more is known, doctors do not recommend the use of marijuana to treat MS as the drug is associated with serious long-term side effects such as heart attack or memory loss.

How Can I Tell Which Therapies Are Worth Taking for Multiple Sclerosis?

Alternative therapy can be helpful in many cases of multiple sclerosis, but some treatments can be ineffective, costly, and even dangerous. The best way to evaluate your options is to become educated. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the treatment?
  • What does it involve?
  • How does it work?
  • Why does it work?
  • Are there any risks?
  • What are the side effects?
  • Is it effective? (Ask for evidence or proof!)
  • How much does it cost?

Once you answer these questions, weigh your options and decide whether the benefits outweigh the risks.

If you do decide to try an alternative or complementary treatment, make sure your health and pocketbook are protected. Here are some tips.

Do not take the claim at face value. Contact reliable organizations and discuss the therapy. Talk to others in a support group, your family, and friends. Although they may not always be supportive, they can help you make an educated, objective decision.

Discuss the therapy with your doctor. Make sure your doctor knows what therapy you are considering so he or she can discuss possible interactions or side effects with your current treatment. Your doctor can also provide you with information on other patients who may have tried the same therapy.

Talk to others who have used the therapy. Ask them what their experiences have been. Do not go solely on testimonials from the care provider or product manufacturer. Track down your own references and get their opinions.

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