The unpredictability and
variety of symptoms caused by
multiple sclerosis (MS) make it a disease that people
have tried to treat in many different ways.
Experimental medical treatments
treatments for MS involve reducing the activity of the
immune system with
immunosuppressants or through methods such as
total lymphoid irradiation, in which the entire lymph
node system is exposed to radiation. While these methods have been used with success in
the treatment of certain other medical conditions, they have failed to produce
significant benefits when tested in controlled clinical trials. They remain
experimental treatments for MS, although they may be considered for people who
do not respond to any other therapy.
When guitar picker Clay Walker lost coordination in his right hand while
playing basketball with friends in 1996, the Texan was justifiably nervous. "At
first I was kind of laughing about it," he recalls. "But then I started having
double vision and
dizziness, and I couldn't stand up. And I realized, whoa, this is pretty
serious." Walker went straight to a doctor, who diagnosed the chart-topping
country singer with relapsing-remitting
multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic neurological disorder...
Stem cell transplant, which uses immature cells from the bone marrow, has been studied. Early results show that stem cell transplant may delay disability, especially in people with relapsing-remitting MS.7 It is not currently
recommended for treating MS.
Other types of treatment
for MS are provided by therapists or others who do not operate within
mainstream medical practice. Their
alternative medical approaches attract many people
who have MS, particularly those who have not had much success with conventional
treatments. Many people with MS use complementary or alternative therapies in
addition to more standard therapy.
None of these complementary
therapies have been shown through clinical research to be effective in treating
MS and are not recommended by most doctors. But sometimes people with MS find
that even though complementary therapies do not slow the progression of the
disease, the therapies help them feel better. Talk to your doctor if you are
interested in trying any of the complementary therapies.
Other Treatment Choices
Many complementary therapies have been proposed as
treatments for MS. None of these treatments have been shown to modify the
course of the disease. Some of those most commonly used are:
Although clinical research has not shown any of these
complementary therapies to be effective, a person with MS may benefit from safe
nontraditional therapies that complement conventional medical treatment. Some
complementary therapies may help relieve
stress and muscle tension. And some may improve your overall
well-being and quality of life.