Multiple Sclerosis (MS) - Other Treatment
What to think about
There is no cure for MS. So far, the only treatments proved
to affect the course of the disease are approved disease-modifying therapies. Other types of treatment should not replace these medicines if you are a candidate for
treatment with them.
Some people who have MS report that complementary therapies have worked for them. This may be in part due to the
placebo effect. The placebo effect means that you feel better after getting treatment, even though the treatment has not been proved to work. And even if some complementary
therapies don't treat the disease itself, they may affect a person's sense of well-being and help the person feel better and healthier.
If you are
thinking about trying a complementary treatment, get the facts first. Discuss these questions with your doctor:
- Is it safe? Talk with
your doctor about the safety and potential side effects of the treatment. This
is especially important if you are on drug therapy for MS. Some
complementary treatments in combination with drug therapy can be quite
dangerous. A treatment that could be harmful to you and may or may not improve
your symptoms isn't worth the risk.
- Does it work? Because MS symptoms can come and go, you may find it hard to
judge whether a particular treatment is really working. Keep in mind that if
you get better after using a certain treatment, the treatment isn't always the
reason for the improvement. MS may often improve on its own (spontaneous
- How much does it cost? An
expensive, unproven treatment that may or may not help you may not be worth its
cost. Beware of therapy providers or products that require a large financial
investment at the beginning of a series of treatments.
- Will it improve my general health? Even if they aren't
effective in treating MS, some complementary practices (such as acupuncture,
massage, or yoga) may be safe. And they may lead to healthy habits that improve your
overall well-being. These might be worth trying.
With a hard-to-treat disease like MS, it can be tempting
to jump at the promise of an effective treatment. Be cautious about trying