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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 remission).
  • 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 unproven treatments.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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