Last week I spoke about my MS 3,000 crunch challenge for the month of March. I spoke about what multiple sclerosis is, the 4 types of MS and briefly touched on possible treatments. Today I would like to dive a little deeper into the treatment options available for MS.
Treating Relapses of MS Symptoms:
With MS, a flare-up of symptoms can sometimes be caused by something other than a relapse. It could be an infection, so your doctor will need to check for other possible causes.
Treatment for a relapse usually involves either:
- A course of steroid tablets to be taken at home
- Injections of steroid medicine that would be given in your doctor’s surgery or in hospital.
Steroids can really help speed up your recovery from a relapse, but they don’t prevent further relapses or stop MS from getting worse over time. Steroids are only given for a short period of time because overuse can lead to a number of side effects such as weak bones, weight gain etc.
Treatment for Specific MS Symptoms:
We are all aware that MS can cause a range of symptoms and some of them can be treated individually. Let’s take a closer look into a few of them:
Speech & Swallowing Difficulties
A speech and language therapist can help you find ways to overcome these issues. They could share a list of foods that are easier to swallow and recommend exercises to help you strengthen the muscles you use in speech and swallowing.
If however, these problems become more severe, some people need to be fed via a tube. This is something you can discuss further with.
Many people living with MS experience fatigue. For this you might be prescribed ‘’amantadine’’ but this drug may have a limited effect.
There are more options available to you in order to help you manage the fatigue:
- Exercise plan
- Keeping a healthy sleep pattern
- Energy-saving techniques
- Avoiding medicine that can worsen fatigue
All of the above advice should be given at your doctors, so no need to worry.
Mobility problems are often a result of muscle spasms and spasticity, but they can also be caused by muscle weakness or issues with balance, or dizziness.
For mobility problems, you might benefit from:
- Physiotherapist designed exercise plan
- Vestibular rehabilitation – a special exercise
- Medicine for the dizziness or tremors
- Mobility aids – a walking stick or a wheelchair
- Home adaptations to make life easier such as stairlifts or railings
Even though MS can’t be cured, there are medicines that can help you have fewer and less severe relapses. These are known as disease-modifying therapies.
These therapies aim to reduce the amount of damage and scarring to your myelin sheath. If your myelin sheath becomes damaged or dies this can lead to MS – I speak about more here.
Disease-modifying therapies are not suitable for everyone with MS. They are only prescribed for those who have relapsing-remitting MS or secondary progressive MS.