Because multiple sclerosis (MS) affects quality of life more than longevity, learning to live with the illness’s inconveniences and unpredictability is important. So, many people diagnosed with MS utilize both traditional medical treatment and complementary or alternative medical practices.
With multiple sclerosis, early medical treatment seems to delay or slow the progression of symptoms, presumably by reducing the severity of injury to the nervous system. This is accomplished traditionally through a variety of medications.
However, to promote well being, reduce symptoms, and possibly slow the progression of MS, the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation also suggests several complementary treatment options, including acupuncture, Ayurveda, homeopathy, and chiropractic medicine.
Although there are no research studies to back claims up, some MS patients report getting symptom relief from acupuncture treatments. It is said to relieve bladder control problems, muscle spasms, and pain. There are reports of people taking longer steps after a couple months of acupuncture treatments, standing straighter, and having less muscle weakness.
Historically, acupuncture was not used to treat MS. Some professionals are concerned that it could over stimulate the immune system or possibly worsen symptoms. So, if you decide to try acupuncture for MS, let your regular doctor in on the adventure so he or she can monitor your symptoms.
In Ayurvedic philosophy, MS is related to a specific energy imbalance, called a Vata imbalance. Ayurvedic treatment aims at bringing Vata back into balance, alleviating symptoms and possibly slowing the disease progression.
There is much anecdotal evidence that people with MS respond positively to Ayurvedic treatments that include diet recommendations, supplements, breathing exercises, and other techniques. There are some claims of symptom remission; however, individual response to Ayurveda varies.
Homeopathic medicine attempts to stimulate the body’s innate capacity to heal itself by triggering the body’s healing energies. Homeopathic practitioners and many of their MS patients report symptom relief from optic neuritis, cramps, spasms, bladder problems, tingling, and numbness.
Some patients experience good to excellent results meaning there are moderate to dramatic reductions in symptoms. Other patients have less remarkable results but still notice decreases in the frequency, intensity, and duration of symptom flare-ups. People that experience poor results or get no relief are generally in an advanced state of the disease.
The goal of chiropractic treatment is reducing pressure on our body's nerves so the body can function optimally and without pain. People with MS have found relief from neuralgic pain through this type of treatment. Some patients report increased muscle strength and an improvement in gate.
One study* used data taken from 44 MS patient records, plus 37 patient records of people with Parkinson’s disease. Results indicate that chiropractic treatment of the upper neck is helpful to MS and Parkinson’s patients. The research results revealed that 91 percent of the MS patients showed improvement, sometimes dramatic.
*Chiropractic study was by Erin Elster, D.C., published in the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research.
If you are interested in getting an Ayurveda consultation in the Chicago area consider contacting Chicago Ayurveda.