Published: 02/02/2016 - Updated: 03/10/2018
Author: MSc. Miriam Reyes
Multiple Sclerosis is a disorder in which the myelin sheath containing nerve fibres has been affected, damaging the ability to send nerve impulses and as a result many uncomfortable symptoms occur.
Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis
The symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis are very diverse and quite often their first appearances are ignored or can be missed entirely. The most common symptom is fatigue or weakness, but other symptoms that can occur are as follows:
- Reduction in sensitivity
- Difficulty moving limbs
- Tingling or numbness in the body
- Trouble walking
- Muscle spasms
- Changes in vision, or blurred vision
- Decreased sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Difficulty swallowing or chewing food
For people diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, some of the following recommendations may be helpful:
Diet: A healthy diet is recommended for anyone, however in the case of Multiple Sclerosis the diet can contribute significantly. It is important to take care when it comes to the quality of food, try to use healthy oils such as olive oils, avoid excessive consumption of processed foods, include plenty of fruits and vegetables and reduce consumption of simple sugars such as refined sugar, fizzy drinks, etc.
Be Positive: While there is no definitive cure for Multiple Sclerosis, focussing on the negative may aggravate the disease by contributing to stress and frustration: It is best to try where possible to stay positive.
Regular physical exercise: Exercise helps us keep our body and mind healthy, either a walk outdoors, yoga, swimming or other, may prove to be useful against stress, and to improve flexibility and condition. It is important to consult your doctor about exercises that you can put into practice before doing them.
Avoid smoking: Although smoking is probably not the cause of MS, it can aggravate the condition or increase the risk of suffering. It is unclear how smoking contributes to the disease, but many experts agree that it is best to give up this habit if you have Multiple Sclerosis.
Useful Alternative Therapies for Multiple Sclerosis
There is no definitive cure for Multiple Sclerosis and the progression of the disease can be very different from one patient to another, as well as symptoms. However, alternative therapies, such as aromatherapy, yoga, herbal remedies, massage and others can help maintain control of the disease. Usually these therapies are a complement to conventional treatments and not a replacement.
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Acupuncture: This involves stimulating energy points of the body to promote a therapeutic effect. Acupuncture may be useful for improving pain, muscle spasms, and even to control the bladder in cases of symptoms of incontinence. Before carrying out this treatment, it is recommended to consult a specialist.
Apitherapy: This is the use of the apitoxin or venom from bees, which is injected in a controlled manner to relieve pain and reduce inflammation, among other benefits. This therapy is often used in Multiple Sclerosis cases.
Massages: Massage can not slow the progress of MS, however, they are useful in reducing stress, tension and depression, which are all factors that commonly aggravate the disease. Massage is recommended
provided there are no problems with bone density or osteoporosis.
Garlic: Eating raw or steamed garlic may be useful in cases of Multiple Sclerosis, as according to some studies it has the ability to reduce inflammation in nerves, but more evidence is needed on the specific effects.
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Evening Primrose Oil: This is an oil rich in linoleic acid – a fatty acid which research suggests can help reduce the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. Linoleic acid can also be found in olive oil and sunflower seeds, however, it is noteworthy that although this oil contributes to improving the condition, the effect is considered slight.
Vitamin D: Studies have shown that it is possible that vitamin D levels can influence the development of the disease. It has been found that children who were exposed longer to the sun during childhood are less likely to develop the disease, so vitamin D in early years could be considered an effective form of prevention. Experts also suggest that pregnant women with low levels of vitamin D can have children who are at higher risk of developing the disease.
Consult a Doctor
It is true that a person with MS can benefit from these alternatives, but it is not recommended to suspend conventional treatment. In fact, it is very important to inform and consult your doctor about the alternative therapies that you are considering, as well as informing your therapist of any medication or hospital treatment that you are having so that they are able to provide a comprehensive and safe treatment for you.
Revised by: Dra. Loredana Lunadei on 03/10/2018
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