Multiple Sclerosis, also called MS is a disease where the immune system attacks the myelin sheath covering the nerves.
The myelin sheath is there to protect the nerves and to help facilitate communication between your body and brain.
Therefore, when this myelin is damaged, communication is disrupted. Eventually, the nerves will deteriorate- which at this point, is irreversible.
The signs and symptoms of MS vary, depending on the nerves that have been affected and to what extent they have been affected.
Some individuals with severe cases of MS are unable to walk on their own or even walk at all.
Then, others could have long periods of remission, where no new symptoms come up.
Signs and Symptoms of MS
Though the signs and symptoms of MS vary widely, you may notice some of the following:
- Numbness/weakness in one or more of your limbs, usually on one side- or possibly in your legs and trunk
- Partial/total vision loss, usually in one eye at a time- often in conjunction with pain during eye movements
- Double/blurry vision
- Tingling/pain in parts of your body
- “Electric-shock” like sensations occurring with certain movements, especially when bending your neck forward
- Tremor, unsteady gait, or overall lack of coordination
- Problems with bowel/bladder function
- Slurred speech
Course of MS
Typically, individuals with MS have what is referred to as a “relapsing-remitting” course.
This is where new symptoms, or relapse, occurs over days or weeks and typically will improve either partially or totally, followed by a quiet period, or remission, that can last for months or even years.
Though small increases in body temperature can worsen the signs and symptoms temporarily, this is not considered to be a relapse.
Around 60-70% of those who have the “relapsing-remitting” course of MS will eventually develop a more steady progression of their symptoms, either with or without the periods of remission.
This is referred to as “secondary-progressive” MS. Most often, the symptoms that get worse include problems with gait.
As with any other disease, the rate of progression varies among those who have “secondary-progressive” MS.
Finally, some individuals may experience a gradual onset and a steady progression of the signs and symptoms of MS with no relapses. This is referred to as “primary-progressive” MS.
Cause of Multiple Sclerosis
It is not known what causes MS, but it is thought to be an autoimmune disease- which means that the immune system attacks itself.
In MS the myelin that protect the nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord is attacked.
Myelin is like the insulation on electrical wires. When it is damaged, the messages travelling along that nerve are blocked or slowed down.
Researchers are not sure why multiple sclerosis develops in some individuals and not in others. It is thought that a combination of factors from childhood infections to genetics, could be the key.
Unfortunately, at this time, there is no cure for multiple sclerosis. However, there are treatments available that can help speed up recovery time from attacks, manage the signs and symptoms, and also modify the course of the disease. Following are some natural ways to deal with your MS.
Natural Treatments for Multiple Sclerosis
While it is true that there are major medical breakthroughs in treating MS occurring regularly, still the most common treatment is interferon injections.
However, individuals suffering from MS know that the side effects of this treatment can actually be worse than the MS itself.
Common side effects include injection site inflammation to liver damage. Due to this, more and more individuals with MS are choosing to treat their disease in more natural ways.
– First of all, talk with your physician about treatment options. In more severe cases, you may need to use medication to treat your MS symptoms.
However, your neurologist may be aware of other options and can help you to investigate some of the more alternative treatments.
If you do choose to go with the alternative treatments, make sure that your physician is aware of what you are doing- explain to him/her why you are choosing to use alternative therapies instead of the more “modern” medical therapies.
If your physician does not believe in alternative treatments for MS, you may want to consult with another one.
– Do some research into using antioxidants to combat the signs and symptoms of MS. Broccoli, blueberries, and other “superfoods” can help your body to build up a natural immunity.
The stronger your health is overall, the less likely you are to suffer from a relapse of MS. You may also want to consider adding some natural herbs to your diet such as:
Gingko Biloba- which will help with circulation and DHEA- which acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.
– Since it has been proven that stress can cause the symptoms of MS to be worse, consider drinking a concoction that includes the herb skullcap. Drink it in a hot liquid with a little bit of honey regularly to help relieve your stress.
– Always make sure to get plenty of exercise. Anything that serves to strengthen your body can help to fight off the signs and symptoms of MS.
Since MS is considered an autoimmune disease, anything you can do to increase the natural immunity of your body will help.
– As much as possible, avoid contracting other illnesses. Stay away from other people who are sick and make sure you wash your hands often.
Viruses lower the natural defenses of your body and can be devastating for those who have multiple sclerosis. Even minor illnesses can cause a relapse in the signs and symptoms of MS.
– Finally, keep your body temperature under control. If you core body temperature increases, that can trigger a relapse in your MS symptoms. Make sure to keep cool and you may be able to avoid those relapses.
As mentioned before, keep your physician aware of any natural or alternative treatments you use.
Also, let him/her know of any herbal treatments you use, as they could have some interactions with other prescription medications you may be taking.