Multiple Sclerosis & CAM Treatments
According to the Medline Plus Merriam Webster Medical Dictionary, multiple sclerosis is defined as “a demyelinating disease marked by patches of hardened tissue in the brain or in the spinal cord and associated especially with partial or complete paralysis and jerking muscle tremor.” Someone who is suffering from MS (multiple sclerosis) will have symptoms that affect the nervous system. Such symptoms can include, but are not limited to, muscle tremors, vision problems, involuntary movements, back pain, eye pain, vertigo, fatigue, slurred speech, depression, headaches, numbness in the face, and difficulty walking. Multiple sclerosis can affect both males and females but it most commonly affects females within the age range of 20 and 40 years old. Patients with MS are not all the same and are not all treated the same way. Each patient is unique in how acute or severe their symptoms are and what types of treatments work for them. Multiple sclerosis is considered a myelin disorder because the normal myelin sheaths, which protect our axons that branch off of neurons in our nervous system, become damaged which results in cell death. When this happens, a hard plaque-like substance takes the place of the damaged myelin. Due to the damage to these nerve cells, it can impair coordination and vision and cause other varying symptoms. The cause of multiple sclerosis is still unknown but many medical professionals consider it to be an auto-immune disorder since the body is basically attacking itself.
Although many people live with multiple sclerosis for many years before receiving a medical diagnosis from their doctor, early detection is key into slowing down or stopping its progression so the patient can lead as normal of a life as possible. Although the common route of treatment is turning to modern medicine, there are also some complementary and alternative treatments available that can be beneficial to the patient. There are many vitamins and supplements which can be beneficial to a patient with MS. These supplements each play a part in supporting the patient’s health. Calcium and magnesium are great to use because many MS patients suffer from a calcium deficiency. The magnesium is needed in order for the body to absorb the calcium, and it is also helpful in proper muscular coordination. Coenzyme Q10 can help improve the patient’s circulation, tissue oxidation, and help to boost the immune system to help ward off infections. Vitamin C is helpful for supporting the body in building new and healthy cells. Methylsulfonylmethane is beneficial to the cell walls as it helps them to stay permeable which is important for water and nutrients to be able to flow through them. This is commonly used in combination with vitamin C. A good vitamin B complex which contains each of the major B vitamins can help support healthy nerves and prevent additional nerve damage in a patient suffering from multiple sclerosis. Choline and inositol are great choices in helping to protect the myelin sheath. Choline and inositol also are nervous system stimulants. Antioxidants are beneficial in helping clear the body from toxins. Acidophilus is a great choice of antioxidant as it helps the body to detox and also boosts nutrient absorption. A nutrient called 7-Keto DHEA is helpful in slowing body deterioration. This type of DHEA is preferred when compared to regular DHEA as it will not convert into sex hormones. Vitamins A and E are good to add as sources of antioxidants and helping destroy free radicals and also protecting the nervous system. Lecithin granules can be helpful in protecting cells and assisting in normal brain function. Phosphorus is beneficial as it aids in the cellular transfer of energy and many MS patients suffer fatigue symptoms. Dietary changes that a patient can make are to switch over to eating all organically and maintaining adequate amounts of protein. Making sure to stay hydrated and avoiding alcohol can also be beneficial. In addition to dietary changes and adding supplements, some doctors like to have the patient go to a lab to have allergy testing, toxin screening, and blood panels run. This can help in determining what other factors are contributing to the symptoms of their MS. Lifestyle changes can also help in easing symptoms such as participating in massage therapy and yoga classes. It is important for a patient with MS to lessen their amounts of stress and anxiety which can help in avoiding flare ups.
In the case of multiple sclerosis, I think it is beneficial to the patient to seek out any and all options that are available to them. Modern medicine definitely has its place and can be very helpful, but some of the side effects of the prescriptions used in treating multiple sclerosis come with their own set of side effects and problems which can become overwhelming to the body and stressful on the patient. I think if medical doctors and complimentary alternative practitioners work together in coming up with protocols and treatment plans for the patient, there would be more success in treating the symptoms of multiple sclerosis and helping the patient have a more active and productive life overall.
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