DEF- Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is a long-lasting disease that can affect your brain, spinal cord, and the optic nerves in your eyes. It can cause problems with vision, balance, muscle control, and other basic body functions. The effects are often different for everyone who has the disease.
This fact sheet is provided to help you understand the current evidence regarding complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for treatment of multiple sclerosis(MS). The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) is the world’s largest association of neurologists and neuroscience professionals.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) involves an immune-mediated process in which an abnormal response of the body’s immune system is directed against the central nervous system (CNS), which is made up of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. The exact antigen — or target that the immune cells are sensitized to attack — remains unknown, which is why MS is considered by many experts to be “immune-mediated” rather than “autoimmune.”
- Within the CNS, the immune system attacks myelin — the fatty substance that surrounds and insulates the nerve fibers — as well as the nerve fibers themselves.
- The damaged myelin forms scar tissue (sclerosis), which gives the disease its name.
- When any part of the myelin sheath or nerve fiber is damaged or destroyed, nerve impulses traveling to and from the brain and spinal cord are distorted or interrupted, producing a wide variety of symptoms.
- The disease is thought to be triggered in a genetically susceptible individual by a combination of one or more environmental factors.
- People with MS typically experience one of four disease courses, which can be mild, moderate or severe.
What are the symptoms of MS in adults?
- vision problems.
- tingling and numbness.
- pains and spasms.
- weakness or fatigue.
- balance problems or dizziness.
- bladder issues.
- sexual dysfunction.
- cognitive problems.
When it comes to the prognosis for multiple sclerosis (MS), there’s both good news and bad news. Although there is no known cure for MS, there is some good news about life expectancy. Because MS is not a fatal disease, people who have MS essentially have the same life expectancy as the general population. In the most common type (known as relapsing remitting MS), symptoms come and go. These can run the gamut from mild tingling to more severe vision loss. However,MS is tricky. Because so many other conditions can also cause similar symptoms, a hypochondriac could easily think they have it when they don’t. Women are more than twice as likely to develop multiple sclerosis as men. Multiple sclerosis usually affects people between the ages of 20 and 50 years, and the average age of onset is approximately 34 years. Multiple sclerosis does not affect the joints directly, like other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, or lupus, which can cause the degeneration of the cartilage or inflammation in the joints. However, joint pain is very common in people with MS, specifically in the knees and hips.
Massage for Multiple Sclerosis
If you’re interested in pursuing therapeutic massage for MS, get the green light from your doctor first.
Massage is just one component of feeling better. Exercising, eating a healthy diet, getting adequate sleep and taking the appropriate MS medications are all crucial parts of a treatment plan. “Managing MS can be stressful,”
Massage therapy is one of most common complementary and alternative medical (CAM) practices used by MS patients . … Preoperative massage treatments have been shown to reduce pain, anxiety, and tension in patients undergoing cardiac surgery. Many people with multiple sclerosis receive regular massage therapy to help relax and reduce stress.” Along with stress reduction, massage can help increase flexibility which improves your mobility, and can help reduce muscle stiffness caused by spasticity. But perhaps the greatest benefit is reduction of pain.
How Massage Helps
Therapeutic massage for MS has a physical effect beyond relaxation. Significant benefits for MS patients appear to be reduced spasticity and pain, improved circulation and increased muscle and joint flexibility.
“I have had some patients report good results in terms of less pain, less spasticity and better mobility with massage,” says Dr. Robert Shin, a neurologist at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington.
Stress reduction also winds up being an important benefit of therapeutic massage for MS. A small 2016 study suggested that massage therapy was associated with an improved quality of life, along with decreased fatigue and pain
MS and Muscle Challenges
The damage left behind by the attacks and the scars that form as the body attempts repairs make it harder for nerves to communicate. This can cause many problems, such as cognitive decline and mood disorders. Damage to the central nervous system also means that muscles may not get the message to coordinate properly, they may freeze or become rigid (spastic), they may tire easily, hurt and weaken without use. “When you have scarring to the myelin sheath, it doesn’t allow for a normal flow of electrical impulses. Movements slow down. It’s not coordinated or smooth,” Porambo says.
Resulting muscle problems can lead to trouble walking or maintaining balance and difficulty using your arms or hands to eat, dress, bathe or use a computer
*Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider.
Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.
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