Although traditional medicine uses prescription drugs to fight MS, there are other treatment options available.  Many alternative medical techniques also fight multiple sclerosis symptoms, easing pain, relieving stress and improving nervous system function.  Although the traditional method does not promote alternative medicine, many patients are choosing to incorporate alternative medical techniques into their treatment plans.

The traditional MS treatment relies on potent medications such as: steroids, which halt immune system activity; interferon drugs which, as the name suggests, interfere with the immune response or trap immune cells in the lymph nodes; and cytotoxins, which kill certain cell groups to control immune system attacks. That said, traditional medicine does have methods to fight MS that do not involve drugs: the first, plasma exchange, uses technology to separate blood cells from blood plasma and substitutes plasma from a healthy donor, using a procedure somewhat like dialysis. The second method, known as “deep-brain stimulation,” places small implants in the portion of the brain called the thalamus.These implants give off pulses of electricity, which ease the tremors and muscle spasms associated with MS (although the implants must be positioned in exactly the right spots for the procedure to be fully effective.)


Alternative Treatments are Worth a Second Look


The primary goal with MS is to halt immune system attacks and reduce inflammation in any injured areas. Certain herbal medicines are also believed to ease an overactive immune response and calm inflammation. Chinese medicine, for example, uses a native plant known (in English) as Thunder God Vine to ease the joint and muscle pain than MS produces. Ginseng is also recommended, for problems with mental alertness and physical fatigue. Omega 3 fatty acids from fish or flaxseed are promoted even by traditional practitioners, as Omega 3 acids promote myelin production and improve nerve function. Antioxidants like vitamins C and E fight Multiple Sclerosis autoimmune attacks, and vitamin B-12 assists myelin production.

Many MS patients also receive treatment from alternative physical medicine practitioners such as chiropractors and acupuncturists. Not only do such practices offer relief from physical symptoms like pain and fatigue – they also appear to alleviate stress and depression. Massage, in particular, is recommended to improve muscle control and improve circulation – any moderate exercise, in fact, is extremely beneficial for MS patients.

It’s important to remember that the clinical trials and scientific studies used to asses prescription medications have only recently been applied to alternative medical practices, and further testing must be done before scientists will say conclusively that alternative treatments are beneficial. Any alternative treatment should be discussed with a physician, particularly any herbal medications or supplements, which can be dangerous when combined with prescription drugs. That said, many patients feel that alternative medical techniques provided relief from MS symptoms when traditional medicine could not; for that reason alone, alternative treatments are definitely worth further investigation.