Most people with MS live with the Relapsing-Remitting form of the disease.  About 8% of people with MS are first diagnosed with RRMS. So as the name implies, MS remissions are experienced by those same 85% of the MS patients. When the patient is not suffering a relapse, or attack, the person is in the remitting stage, or experiencing one of their Multiple Sclerosis Remissions.

The attack, otherwise known as exacerbation, is actually an inflammatory attack on the myelin of the nerve fibers in the Central Nervous system. While in the attack phase, activated immune cells cause damage to isolated and small areas, resulting in painful and sometimes debilitating inflammation. There are many ways to reduce the impact of this inflammation from pharmaceutical to natural herbal remedies and treatments.  The MS remissions are characterized by either complete or partial recovery that follows a relapse.


Do the MS remissions mean recovery?


Not by a long shot. It just means that the attack has settled and resolved itself.  Usually you will return to the same functionality level you were at before the attack started.  But some of the symptoms you get during the attack will remain with you permanently. Sometimes the attack will leave damage visible by MRI scans.  But the remissions do bring relief and the ability to resume activities that you were unable to participate in while in the thrones of the attack. These Multiple Sclerosis remissions will last anywhere from weeks to years. Many of the drugs and natural treatments are designed specifically to extend this remission period for as long as possible. But in the relief lies the problem for some.

They can’t help but wonder when the next attack will start.  And as they take on more and more of the activities and responsibilities they had to give up during the relapse, the anxiety level increases because of the worry about the next attack.  Anxiety often leads to depression, and the quality of life ends up deteriorating when it doesn’t have to.


Handling the ups and downs of MS


The emotional ups and downs take their toll over time.  If you are left with symptoms in remission, you have to learn how to live with the new normal that is now your life.  Some people try to make up for lost time and they do it too fast.  Try to ease back into your old routine.

If you stay on a healthy diet tailored especially for your MS, there will be no dramatic diet change to deal with.  Maintain contacts at work and with your social circle while relapsing.  Even if you can’t participate in activities with them, it will be easier to get back in the groove during your MS remissions if you have maintained contact while you were “down”.

Everyone deals with MS differently, but keeping a positive attitude, and being proactive with your diet and exercises will help you develop a strategy.  Living with a chronic illness is difficult, but thinking about these things in advance is helpful.  And planning ahead, especially with a healthy diet and lifestyle, may just extend those periods between remissions.