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Treatment can make living with MS easier. Your type of treatment will depend on how severe your symptoms are and whether your disease is active or in remission.
You and your doctor will set up a schedule of appointments to watch and treat your symptoms. These checkups help your doctor find out if you may need to try a different treatment.
You may get medicines, physical therapy, and other treatment at home.
In some cases, surgery may be done if you have severe tremor (shakiness) that affects movement. Or it may be done to implant a catheter or pump in the lower spinal area to deliver a constant flow of medicine to help treat severe spasticity (muscle stiffness).
Different medicines are used to treat MS. Which medicine you use, when you use it, and why you use it may vary. Medicines may be used:
During a relapse. They can make the attack shorter and less severe.
Over a long period of time, to keep down the number of attacks and how severe they are and to slow the progression of the disease. (Medicines that do this are called disease-modifying drugs.)
To control specific symptoms.
You and your doctor will decide together when you should start any of these drugs. If you decide not to try medicines at this time, meet with your doctor regularly to see if the disease is getting worse. He or she may recommend regular imaging tests.
The unpredictability and variety of symptoms caused by MS make it a disease that people have tried to treat in many different ways.
Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy can help you manage some physical problems caused by MS. You can also help yourself at home by eating balanced meals, getting regular exercise and rest, and learning to use your energy wisely.
Dealing with the physical and emotional demands of MS isn't easy. If you feel overwhelmed, talk to your doctor. You may be depressed, which can be treated. And finding a support group where you can talk to other people who have MS can be very helpful.
Complementary and alternative therapies.
Many complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) approaches have been proposed as treatments for MS. None of these treatments have been shown to modify the course of the disease. But some CAM therapies may help relieve stress, depression, fatigue, and muscle tension. Some of those most commonly used are acupuncture, meditation, massage, and yoga. Other CAM treatments may help relieve symptoms like muscle stiffness, pain, and fatigue. These include ginkgo biloba, magnetic therapy, and some forms of marijuana.
Talk to your doctor if you are interested in trying any of these CAM approaches to MS treatment.
Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Health Care patient, you may have access to the latest, advanced clinical trials.
Open trials refer to studies currently accepting participants. Closed trials are not currently enrolling, but may open in the future.