Multiple sclerosis is a disease in which the immune system attacks the protective covering of the nerves. As a result, nerve damage disrupts the communication between the brain and the body and leads to symptoms like vision loss, pain, fatigue, and impaired coordination. There is no cure for the condition, but the symptoms can be treated. Here are some treatment options for multiple sclerosis:
- Physical therapy: One of the common treatment options for multiple sclerosis is physical therapy. A physical therapist can teach patients stretching and strengthening exercises and how to use devices to carry out their daily tasks. It can help patients manage leg weakness or other gait problems associated with multiple sclerosis.
- Muscle relaxants: Patients may suffer from painful or uncontrollable muscle stiffness or spasms, particularly in their legs. Muscle relaxants like baclofen and tizanidine may help alleviate this.
- Medication to reduce fatigue: Multiple sclerosis leads to fatigue, which can be reduced by amantadine, modafinil, and methylphenidate. Some medications used to treat depression, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, may also be prescribed.
- Medication to increase walking speed: Walking speed is usually affected in people with this condition, and Dalfampridine may help patients to slightly increase their walking speed. However, people with a history of kidney dysfunction or seizures are advised not to take this medication.
- Other medications: Doctors may prescribe medicines for sexual dysfunction, insomnia, and bladder or bowel control problems associated with multiple sclerosis.
- Treatment for multiple sclerosis attacks: Another effective treatment option for multiple sclerosis is the prescription of corticosteroids like oral prednisone and intravenous methylprednisolone. They are prescribed to reduce nerve inflammation, but they can lead to side effects like insomnia, increased blood pressure, mood swings, and fluid retention.
- Plasma exchange: This is another treatment for managing multiple sclerosis attacks. The plasma is extracted and separated from the blood cells, after which the blood cells are mixed with a protein solution (albumin) and reintroduced into the body. Plasma exchange may be used if the symptoms are new, severe, and the patient is not responded to steroids.
- Medication to reduce pain: These treatment options for multiple sclerosis are aimed at treating the pain associated with the condition. For neuropathic pain caused by damage to the nerves that is usually sharp and stabbing, doctors prescribe gabapentin, carbamazepine, or amitriptyline. For musculoskeletal pain, a device called transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) machine may be used.
- For problems with thinking, learning, and memory: People with multiple sclerosis often complain about thinking, learning, and memory problems. A clinical psychologist assesses these issues and suggests ways to manage them accordingly.
- For emotional problems: Emotional outbursts like laughing or crying without any reason can be an effect of multiple sclerosis. This symptom can be treated by a clinical psychologist.
It is important to consult a doctor at the earliest to facilitate early diagnosis and start timely treatment for multiple sclerosis.