Alternative Treatment for MS
(Complementary and Alternative Medicine or CAM for MS)

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Alternative treatment (CAM) for MS facts

  • Fatigue and muscle spasticity are the symptoms of MS that are best addressed by complementary or alternative treatment or medicine (CAM).
  • Complementary or alternative treatments or therapies that have been shown to be helpful in helping reduce fatigue include:
  • Massage therapy and acupuncture have been reported by some to provide relief for spasticity.
  • Ongoing studies are being conducted to look at the potential benefits of medical marijuana on MS symptoms; to include chronic pain and spasticity. Marinol and Sativex, two FDA approved forms of medical marijuana (medical cannabis) may be beneficial in improving spasticity or bladder frequency.
  • People who desire CAM therapies generally feel that conventional treatments are not effective in controlling their symptoms or that the side effects are not acceptable.
  • Most CAM therapies are not covered by insurance.
  • It is important to discuss the use of CAM therapies with your health-care professional, since some CAM therapies may interact adversely with medications.
  • CAM has not been shown to have significant effects on the progression of MS over time.

What is complementary or alternative treatment or CAM?

Reader Stories

CAM (complementary and alternative medicine) is care provided in addition (integrative medicine) to or instead of traditional or standard medical practices. This group of therapies is wide-ranging, and includes:

Some people who seek out alternative medicine feel that conventional therapy has not successfully controlled their symptoms, or that the potential side effects associated with traditional therapy aren't acceptable. Others find that adding complementary medicine to their program allows improved control of symptoms. When complementary medicine is added to traditional routes, it is referred to as integrative medicine.

Recent studies through the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), specifically the National Health Interview Survey, suggest that as many as 38% of residents within the United States seek out CAM.

Many therapies that are considered within the group of complementary and alternative medicines haven't been studied extensively or investigated in comparison to conventional treatment options.

What is of multiple sclerosis (MS)?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease that causes demyelination of the brain and spinal cord, or a loss of the covering around axons. When this occurs, the axons (the parts of the nerve cells that transmit impulses to other cells) don't work well. As more areas of the central nervous system are affected by the loss of myelin, different symptoms develop.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/27/2015

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Alternative Therapy for MS: Experience Question: Please share your experience with alternative treatments and/or integrated medicine and multiple sclerosis (MS).
Alternative Treatment for MS: What Has Worked Question: What alternative treatments have been helpful with your MS symptoms?
Alternative Treatment for MS: Medical Marijuana Question: Please share your experience with using medical marijuana to treat MS symptoms.
Alternative Treatment for MS: Symptoms Question: What MS symptoms are have you experienced?

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Symptoms

Multiple sclerosis symptoms vary widely, and a description of "typical" symptoms is difficult. Some signs and symptoms of MS may include:

  • Visual disturbances (for example, blurred vision or loss of vision in one eye) that may be accompanied by eye pain.
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms and legs or face
  • Difficulties with speech
  • Tremors
  • Heat intolerance
  • Bowel or bladder problems
  • Sexual problems