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

  • Medical Author:
    Danette C. Taylor, DO, MS, FACN

    Dr. Taylor has a passion for treating patients as individuals. In practice since 1994, she has a wide range of experience in treating patients with many types of movement disorders and dementias. In addition to patient care, she is actively involved in the training of residents and medical students, and has been both primary and secondary investigator in numerous research studies through the years. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor at Michigan State University's College of Osteopathic Medicine (Department of Neurology and Ophthalmology). She graduated with a BS degree from Alma College, and an MS (biomechanics) from Michigan State University. She received her medical degree from Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Her internship and residency were completed at Botsford General Hospital. Additionally, she completed a fellowship in movement disorders with Dr. Peter LeWitt. She has been named a fellow of the American College of Neuropsychiatrists. She is board-certified in neurology by the American Osteopathic Board of Neurology and Psychiatry. She has authored several articles and lectured extensively; she continues to write questions for two national medical boards. Dr. Taylor is a member of the Medical and Scientific Advisory Council (MSAC) of the Alzheimer's Association of Michigan, and is a reviewer for the journal Clinical Neuropharmacology.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

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What about medical marijuana (cannabis) for MS symptoms?

There have been a number of studies looking at the potential benefits of medical marijuana (cannabis) on MS symptoms, including spasticity and chronic pain. There is some suggestion that FDA approved forms of medical cannabis (Marinol or Sativex) may be beneficial in improving spasticity or bladder frequency. However, there are no reports that ingested or inhaled medical marijuana is beneficial for conditions associated with MS. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society has more information about medical marijuana for MS symptoms (http://www.nationalmssociety.org/Treating-MS/Complementary-Alternative-Medicines/Marijuana)

Who is eligible to pursue treatment with CAM?

Anyone can participate CAM therapy. However, it is important to recognize that most of these therapies are not covered by insurance, and may be an "out of pocket" cost for patients with MS.

Patients who decide to pursue CAM need to share this information with their physicians, as some supplements may interact with convention medication and lead to side effects.

How much does CAM cost?

The costs of CAM can vary widely; regular exercise and yoga can be low or no-cost options, while massage therapy, acupuncture, and some supplements can be quite expensive. Every patient must have a good relationship with treating health-care professionals of traditional and non-traditional therapies to best understand potential costs.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/27/2015
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