Multiple sclerosis (MS) has no cure, but certain treatments and procedures can help manage its symptoms. In this condition, the fatty material around the brain and spinal cord is attacked by the immune system, leading to problems with vision, balance, and muscle control among other issues. The treatments for multiple sclerosis can be invasive or non-invasive, given below are a few of these approaches to treat the condition:
1. Invasive approaches to MS
- Plasma exchange or Plasmapheresis
This method involves removing the plasma that carries cells and proteins throughout the body and exchanging it with the plasma of another person or a donor. Multiple sclerosis is a type of autoimmune disorder. It is believed that the plasma of the patient might contain proteins that may attack its cells, so separating the plasma from the body and replacing it with different plasma has proved to be effective in treatments for multiple sclerosis.
- Deep brain stimulation
It is a kind of surgical procedure where an electrode is placed in the deep brain areas like the thalamus and globus pallidus, with the wire of the electrode connected to a device placed under the skin on the chest. There are four metal contacts in the electrode which generate electric shocks or signals to the deep brain areas and disables them to prevent involuntary muscle movement.
- Botulinum toxin
This toxin is produced from bacteria called Clostridium botulinum. This is usually used as a third-line treatment to control the tremors, involuntary movements of the muscles, spasticity, and twitching associated with multiple sclerosis. Movements are controlled by electrical impulses sent to the brain through the secretion of acetylcholine. In the case of multiple sclerosis, since the nerve sheaths are damaged, this process gets out of control and the electrical signals are sent in disarray, Botulinum blocks the acetylcholine and keeps the spasticity and involuntary movements of the muscle under control.
This is a traditional Chinese method to alleviate pain, spasticity, imbalance, incoordination, and weakness associated with multiple sclerosis. Certain motor and sensory areas in the brain are stimulated via certain points in the scalp and this eases the patient to a certain extent. Stimulation is done at several points in one session followed by another session after a few weeks. Studies have reported that patients find a significant improvement after acupuncture.
Non-invasive approaches to MS include:
- Vitamin D supplementation therapy
Vitamin D levels in the body have proven to significantly impact multiple sclerosis symptoms. It is proven that people who are exposed to natural vitamin D face lesser risks of developing the condition than people who are not, so vitamin D supplementation plays an important role in the treatments for multiple sclerosis.
- Speech and swallow therapy
Patients suffering from multiple sclerosis experience weakness or spasticity of the facial muscles, making it difficult to speak or swallow. When such a condition is diagnosed, this therapy is warranted, which focuses on facial muscle strengthening with exercises and help in swallowing.
- Occupational therapy
This enables the patients to help themselves with daily activities like grooming, cleaning, bathing, and also educates them on how to use a cane or a walker. It also helps them in dealing with their cognitive, memory, and concentration issues, and in getting adapted to the environment.
- Psychological counseling
Depression tends to set in due to the prolonged, tiresome treatment methods used for multiple sclerosis and appointments with a psychologist are highly beneficial in helping a person positively deal with the disease and concentrate on coping skills.