Multiple sclerosis is a chronic and progressive disease that attacks the spinal cord, brain and optic nerves. It is also an autoimmune disorder caused by the immune system’s attacks on a fatty substance called myelin that sheathes and protects the nerves. Damage to the myelin leaves the nerve vulnerable to such damage as scarring. A patient with multiple sclerosis, therefore, develops neurological problems affecting vision, balance, mobility and other functions.
How is Multiple Sclerosis Treated?
There is currently no cure for multiple sclerosis. Doctors, therefore, try to slow the disease’s progression as much as possible. Many patients with multiple sclerosis also experience periods of remission punctuated with attacks of severe symptoms. In such cases, our team will try to lengthen the remission periods and/or shorten the attacks.
Beta interferons are among the medications most commonly used to treat multiple sclerosis. They reduce the severity and frequency of the attacks. They are delivered via injection. Beta interferons are marketed under the brand names of Rebif, Betaseron and Avonex.
Other drugs that can shorten the relapses include dimethyl fumarate and finglimod, both of which are taken orally. A drug called glatiramer acetate or Copaxone is thought to prevent the immune system from attacking the myelin sheaths. Some steroids can also reduce the severity and frequency of the attacks.
What About Physical Therapy?
Physical therapy and exercise can also help a patient with multiple sclerosis. Exercising can help a patient maintain or even improve their strength and balance. Physical therapy can also help the patient manage their pain and fatigue. The therapist will teach the patient exercises to maintain their range of motion.
A physical therapist can teach the patient easier ways to take care of themselves. They can help the patient adjust to using a cane, walker or wheelchair.
The patient may start undergoing physical therapy as soon as they’ve been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. During the first visit, the therapist will likely discuss the patient’s symptoms and ask to see how well they can perform given tasks. They will then teach the patient exercises they can perform at home.
Get All the Facts
There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for multiple sclerosis. The right treatment for you may be different than the right treatment for someone else with the disease. During a consultation at our office in Panama City, our team at The NeuroMedical Institute can create a customized treatment for you. Contact us today to schedule an appointment to learn more!