To understand the therapies it helps to understand what Multiple Sclerosis is thought to be, which is an autoimmune disease. Autoimmunity means that one’s immune system sees a part of itself as an enemy and aims to destroy it. In the case of Multiple Sclerosis it is the Myelin that is considered to be under attack and causing the symptoms and scars to develop in response.
Myelin is the fatty sheath that protects our body’s axons, or brain connections through our body. When the Myelin gets attacked the axons can be damaged and the signs and symptoms range from numbness to blindness, tingling to pain, spasms to loss of bodily control and more. Some of these therapies for Multiple Sclerosis work by suppressing the immune system, and some by suppressing the inflammation (some people take steriod treatments for example).
When you look outside of the typical American Neurologist’s list of available treatments the list gets much much longer however.
There is also treatments that are becoming a lot more well known throughout the world and the United States:
IVIG (Immunoglobulin) is a treatment that in some places is considered a standard treatment for Multiple Sclerosis after a women with Multiple Sclerosis gives birth to a baby. Other treatments listed above are not considered safe for pregnancy or nursing which is why it is the only time this treatment is typically recommended.
Bee Sting Therapy is an alternative treatment for multiple sclerosis that became popular in the past…there are definitely people who swear by bee sting therapy for multiple sclerosis as well as studies claiming to disprove bee sting therapy.
Helminthic Therapy is one that is less heard of though I find it fascinating. It is a kind of Worm Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis that is basically based on the premise that perhaps as children, people who now are diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis weren’t exposed to parasites that are actually needed to keep us running optimally. Apparently it was banned by the FDA as well which is an interesting topic, it was classed as a “drug”.
CCSVI is an interesting one for people diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis to read about. It is an intense therapy in that it is a surgical procedure to improve blood flow from the brain, kind of like what happens for a heart attack victim except done in an almost prophylactic kind of way as most patients weren’t aware of the decreased blood flow prior to asking for the ultrasound diagnostics to be done.
Wahl Diet/Overcoming MS Diet/SWANK Diet … Dietary options run rampant with Multiple Sclerosis as they do with many conditions. Those are some of the top three that are currently being touted as good options though there are many more. These three books were all written by doctors, first Dr. Swank who wrote the last one many years ago after doing a lot of research, and the first two are written by doctors who resorted to these treatments after they themselves were diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and found it was what helped them the most. Terry Wahl also has a great TED Talk video that gives a great overview on her diet and how much it has done for her.
Another interesting thing about the Multiple Sclerosis diets is how dramatically different they are…for example the Swank Diet has extremely low fat and no beef…whereas the Wahls Diet does include meat, but only the grassfed high quality kind. I have met people that swear by both and I truly think it comes down to getting our allergies and nutrient levels tested to find what will truly work for us as individuals.
Low Dose Naltrexone otherwise known as LDN is another interesting treatment option that has come about. Derived from red wine it is a treatment usually used to treat heroin addicts…and if you study work by Gabor Mate the questions that come into my mind are around the reasons that people do turn to drugs…their body’s learning not to produce the happy hormones and having to find ways to get it themselves. What if MS is like that too?
What is multiple sclerosis? How do you get Multiple Sclerosis? It is something that has a lot of people confused, it is something that has a lot of different treatment options. Multiple sclerosis is considered to be an autoimmune condition but if some of the treatments above work, then that means that there are other possible causes and definitions probably too…right?
I know that getting a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis is a challenge sometimes for some people…and that once you get it then it is near impossible to get rid of. Usually getting diagnosed includes a couple MRI’s, a spinal tap, and a basic neurological exam similar to that someone gets when they have a stroke. Being diagnosed with both I know that they are treated in similar yet different ways.
One thing I have wondered is if burnout, emotional burnout and stress could possibly lead to being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis…maybe we’ll find out if this Stress Vaccine comes about…what do you think? Is our immune system doing this on it’s own? Because we aren’t taking care of it right? Because we aren’t eating right? Thinking right? Feeling Accepted?