While some alternative treatments may help with pain and slow MS progression, the jury is still out on others.
Acupuncture is a popular pain-relief strategy among people with multiple sclerosis.
Although most alternative and complementary therapies for MS haven't been thoroughly studied and approved by conventional medical doctors, growing numbers of people with MS consider them effective at getting MS symptoms under control.
Pushpa Narayanaswami, MD, an assistant professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and a staff physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston, says people with MS often use complementary and alternative medicine to help reduce relapses or ease symptoms, usually in addition to — rather than in place of — conventional therapies.
Exploring Alternative Medicine for MS
Because so many people use alternative approaches for treating MS, the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) had a committee look at relevant research and develop complementary and alternative medicine guidelines, which were published in March 2014 in its journal Neurology.
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“We viewed a lot of treatments but did not find evidence for most therapies — not enough to say whether it is useful or not,” says Dr. Narayanaswami, who is also a spokesperson for the project. The researchers found little evidence on the safety of the different alternatives, she adds.
Alternative Treatments That May Work
MS symptoms can include fatigue, muscle spasms and stiffness, pain, weakness, and bladder problems. According to the AAN guidelines and the latest research, here are some alternative treatments that could help despite there not being an abundance of evidence.
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