Treating Multiple Sclerosis: Combining Medication and Therapy
Patients with Multiple Sclerosis are now able to fight the disease with treatment regimens that include a combination of therapy and medication. Due to the nature of MS, the symptoms, as well as the treatment, can vary significantly from patient to patient. Some patients experience such mild symptoms that no treatment is required.
3 Components of Treatment
Although there is no cure, success has been achieved by breaking the disease down into 3 parts. This allows for a more specific and targeted treatment plan. It also provides a team environment through which experts can work together to provide the most effective care possible.
Focusing on Attacks
Attacks of MS (also referred to as flare-ups or relapses) can be a worsening of previously experienced symptoms or an introduction of new symptoms. The focus of this phase of treatment is to lessen both the severity and duration of the attack. Medication is the preferred treatment for flare-ups. Corticosteroids, both oral and intravenous, are used to address nerve issues. If steroids are not effective, plasma exchange, a process that separates plasma from the blood combines it with albumin and returns it to the blood stream, is used.
Slowing the Progression
The early stages of MS are the most effective when it comes to slowing the progression of the disease. Advances in this area has been slower than in the other areas of treatment. In cases of relapsing-remitting MS, the most common type, medications such as Avonex and Rebif have not only reduced relapses but have been effective in slowing the diseases progress.
Treating the Symptoms
Physical therapy is a key component of dealing with symptoms during a relapse. It will assist patients with the day to day struggles a relapse can bring. Therapists can help set up exercise routines based on individual patient needs. The importance of these treatments cannot be overlooked. Retaining physical strength, and learning the proper way to deal with diminished strength, will reduce the risk of falling or other accidents during this important time.
These divide and conquer approaches to treating Multiple Sclerosis have proven to be effective. As new drugs and techniques emerge, the outlook for overall patient health is encouraging.