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Overview of Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Treating Muscular Sclerosis

Complementary and alternative therapies are treatments that are used with or instead of conventional therapies. Conventional therapies are treatments that are provided by doctors and hospitals. For example, medications prescribed by a doctor are a form of conventional therapy and a vitamin supplement that can be bought over the counter at a local pharmacy is a complementary and alternative therapy. Many people with Multiple Sclerosis use complementary and alternative therapies because of the side effects from some conventional therapies (such as various medications) or because there may not be treatments available for certain types of Multiple Sclerosis. For example, no medication is available to treat Primary-Progressive Multiple Sclerosis.

Various complementary and alternative therapies are available to help treat Multiple Sclerosis; however, the success of these treatments is not well documented. Before trying any of these complementary and alternative therapies please talk to your doctor. Your doctor will help you decide if these changes are right for you and will make sure they do not interfere with other treatment options or medications you are taking.

Meditation therapy has been reported as beneficial. Magnet therapy has also been used for bladder control and muscle spasms. Some patients have reported that marijuana, acupuncture, massage, and chiropractic medicine helped to managed pain and muscle spasms. Please be aware that marijuana is not legal to use or possess in all states.

Researchers have found various vitamins and herbs to be of some possible benefit for treating the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. St. John’s wart may be effective; however, it cannot be taken with any prescription medications. Multivitamins, calcium, and Vitamin D have been recommended by some researchers. Phenylalanine used with transcutaneous nerve stimulation has shown some benefit with treating pain, muscle spasms, bladder problems, and depression.  Researchers have found that cranberry supplements may be beneficial in preventing urinary tract infections. Valerian may help with insomnia.

There is very little evidence of the following vitamins and herbs being beneficial: linoleic acid, fish oil, primrose oil, adenosine monophosphate, biotin, glycine, proteolytic enzymes, selenium, and vitamins B1, B12, C, and E, and Ginkgo. Kava may also cause liver toxicity and should be avoided.

There are various treatments that researchers have recommended that people with Multiple Sclerosis should avoid. Those treatments are bee stings and bee venom injections.

Additional resources that provide an overview of the different complementary and alternative therapies for treating Multiple Sclerosis

Complementary Medicine: Multiple Sclerosis (University of Maryland Medical Center)

Complementary & Alternative Medicine (National Multiple Sclerosis Society)

Thinking about Complementary and Alternative Medicine? (Multiple Sclerosis Association of America)

Additional resources that provide more information on acupuncture for treating Multiple Sclerosis

Acupuncture (National Multiple Sclerosis Society)

Acupuncture (University of Maryland Medical Center)

Additional resources that provide more information on massage and chiropractic therapy for treating Multiple Sclerosis

Massage and Bodywork Therapy (National Multiple Sclerosis Society)

Alternative Therapies and Multiple Sclerosis (Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals)

Chiropractic Therapy (National Multiple Sclerosis Society)

Additional resources that provide more information on vitamins, herbal supplements, and marijuana for treating Multiple Sclerosis

Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs in MS (National Multiple Sclerosis Society)  This is a PDF that you will need to download

Special diets and vitamin, mineral, and herbal supplements for people with multiple sclerosis (emedicine)

Eating Well for Healthy Living – Examining the Role of Supplements (Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada)

Marijuana (Cannabis) (Multiple Sclerosis Society)