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Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week

This quarter brings both MS Awareness week, running from 23rd – 29th April, and World MS Day on 30th May.

MS – the basics

  • A neurological condition that affects the nerves in the brain and spinal cord.
  • The word ‘sclerosis’ means scarring or hardening of small patches of tissue. ‘Multiple’ refers to the fact that it happens at more than one place in the brain and/or spinal cord.
  • It is not a terminal condition but it is one that a patient will live with for the rest of their life.
  • It is the most common condition of the Central Nervous System affecting young adults; over 100,000 people have MS in the UK.
  • It is nearly three times more common in women than men, and the majority of people are diagnosed in their 20s and 30s.

Symptoms

The symptoms people experience vary and can differ from day-to-day. Around the time of diagnosis common symptoms include fatigue, stumbling more often, unusual feelings in the skin such as pins and needles or numbness, slowed thinking and problems with eyesight.

Causes

Although the causes are not well understood, MS is a very active area of research, and it is thought that a number of different factors may be involved. It is thought to, at least in part, be an autoimmune condition which attacks a protein called myelin (covers and insulates the nerves). This results in patches of nerve damage meaning messages don’t get passed along the nerves efficiently, or sometimes at all.

How can Good Health Centre help?

Managing MS usually involves several treatment approaches, and each person will respond to treatment differently.

At Good Health Centre we have a number of different treatments that may be able to help:

Many patients with MS will experience pain and stiffness in different parts of the body and on different occasions. Sometimes the patient will experience pain and discomfort as a result of adopting a new posture; for example, if there is weakness in the lower part of the body, a patient may develop a limp. This in turn can give rise to tight muscles and restricted joints. With his hands, the osteopath will be able to detect these and apply appropriate manipulation to alleviate the pain.

In addition, some patients attend the clinic for a more gentle approach such as cranial osteopathy. These techniques are subtle but are as effective as others.

Acupuncture may help with pain and anxiety that is caused by MS. It can trigger the body’s own healing response, and help restore natural balance.

An American survey found that out of 1000 people with MS, half said they found fatigue, depression, spasticity and sleep problems had improved after acupuncture.

Massage may help with pain relief and musculoskeletal symptoms of MS. It is a relaxing treatment, and may also help with general well-being which we feel is extremely important.

One study found that massage helped lower anxiety levels and decreased depressed mood. Another study in 2014 found that a person’s competency to cope with challenging situations such as MS increased after four weeks of receiving a weekly one hour massage session; to maintain this effect, the treatment needs to be continuous.

A survey investigating the use of complementary therapies by people with MS highlighted reflexology as one of the most popular treatments.

There have been studies that have shown significant improvements in the mean scores of pins and needles, bladder symptoms, muscle strength and spasticity.

Other studies have shown benefits in pain, fatigue, depression and spasms.

If you would like to be seen by one of our practitioners or if you have any further questions, then please get in touch with us. You can call us on 0113 237 1173 or email [email protected], and we will get back to you promptly.

References:

www.mstrust.org.uk

 

Arthritis Action
The Institute of Osteopathy
British Institute of Osteopathy
General Osteopathic Council
British Acupuncture Council
Accredited Voluntary Register