Also known as Disseminated Sclerosis. MS is a chronic progressive and degenerative disease characterized by scattered patches of demylinations and glial tissue overgrowth in the white matter of the brain and spinal chord. These structural changes in nerve tissue lead to decreased nerve conduction. As inflammation diminishes, some remylination may occur, and nerve conduction returns.
Among the clinical symptoms associated with MS are:
- extremity weakness,
- visual disturbances,
- ataxia (involuntary muscle movement coordination),
- tremor (shaking movement, also from involuntary muscle contraction),
- sphincter impairment,
- and impaired position senses.
There isn’t really a definitive diagnostic test, but there are some tests that are used in conjunction for a careful history and physical examinations such Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Visual Al-Evoked Potentials, and Cerebrospinal Fluid Analysis. The diagnosis of MS is based on criteria from Revised International Panel on MS Diagnosis (Revised McDonald Criteria). The patient needs to provide a detailed history to assist in accurate diagonosis of MS. Patients may experience symptoms for many months before actually learning they have Multiple Sclerosis. A Magnetic Resonance Imaging test is used to detect the presence of MS plaques. Visual Al-Evoked Potential tests are useful in confirming diagnosis of MS. Demyelination that occurs with MS results in a slowing of response time. Analysis of cerebrospinal fluid is done to detect increased immune cells indicative of MS.
Contact the health care team if urinary symptoms occur, as well as motor, sensory, visual disturbances or exacerbations. Prompt treatment can be initiated when reported early.
Check for unsteady movement, muscle strength, weakness, coordination, balance, and reluctance to attempt movement. Changes in motor weakness are used to assess progression and remission of MS. Consult a physical therapist and occupational therapist for help with assistive or ambulatory devices. Goal for using adaptive devices is to promote safety, increase mobility, prevent falls, and conserve energy.
Assess for visual impairment such as diplopia (double vision), blurred vision, nystagmus (involuntary eye movement), visual loss, scotomas (blind spots), and impaired color perception. This could be linked to Optic Nerve Demylination. Psychological responses to visual loss is also good to recognize such as anger, depression and withdrawal since self esteem is negatively affected. Rest eyes when fatigued since fatigue can afflict in visual problems.
Urinary Retention/Incontinence is a sign of a Neurogenic bladder. A spastic bladder, characterized by frequency and dribbling, or a flaccid bladder in which an absence of sensation to void results in urine retention may be experienced. A bladder training program may be initiated. Suggest the Crede method and intermittant catheterization for residual urine if signs of retention are present. A residual urine greater than 100 mL predisposes the person to UTI’s. Bladder Crede methods stimulate complete emptying of the bladder. Also recommend vitamin C and cranberry juice (best to make your own!) as these nutrients acidify the urine and reduce bacterial growth.
Sensory changes may result in hypoalgesia (decreased sensitivity to painful stimuli), paresthesia (pins and needles feeling in extremities), and loss of position sense. These can lead to trauma, injury, and skin integrity changes. Be aware of extremes in heat and cold, and prolonged physical pressure, which can lead to injury of the skin.
If alcohol is overused, it will produce multiple effects on the Central Nervous System. Alcohol can be very inflammatory if nerves are already inflamed.
Exercise . Yoga . Tai Chi
Exercise, Yoga and Tai Chi typically is crucial to health and well-being and is advised in easing symptoms of MS
Meditation . Deep Breathing
Meditation and Deep Breathing is definitely recommended! Techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing, deep breathing, and incentive spirometry exercises can be included in regular exercise, yoga and tai chi.
Stressful events make MS symptoms worse. Hypnosis is powerful for stress release! Hypnosis in general is powerful! Learn more info here on how Hypnosis treats MS
Green Juice . Wheatgrass . Chlorella . Spirulina
Greens boost the immune system. Which in fact is great at keeping the body and pH balanced! Therefore, it will ease auto-immune system attacks. Plus, greens nourish nerves!
Fresh Organic Fruits and Vegetables
People with MS should do a short juice fast for five days. Then consume a plant based diet enriched with organic fruits and vegetables!
Flaxseeds in general are basically the omega 3 miracle. They fight off Heart Disease and protect against inflammatory illnesses! They prevent degeneration of the cells, nourish and protect myelin nerve sheaths.
Charlotte’s Web Hemp Extract in Coconut Oil
Evening Primrose Oil
Totally rich in omega 6! The Arthritis Foundation has listed Evening Primrose Oil as an approach to relieving joint pain, stiffness, and inflammation.
Basically, with good exercise, yoga, tai chi, meditation and deep breathing exercises, you have a much better chance at getting excellent sleep and rest!
I hope this has been a big help for those who have MS, or know people with MS. Even those seeking Alternative Therapies and Medical (Pre) Professionals!
Gulanick, Meg, and Judith L. Myers. Nursing Care Plans: Diagnoses, Interventions, and Outcomes. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Mosby, 2011. Print