Multiple sclerosis is an inflammatory demyelinating disease on CNS (brain and spinal cord) that is disseminated in time and space. Multiple sclerosis cannot be diagnosed until patient has suffered attacks involving different neuroanatomical site at different times.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. MS can cause a variety of symptoms, including changes in sensation, visual problems, weakness, depression, and difficulties with coordination and speech. Although many patients lead full and rewarding lives, MS can cause impaired mobility and disability in the more severe cases.
Multiple sclerosis attacks neurons, the cells of the brain and spinal cord that carry information, create thought and perception, and allow the brain to control the body. Surrounding and protecting these neurons is a layer of fat, called myelin, which helps neurons carry electrical signals. MS causes gradual destruction of myelin (demyelination) in patches throughout the brain and/or spinal cord. Myelin not only protects nerve fibers, but makes their job possible. When myelin or the nerve fiber is destroyed or damaged, the ability of the nerves to conduct electrical impulses to and from the brain is disrupted, and this produces the various symptoms of MS.
The illness takes the form of repeated exacerbations (aggravation leading to an attack). For no known reason, the exacerbation usually stops of its own accord, and period of remission follows when the disease is not active.
The name multiple sclerosis refers to the multiple scars (or scleroses) on the myelin sheaths. MS results from attacks by an individual’s immune system on his or her own nervous system, and it is therefore categorized as an autoimmune disease.
Multiple sclerosis can take several different forms, with new symptoms occurring in discrete attacks or slowly accruing over time. Between attacks symptoms may resolve completely, but permanent neurologic problems often persist. Although much is known about how MS causes damage, the exact cause of MS remains unknown. MS primarily affects adults, with an age of onset typically between 20 and 40 years, and is more common in women than in men.
People with MS can expect one of four clinical courses of disease, each of which might be mild, moderate, or severe.
– Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis
Characteristics: People with this type of MS experience clearly defined flare-ups or relapses. These are episodes of acute worsening of neurologic function. They are followed by partial or complete recovery periods (remissions) free of disease progression.
Frequency: Most common form of MS at time of initial diagnosis. Approximately 85%.
– Primary-Progressive Multiple Sclerosis
Characteristics: People with this type of MS experience a slow but nearly continuous worsening of their disease from the onset, with no distinct relapses or remissions. However, there are variations in rates of progression over time, occasional plateaus, and temporary minor improvements.
Frequency: Relatively rare. Approximately 10%.
– Secondary-Progressive Multiple Sclerosis
Characteristics: People with this type of MS experience an initial period of relapsing-remitting disease, followed by a steadily worsening disease course with or without occasional flare-ups, minor recoveries (remissions), or plateaus.
Frequency: 50% of people with relapsing-remitting MS developed this form of the disease within 10 years of their initial diagnosis, before introduction of the “disease-modifying” drugs. Long-term data are not yet available to demonstrate if this is significantly delayed by treatment.
– Progressive-Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis
Characteristics: People with this type of MS experience a steadily worsening disease from the onset but also have clear acute relapses (attacks or exacerbations), with or without recovery. In contrast to relapsing-remitting MS, the periods between relapses are characterized by continuing disease progression.
Frequency: Relatively rare. Approximately 5%.
An acute multiple sclerosis plaque develops when primed leucocytes cross the blood brain barrier into the brain, and activates macrophages. Inflammation is initiated and myelin is stripped off near nerve axoms. These nerves lose the ability to conduct impulses.
It can also occur as an autoimmune disorder.
Symptoms of multiple sclerosis
The most common symptoms of Multiple sclerosis MS include:
- Neck flexion induces electric shock like sensation running down the back.
- Pain in one eye, particularly on eye movements
- Dimness of vision, Diplopia
- Sensation of cold water running down the back
- Stiffness of back
- Flexor spasms, cramps
- Ataxia of limbs, unsteady gait
- Erectile dysfunction
- Slurred speech
- Poor memory
- Personality changes
- Absent abdominal reflexes
- Urinary frequency and retention
- Weakness or numbness of face
Individuals with multiple sclerosis may experience a wide variety of symptoms. The initial attacks are often transient, mild (or asymptomatic), and self-limited. They often do not prompt a health care visit and sometimes are only identified in retrospect once the diagnosis has been made based on further attacks. The most common initial symptoms reported are: changes in sensation in the arms, legs or face (33%), complete or partial vision loss (optic neuritis) (16%), weakness (13%), double vision (7%), unsteadiness when walking (5%), and balance problems (3%). Fifteen percent of individuals have multiple symptoms when they first seek medical attention. Most people find their initial MS symptoms occur over a period of hours to weeks. For some people the initial MS attack is preceded by infection, trauma or strenuous physical effort.
Other symptoms and physical findings common in MS are flickering eye movements (nystagmus), speech difficulties, tremor, clumsiness of the hands, abnormal muscle spasms, bladder and bowel difficulties, and sexual dysfunction. Cognitive impairments are also common, such as difficulty performing multiple tasks at once, difficulty following detailed instructions, loss of short term memory, emotional instability, and fatigue. Emotional symptoms are common and can be the normal response to having a debilitating disease or the result of damage to the nerves that generate and control emotions. The most common condition, clinical depression, is a product of both causes. Feelings such as anger, anxiety, frustration, and hopelessness are also common, and suicide is a very real threat.
Cause of Multiple sclerosis symptoms
There is a short circuit in our nerves causing nerves signals being blocked or delaying from reaching their destination. In other words signals from the brain and spinal cord do not communicate with each or communication is delayed. In severe cases of Multiple Sclerosis these signals are totally blocked due to years of damages to the nerves.
A misdiagnosis of psychiatric problem is common. Because early symptoms may be mild, years may elapse between onset of first signs and the diagnosis, which typically requires evidence of multiple neurologic attacks and characterized remissions and exacerbations.
Magnetic resonance imaging may detect multiple sclerosis lesions, however, diagnosis still remains difficult. Periodic testing and close observation of the patient are necessary, perhaps for years, depending on the course of the disease.
Abnormal EEG findings occur in one third of patients. Lumber puncture shows elevated gamma globulin fraction of immunoglobin G but normal total cerebrospinal fluid protein levels. Elevated CSF gamma globulin is significant only when serum gamma globulin levels are normal because it reflects hyperactivity of the immune system due to chronic myelination.
Oligoconal bands of immunoglobulin bands if immunoglobulin can be detected when gamma globulin in CSF is examined by electrophoresis, and these bands are present in most patients, even when the percentage of gamma globulin in CSF is normal. In addition, the white blood cell count in CSF may rise.
- To demonstrate involvement of disseminated anatomical sites – MRI most sensitively reveals asymptomatic lesions.
- To demonstrate inflammatory demyelination – CSF – presence of ologoconal bands in CSF but not serum indicates inflammation confined to the CSF.
- To exclude other conditions mimicking multiple sclerosis – often structural lesions must be excluded by MRI.
Treatment for symptoms of multiple sclerosis symptoms
There is as yet no cure for MS in conventional medicine. Many patients do well with no therapy at all, especially since many medications have serious side effects and some carry significant risks. However, three forms of beta interferon (Avonex, Betaseron, and Rebif) have now been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treatment of relapsing-remitting MS. Beta interferon has been shown to reduce the number of exacerbations and may slow the progression of physical disability. When attacks do occur, they tend to be shorter and less severe. The FDA also has approved a synthetic form of myelin basic protein, called copolymer I (Copaxone), for the treatment of relapsing-remitting MS. Copolymer I has few side effects, and studies indicate that the agent can reduce the relapse rate by almost one third. An immunosuppressant treatment, Novantrone (mitoxantrone ), is approved by the FDA for the treatment of advanced or chronic MS.
While steroids do not affect the course of MS over time, they can reduce the duration and severity of attacks in some patients. Spasticity, which can occur either as a sustained stiffness caused by increased muscle tone or as spasms that come and go, is usually treated with muscle relaxants and tranquilizers such as baclofen, tizanidine, diazepam, clonazepam, and dantrolene.
Physical therapy and exercise can help preserve remaining function, and patients may find that various aids — such as foot braces, canes, and walkers — can help them remain independent and mobile. Avoiding excessive activity and avoiding heat are probably the most important measures patients can take to counter physiological fatigue. If psychological symptoms of fatigue such as depression or apathy are evident, antidepressant medications may help.
Homeopathy treatment for symptoms of multiple sclerosis
Homeopathy is one of the most popular holistic systems of medicine. The selection of remedy is based upon the theory of individualization and symptoms similarity by using holistic approach. This is the only way through which a state of complete health can be regained by removing all the sign and symptoms from which the patient is suffering. The aim of homeopathy is not only to treat symptoms of multiple sclerosis but to address its underlying cause and individual susceptibility. As far as therapeutic medication is concerned, several well-proved medicines are available for symptoms of multiple sclerosis treatment that can be selected on the basis of cause, sensations, modalities and extension of complaints. For individualized remedy selection and treatment, the patient should consult a qualified homeopathic doctor in person.
Following homeopathic medicines cover symptoms of various types and stages of Multiple Sclerosis:
Causticum, Gelsemium, Natrum-mur, Phosphorus, Alumina, Arg-n, Atropine, Aur, Con, Crot-h, Lath, Lyco, Physo, Pic-Acid, Plumbum, Stry, arg-m, aur-m, bar-c, bar-m, bell, calc, cann-ind, carb-s, des-ac, halo, irid, man., merc, nux-vom, ox-ac, psil, sil, sulph, tarent, thal, thuj, syph, wild, xan, zinc.
– Begins in lower limb – con.
– Double vision, with – gels
– Grief from – caust, con, phos, nat-m
– Influenza shots after – gels
– Softening of spinal cord, with – arg-n, atro, aur, crot-h, lah, phos, phys, plb, stry, chel, ox-ac, tarent, thuja, sulph, bar-c, bell, gels, lyc, nux-v, sil, calc.
– Vertigo, with – conium.
Homeopathic medicines are selected on the basis of symptoms, cause, family history and constitution of the person affected. Considering all these factors any of the above (or some other) homeopathic medicine may be indicated and helpful in a case of Multiple Sclerosis.