What is multiple sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a progressive, neurological disease affecting the central nervous system. It is a condition in which the immune system attacks the protective covering of the nerves (myelin), slowly eating it away. The nerve cells in the brain communicate with the rest of the body, controlling movement, sensation, speech and more. Damage to the myelin prevent the brain from being able to communicate with the rest of the body. Eventually, the nerves may begin to deteriorate, as well.
While it is unknown exactly what causes MS, there are several factors that scientists believe contribute to the condition.
MS is an immune-mediated disease. That means that the immune system malfunctions and begins to attack the central nervous system (CNS), affecting the myelin sheath. The cause of this attack is still unknown.
If a close relative has MS, your chances of developing it are only slightly higher. For example, if one parent has MS, their children have a 2-5% chance of getting the disease. It is believed that a genetic susceptibility causes a reaction to specific environmental agents, causing an autoimmune response when these agents are encountered.
Researchers have found increased numbers of MS cases in countries located farthest from the equator. It is believed that this is due to a vitamin D deficiency in countries where people spend less time in the sun. When the skin in exposed to sunlight, the body produces more vitamin D, which is beneficial to the immune system.
It is possible that viruses and bacteria may cause or contribute to MS. Viruses cause inflammation and breakdown the myelin—the protective sheaths that cover the nerve fibers of the central nervous system. Currently, measles, herpes virus-6 and Epstein-Barr are being investigated to determine if they’re involved in the development of MS.
Ms can cause a wide range of symptoms usually beginning between 20 and 40 years of age. Some symptoms may come and go while others will remain.
- Clumsiness or lack of coordination
- Loss of balance
- Weakness in limbs
- Blurred vision
- Loss of mental clarity
- Sensations such as ‘pins and needles’, itching, burning or stabbing pains
- Bladder problems (trouble emptying the bladder, frequent urination, nighttime urination)
- Sexual dysfunction
- Muscle spasms
- Trouble speaking or slurred speech
There is currently no cure for MS. Traditionally, the disease will be managed with the disease-modifying drugs that work by suppressing the immune system, preventing it from attacking the myelin. As with any immune-suppressing drug, there is a great risk for side effects which include headache, back pain, anemia, cough, diarrhea, abnormal liver function, nausea and hair loss. One of these drugs, Aubagio, carries a “black box” warning, which is the FDA’s most serious warning, due to the possible birth defects and liver problems associated with it.
At the Magaziner Center for Wellness we use a functional medicine approach to treat MS naturally. Whereas conventional healthcare focuses on the use of medication or other methods that suppress symptoms or block the natural function of the body, we use natural therapies that work in conjunction with the body. Our treatments work by facilitating, enabling and assisting normal physiologic reactions. In other words, rather than fighting the body and its natural function, we support it, giving it the tools it needs to heal itself.
Our modalities may include cellular detoxification, nutrient and immune balancing, reducing blockages of energy flow, reducing oxidative stress, improving mitochondrial function and optimizing an anti-inflammatory lifestyle and diet.
Each patient is treated individually based on signs and symptoms, a physical exam, detailed laboratory findings and response to prior treatments.