Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease that affects the central nervous system. Diagnosis is complicated due to the wide range of symptoms that can manifest in each patient. The myriad of physical, emotional, and cognitive symptoms are wide-ranging, and they are unique to every case – creating a challenging experience for both the patient and those that are caring for them.
In this article, we’ll explore how the disease progresses, the symptoms, and functional solutions to help manage the condition.
While some people experience a single episode of MS which is short-term in nature, many transitions to a much more debilitating form of the disease, experiencing steadily decreasing neurological functioning without remission. There is no one path here and every patient will experience a different journey along the way. Patients may experience periods of severe symptoms followed by long periods of low or no symptoms– with no real explanation as to why it’s happening.
It’s for this reason that the main goal should be to slow the disease’s progression and delay the neurological decline for as long as possible. With the right treatment administered proactively by a pain doctor in Toledo, Ohio, it gives patients the best chance possible to live as long a life as possible. A lot of this is also mental because the fear generated by such a disease is immense. Medical practitioners should take a lot of care when it comes to explaining the diagnosis and providing the requisite emotional support to enable better resilience.
There are typically four different stages of disease progression when it comes to MS:
- Clinically Isolated Syndrome (CIS). This refers to the first episode caused by inflammation and damage to the myelin covering nerves in the brain or the spinal cord. In isolation, this doesn’t qualify for the full MS diagnosis, but it does point towards a possible progression if there are episodes in the future.
- Relapsing-Remitting MS (RRMS). This stage is when MS episodes recur in a relatively predictable pattern, oscillating between symptoms and normal functioning. In between periods of relapsing, they experience remission. Typically, things tend to get more and more complex over time – eventually pushing into the next stage.
- Secondary-Progressive MS (SPMS). This third stage occurs when the disease doesn’t disappear in times of remission and instead it steadily worsens. There are still periods of reduced impact but these become further and further apart. Typically, this is reached around 10 years after the initial diagnosis.
- Primary-Progressive MS (PPMS). The final stage refers to a steadily worsening condition where there are no periods of remission. There may be slight plateaus at times, but these are rare and temporary in nature.
It is best if you let the professionals in Comprehensive Centers For Pain Management help you in addressing your issues to determine the stage and the best solution for you.
What Sort of Pain is Experienced?
The pain experienced by MS patients will vary from person to person, but often it is associated with stiffness or spasms in muscles. As a result, it’s not just the pain that is experienced, but other unpleasant sensations such as numbness, pins and needles, or chest tightness. Emotionally, these can also cause distress, fear, and anger in patients – especially because it can be difficult to manage and treat.
The pain itself is caused by the direct nerve damage or by other MS symptoms that are along for the ride. Typically, the nerve pain is known as neuropathic pain – which can range from minor irritations all the way up to intense sharp and burning pains. Musculoskeletal pain on the other hand is caused by ancillary stresses that MS places on the body. These can include imbalance, fatigue, muscle weakness, and the like which leads to problems with posture, joints, and ligaments.
The most important thing in dealing with this pain is trying to identify it as precisely as possible. Medical practitioners are only in a position to help if the patient can help to diagnose the nature of the pain and where it is occurring. This can be difficult, but it is the only route to effective interventional pain management. Helping a patient to describe their pain accurately and then working with them on effective coping strategies should be the number one priority for both parties.
The treatment plan for an MS diagnosis is going to vary widely depending on how the disease is presenting itself. However, there are various functional solutions that are useful in most contexts. When it comes to medical interventions, some of these include:
- Pain-relieving medication to help deal with symptoms and improve quality of life.
- Stool softeners and laxatives for use when required.
- Corticosteroids and plasma exchange for MS attacks of various kinds.
- Beta interferons for active relapses.
- Glatiramer which stops the immune system from attacking the nerves.
Outside of pharmaceutics, there are numerous physical solutions other than pain condition treatment in Perrysburg, Ohio, that can help the patient achieve a better quality of life:
- Physical therapy can assist with maintaining strength and mobility throughout the body.
- Yoga and other mobility-based practices ensure better long-term physical results for the body and the mind.
- Stress relief is key for managing neural activity and creating emotional resilience for dealing with the disease.
- Good nutrition helps to maintain optimal body function for as long as possible.
All of these solutions for pain management in Oregon, Ohio are designed to manage the pain and other symptoms that come along with the disease. Unfortunately, in many cases – this is all you can do to improve the quality of life for someone suffering. For those who are in the later stages of the disease’s progression, it’s these simple habits that can make the biggest difference.
While MS is one of the most challenging diseases to manage, the field has made extraordinary leaps in recent years. It’s well understood now that a holistic treatment plan that tackles both the physical and the emotional impact can radically improve the quality of life for patients and give them a chance to lead somewhat normal lives, at least in the early stages of the disease’s progression.
This is not to say that it’s easy though. It requires emotional resilience of the highest order and a carefully managed program from a thoughtful and empathic medical professional. With these in tack though, MS can be managed long-term – giving patients the possibility of spending valuable time with their families and doing that which brings them purpose.