What are some natural treatments for MS that can reverse MS symptoms?
The first step in attempting to alleviate symptoms is to make sure you are receiving the appropriate treatment regimen. There are a variety of different drug therapies available, and many are very effective at MS prevention and treatment. Betaseron is a drug that is commonly used to treat MS, but for some patients it just doesn’t seem to do anything. Recent research (mouse studies) by a team at Stanford University found that MS appears to be triggered in 2 different ways. One of those triggers responds to Betaseron, and one does not respond to Betaseron. There is apparently a blood test that can determine if an MS patient will, or will not respond to Betaseron. You can read about the study in the March 28, 2010 issue of Nature Medicine.
Ask your neurologist if the test is available to determine if you will benefit from Betaseron. Betaseron has helped many patients, but you need to make sure it is the right drug for you. Many other MS patients have also reported great results with a medication called Copaxone. This site makes no medication recommendations- always follow your doctor’s advice. I have not encountered any literature that claims an adverse drug reaction between vitamin D3 and any MS medication. It doesn’t make sense that there would be any adverse effect, as vitamin D is manufactured by your own body. It is inadequate vitamin D that contributes to the development of MS.
1). Stem cell therapy.
Stem cell therapy shows great promise, but is still in the developmental stage. In a study published in 2009 (footnote 1) 21 patients with RRMS were given stem cell therapy, then followed for 3 years. 17 of 21 patients improved at least one point on the Kurtzke Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS). The EDSS is the standard scale used by clinicians to evaluate MS disability, and the results of this study showed improvement in neurological function as a result of the stem cell therapy. None of the study subjects exhibited neurological deterioration on the EDSS testing. On the negative side, 5 of the patients did have one remission, and there were a number of adverse side effects reported form the drugs necessary to suppress the immune system s that the stem cell therapy can work.
2). Scalp acupuncture.
If I did not see the results for myself, and personally know one of the individuals who first reported this to me, I would not have believed it. One of my friends from law school developed RRMS, and had significant gait, strength and coordination problems as well as some cognitive issues. He called me a few months ago to report that after 4 treatments of scalp acupuncture with Oriental medicine Doctor Jason Hao in Albuquerque, N.M. ALL OF HIS SYMPTOMS WERE GONE.
I immediately went to see Dr. Hao, and met other RRMS patients who also experienced dramatic improvement in their symptoms. This is not “garden variety” acupuncture, it is scalp acupuncture, and Dr. Hao advised me that there are only a limited number of practitioners in the U.S. who are properly trained to do scalp acupuncture. This treatment is relatively new. “Dr. Hao advised that acupuncture has been around for 3000 years, but scalp acupuncture only 30 years”.
Dr. Hao has been trying to obtain cooperation from the local University to conduct research and brain scans t try to determine the mechanism that makes this treatment so effective, and hopefully that will come to pass. In the meantime, no one knows how or why scalp acupuncture reverses RRMS symptoms, but the improvements I saw were dramatic. Dr. Jason Hao is joined b his wife Dr. Linda Hao, and both practice, and teach, scalp acupuncture. Their website is www.scalpacumaster.com, and whey o go to the site, be sure to look at the “publications” section.
The downside is that scalp acupuncture doesn’t seem to have such dramatic results in patients with PPMS. I had 4 treatments it Dr. Hao, and did have some improvement, but nothing compared to what I saw in the RRMS patients. I saw a woman with RRMS who required crutches to walk for the last 7 years literally walk out the door carrying her crutches. Dr. Hao recommends 10 weekly treatments to obtain the maximum effect, and the maintenance visits as required,
Although exercise is difficult for MS patients, it is absolutely critical to have an hour of daily exercise in order to maintain the muscles that are available. In addition to upper and lower body resistance exercises, everyone who has MS should try to walk a mile (or as far as possible) every day.
I know a woman who has been diagnosed with primary progressive multiple sclerosis for 12 years, and who has been taking Copaxone for 11 Years. A few years ago, she was using a walker to get around. She hired an exercise trainer to start working with her, and she has maintained an aggressive exercise program. Last month she ran a 5K. Patricia is an inspiration, and you can read her story on our blog.
1. Burt, Richard K., M.D., et al.; “Autologous non-myeloablative haemopoietic stem cell transplantation in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis: a phase I/II study”;The Lancet Neurology, Volume 8, Issue 3, Pages 244 - 253, March 2009; doi:10.1016/S1474-4422(09)70017-1