Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease that requires ongoing treatment, mostly heavy medications with unpleasant side effects, to say the least. However, there are several ways to mange your symptoms without or in addition to medication, including lifestyle changes and simple home remedies. While a cure for MS remains unknown, going the natural route to maintain a normal life is commonly explored by many affected with this condition. Some treatments are still in the trial-and-error phase, and conventional medicines can be painful to use (and pay for) without being entirely effective, making it all the more appealing to attempt healthy, natural treatments. One of the reasons it is so difficult to treat is because symptoms are inconsistent from one person to the next.
Symptoms of MS may disappear and reappear, stick around perpetually, and/or occur for a time and never return. This explains the aggressive and highly variable treatment of the disease, as research continues in order to pinpoint more optimal methods. As MS causes different reactions in different individuals, finding the right remedies for your specific symptoms is key. Most every person, affected by multiple sclerosis or not, can benefit from a nutritious diet and regular activity. A few other methods to try at home may help reduce your pain, potential of relapse, and other symptoms of MS.
How to Treat MS at Home
Many people with MS experience fatigue, and therefore, getting a healthy amount of sleep (about 8 hours per night) is likely to help reduce your feelings of exhaustion. In most cases, fatigue is usually present regardless of how much activity you get, and a solid night of rest or afternoon power-nap may boost your energy levels.
Walk It Off
Walking, jogging, hiking, biking, swimming, yoga, weight training, or any other means of physical activity is highly recommended for anyone, but especially those who suffer from multiple sclerosis. Staying active can provide a variety of benefits for those with MS. It may lessen fatigue, as your energy increases with exercise, in addition to strengthening your muscles to combat weakness and lack of coordination.
Improve your balance, muscle memory, and cognitive function and mental well-being by getting your blood flowing, increasing endorphins, and controlling your heart rate. Engaging and working the muscular system is essential for people with MS. Regular exercise can also improve bladder and bowel control, which are common symptoms of the disease. Keep it light, though, as you may become easily exhausted and worsen your symptoms.
Increase Omega-3 Fatty Acids
For their exceptional anti-inflammatory properties and positive effects on the nervous system, omega-3 fatty acids work wonders. A great source of omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, fish oil supplements help protect the brain, promoting healthy, normal communication between the brain and other parts of the body. Known to enhance memory, cognition, and overall brain health, these naturally-occurring substances should be taken daily, as recommended by your doctor or holistic practitioner. Omega-3 fats can also be found in flax, hemp seeds, and walnuts if you’re opposed to the fishy approach.
Eat More Produce
With a confused immune system and impaired nervous system, your whole body can surely out of whack in any regard. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables provides vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to set your immune system straight, or at least encourage healthy function. On top of natural supplements, getting vitamin C, antioxidants, fiber, and many other essentials direct from the source is one of many reasons to increase your intake of plant-based foods.
Eat Fewer Grains, Dairy, and Meats
Some may find it effective to reduce or eliminate the amount of grains in their diet, as well as animal sources of protein. According to Terry Wahls, MD, a doctor living with MS, a diet free of grain, dairy, and processed foods, among other tools, has helped her stay active and build her immune system. The disease had her in an electric wheelchair prior to the shift in diet, but she is now able to walk, ride horses, and participate in other activities, so it may be worth a shot.
Natural doctor Andrew Weil, MD also recommends this method, suggesting a decrease in protein as much as ten percent of daily caloric intake. He also suggests eating minimal amounts of animal-based proteins, and substituting meat and dairy with plant proteins such as nuts, soy and seitan, and getting other sources of calcium, like almond milk.
The active culture usually found in yogurt, acidophilus, is highly recommended as a supplement for people with multiple sclerosis. Requiring constant refrigeration, this culture helps regulate digestion and reduce constipation for those who have such symptoms. Psyllium, ginger, and other natural remedies can also help keep you moving.
Lower Your Stress
Using any technique you choose to remedy stress can help prevent your symptoms from worsening or returning. Meditating, deep breathing, aromatherapy, warm baths, and long nature walks are dependable go-tos for taking it easy. Find a method that works for you, and practice daily to keep symptoms at bay.
Avoid the Heat
A common trigger for many people with MS is an increase in body temperature, which tends to exacerbate symptoms. Stay hydrated and keep a beverage with ice in it on your person throughout the day, and splash a bit of cold water on your wrists, neck, and elbow creases to bring your body temperature down. Of course, you’ll also want to stay in air conditioning as much as possible during warmer weather.
1. Mayo Clinic. Multiple Sclerosis: Lifestyle and Home Remedies.
2. 14 February 2002. Andrew Weil, MD. Are There Natural Remedies for Multiple Sclerosis?
3. Elana’s Pantry. Natural Treatments for Multiple Sclerosis.