Treatments and drugs
There is no cure for multiple sclerosis. Treatment typically focuses on combating the autoimmune response and managing the symptoms. Some people have such mild symptoms that no treatment is necessary.
Drugs that are commonly used for multiple sclerosis include:
Corticosteroids. The most common treatment for multiple sclerosis.
Interferons. These types of drugs — such as Betaseron, Avonex and Rebif — appear to slow the rate at which multiple sclerosis symptoms. But interferons can cause serious liver damage.
Glatiramer (Copaxone). Doctors believe that glatiramer works by blocking your immune system's attack on myelin. This drug can cause serious side effects, so it's typically reserved for people who see no results from other types of treatments.
A physical or occupational therapist can teach you stretching and strengthening exercises, and show you how to use devices that can make it easier to perform daily tasks.
Plasma exchange (plasmapheresis) looks a little like dialysis as it mechanically separates your blood cells from your plasma, the liquid part of your blood. Plasma exchange is sometimes used to help combat severe symptoms of multiple sclerosis relapses, especially in people who are not responding to intravenous steroids.
Lifestyle and home remedies
These steps may help relieve some symptoms of multiple sclerosis:
Get enough rest. Fatigue is a common symptom of multiple sclerosis, and getting your rest may make you feel less tired.
Exercise. Regular aerobic exercise may offer some benefits if you have mild to moderate MS. Benefits include improved strength, muscle tone, balance and coordination, and help with depression. Swimming is a good option for people with MS who are bothered by heat.
Be careful with heat. Extreme heat may cause extreme muscle weakness. Although some people with multiple sclerosis aren't bothered by heat and may enjoy warm baths and showers, be very careful before exposing yourself to extreme heat until you know how you'll react. Don't get into a hot tub or sauna unless there's someone nearby who can pull you out if necessary. If you do experience heat-related worsening of signs or symptoms, cooling down for a few hours usually will return you to your normal state.
Cool down. Many people with multiple sclerosis experience heat-related worsening of MS symptoms. If you live in a hot and humid area, consider having air conditioning in your home. Tepid or cool baths also may provide some relief.
Eat a well-balanced diet. Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet can help keep your immune system strong.