Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system). In multiple sclerosis, the body's own immune system attacks nerve cells and the myelin sheath, the protective covering that surrounds nerve cells. These damaged areas form scar tissue, called sclerosis, which interferes with nerve signaling in affected areas of the brain and spinal cord. This may result in a variety of symptoms that may indicate that multiple sclerosis therapy is required, including blurred vision, loss of balance, tremors, numbness, painful lesions (scar tissue), extreme fatigue, and more. Symptoms may sometimes flare up, disappear, or worsen and result in complete disability.
There is as yet no cure for multiple sclerosis. However, multiple sclerosis therapy can help slow the progression of the disease and control symptoms as well as treat flare-ups. In combination, these multiple sclerosis treatments can help people living with the disease to improve their quality of life and functioning.
Medications used in multiple sclerosis therapy include corticosteroids to reduce inflammation, disease-modifying drugs such as interferon, muscle relaxants, drugs that treat bladder or bowel control problems, and antidepressants. Complementary multiple sclerosis therapy that may be provided includes physical therapy to help improve or maintain physical function, exercise programs, nutritional support, stress management strategies, and lifestyle changes to help patients improve overall health and cope with symptoms and limitations of the disease.
Brigham and Women's Hospital provides comprehensive care for patients seeking multiple sclerosis therapy services.
Learn more about the Multiple Sclerosis Center at Brigham and Women's Hospital.