Story by: Sara Thompson on August 25, 2021
Integrative medicine for multiple sclerosis (MS) may offer relief when used with disease modifying drugs (DMD). Sometimes known as integrative health, or complementary and/or alternative medicine, integrative medicine includes techniques that have not been traditionally part of conventional Western medicine. In many cases, these therapies are being successfully combined with conventional medicine.
The short answer is yes, according to Melissa Schellenberger, APRN, nurse practitioner with Norton Neuroscience Institute Hussung Family Multiple Sclerosis Center.
While there is no cure for MS, “There is significant research to back up the benefits of integrative medicine for MS patients,” she said.
The Norton Neuroscience Institute Resource Center offers support for patients living with MS including classes and programs to help with MS symptoms, disability counseling and a designated nurse navigator to assist with your journey.
As a follower of Allen Bowling, M.D., Ph.D., a pioneer in integrative medicine for MS, Melissa guides patients through a variety of treatments, techniques and practices to help change their experience with MS.
According to Melissa, one of the most important things you can do for your overall health — and perhaps one of the easiest — is get enough sleep.
“Good sleep is so important to so many aspects of our health,” she said. “It affects everything from mood and pain to weight gain and appetite.”
Melissa also advocates for the benefits of exercise and physical therapy.
“I often refer people to our physical therapy team,” she said. “There are really wonderful benefits from those exercises.”
Regular exercise in whatever form you like is her top recommendation. Another focus for Melissa is emotional well-being and mental health.
“MS and mental health issues go hand in hand,” she said. “We see a lot of depression and anxiety in MS patients. It is important to have a mental health plan in place.”
There are many things Melissa might try with a patient, including a variety of the following:
Melissa cautions patients against using many supplements.
“There are maybe 200 supplements that are possibly harmful for MS patients. These substances can interfere with the immune system,” she said.
The practice of mindfulness has been found to have benefits for those living with Multiple Sclerosis. View video to learn more about the practice and tips on how to incorporate into your day.
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