Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease that affects the central nervous system in which your body's immune system eats away at the protective sheath that covers and protects your nerves in the brain and spinal cord. The result may be multiple areas of scarring (sclerosis). This damage slows down or blocks the communication between your brain and the rest of your body. Ultimately, this may result in deterioration of the nerves themselves, a process that's not reversible.
Symptoms vary widely, depending on the amount of damage and which particular nerves are affected. People with severe cases of multiple sclerosis may lose the ability to walk or speak. Multiple sclerosis can be difficult to diagnose early in the course of the disease, because symptoms often come and go — sometimes disappearing for months. For some people the initial MS attack is preceded by infection, trauma or strenuous physical effort.
The course of MS is unpredictable. In one patient the disease may be completely benign with one or two exacerbations followed by complete remission lasting for many years, and in another, it may take a relentlessly progressive course leading to serious disability within a few months or years from the onset. A benign course may also later evolve into a progressive one in which remission does not occur.
Two general patterns exist, namely: 1) exacerbating-remitting and 2) progressive. The exacerbating-remitting course is characterized by episodes of relatively sudden deterioration followed by remission, with complete or nearly complete alleviation of the symptoms. In the progressive course, although there may be periods of relative stability, the overall course is downhill without any significant remission.
The most common initial symptoms reported are: changes in sensation in the arms, legs or face (33%), complete or partial vision loss (optic neuritis) (16%), weakness (13%), double vision (7%), unsteadiness when walking (5%), and balance problems (3%).
Other symptoms and physical findings common in MS are flickering eye movements (nystagmus), speech difficulties, tremor, clumsiness of the hands, abnormal muscle spasms, bladder and bowel difficulties, and sexual dysfunction. Cognitive impairments are also common, such as difficulty performing multiple tasks at once, difficulty following detailed instructions, loss of short term memory, emotional instability, and fatigue.
Emotional symptoms are common and can be the normal response to having a debilitating disease or the result of damage to the nerves that generate and control emotions. The most common condition, clinical depression, is a product of both causes. Feelings such as anger, anxiety, frustration, and hopelessness are also common, and suicide is a very real threat.
Multiple sclerosis affects women more than men. Although multiple sclerosis can occur at any age, it often begins between the ages of 20 and 40. There is no cure for MS, but medicines may slow it down and help control symptoms. Physical and occupational therapy may also help.
Homeopathic Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis
The great majority of patients diagnosed with MS respond well to homeopathic treatment. Such cases have been reported throughout the homeopathic literature as far back as 1862, shortly after MS was recognized as a precise syndrome.
In 1925, Rorke, a British homeopath and physician to the Royal family reported that seven cases treated for an MS condition, three had complete recovery, three were much improved and there was little or no change in one case.
Homeopathy treats the person as a whole. It means that homeopathic treatment focuses on the patient as a person, as well as his pathological condition. The homeopathic medicines are selected after a full individualizing examination and case-analysis, which includes the medical history of the patient, physical and mental constitution etc. Homeopathic medicines are selected on the basis of symptoms, cause, family history and constitution of the person affected.
A thorough case history is the first requirement in developing the basic understanding needed to guide even the most difficult patient to recovery. The most traumatic events in the MS patient’s life are usually important keys, especially the ones immediately preceding the time of onset and of exacerbations of the symptoms. Past medical history can also be very important, especially regarding occurrences and reactions to infectious such as colds, flus, urinary tract infections, etc.
A good physical and neurological exam of the MS patient will provide many objective signs that are extremely helpful in evaluating the response of the patient to the treatment and in important prognostic clues. The most important tests are examination of the deep tendon reflexes, the plantar reflex, the presence of clonus and nystagmus, the gait (especially when challenged by having the patient to walk heel-to-toe or on the heels, etc), the sensations, especially the sense of vibration and finally the fundus of the eyes.
Care must be taken that the patient knows to immediately contact the physician at the first sign of a relapse or at the beginning of an infection, especially during the winter months. Next the patient must be advised to adopt a lifestyle that is conducive to good health.
First the patient must get sufficient rest and sleep. It is crucial for the MS patient not to get depleted by overstimulation, overworking, over exercise, or missing sleep.
Good diet will also play an important role in the long-term recovery of the MS patient. The patient must avoid all foods he is intolerant of and abstain as much as possible from processed foods, especially sugars, grain flour and alcohol, and stimulating foods such as tea and coffee. A diet low in animal products and high in raw unprocessed vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds is preferable in many cases.
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