Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease affecting the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves, also known as the central nervous system. The medical professionals at Winchester Neurological Consultants located in Winchester, VA, have experience diagnosing and treating multiple sclerosis.
What is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis is an auto-immune disease, meaning your immune system attacks healthy tissue, and there is no definitive cause of this disease. When the attack occurs, the myelin sheath, or area surrounding your nerves, becomes damaged, leading to inflammation and pain. Eventually, the myelin sheath disappears from the repeated attacks leading to scars or sclerosis. They can be seen as plaques or lesions on imaging.
Only the nervous system is directly affected by multiple sclerosis, and it includes the:
- Spinal cord
- Optic (Eye) nerves
- Brain stem
As more nerves become affected, your body loses the ability to carry out certain functions.
Signs and Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis
Your body's central nervous system serves as the primary control center for all your bodily functions. So, when it is damaged, you will start to see symptoms from all parts of the body.
The most common signs of multiple sclerosis include:
- Generalized muscle weakness
- Numbness and tingling of face, body, arms, and legs
- Electric shock sensation with neck movement, also known as Lhermitte's sign
- Increased urinary frequency, loss of bladder control, retention of urine
- Constipation and loss of bowel control
- Muscle spasms
- Double or blurry vision
- Impaired ability to walk
As the disease progresses, you may experience more symptoms, and mild symptoms may increase in severity.
The doctors at Winchester Neurological Consultants in Winchester, VA, will be able to evaluate you for multiple sclerosis and create an effective treatment plan.
How Can Multiple Sclerosis Be Treated?
There is no known cure for multiple sclerosis at this time, but there are treatment options available to reduce and relieve symptoms while also slowing the progression of the disease.
The current treatment options available include:
- Medication: Some given by mouth, injection, or infusion. The regimen is dependent upon the drug itself and individual care plan.
- Symptom Management: Other medications may be added to the regiment that helps reduce symptoms like inflammation and pain during flare-ups.
- Behavioral Changes: Reducing screen time when vision is affected, increased rest periods when tired, and frequent breaks with activity.
- Physical Therapy and Assistive Devices: Help improve balance, mobility, and tremor severity.
- Dietary Changes: May help with bowel and bladder issues.
- Alternative Therapies: heat and massage for pain, acupuncture, stress management, and exercise.
If you have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, the medical staff at Winchester Neurological Consultants in Winchester, VA, can help you manage your condition. Please call today for a consultation at (540) 667-1828.