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Why Go to a Comprehensive Care Clinic for MS Treatment?

March 15, 2019

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a complicated disease. The neurological disease encompasses the central nervous system and affects the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. With this disease, the immune system mistakenly attacks the central nervous system, causing inflammation and scar tissue that damages nerve fibers and myelin, a fatty substance that surrounds and protects the nerve fibers.  That damage can change or stop messages within the central nervous system.

Researchers don’t know the exact cause of MS, but believe the environment may play a role. The disease affects each of the 400,000 Americans who have it differently, making it difficult to diagnose.

Difficulty of Diagnosing MS

Some of the more common symptoms of MS are fatigue, numbness or tingling, weakness, dizziness, spasticity, vision problems, bladder and bowel problems, cognitive changes, depression and emotional changes. These symptoms also can be related to other health conditions, and because there’s not a definitive way to test for MS, diagnosis is done in part by ruling out other illnesses.

Challenges of Treating MS

Just as the disease can be difficult to diagnose, treatment can be challenging since symptoms can change and fluctuate over time. While there is currently no cure for MS, treatment focuses on halting the progression of the disease and stopping the accumulation of damage to the central nervous system.

Depending on their symptoms, a patient may need a multi-pronged approach involving experts from several specialties, such as a neurologist, a physical therapist, an occupational therapist and a psychologist. It is important that care is coordinated throughout the health team.

Research on MS is constantly evolving, so doctors must stay abreast of emerging best practices. This is something that neurologists who specialize in MS are particularly accustomed to doing.

Benefits of a Comprehensive Care Clinic

MS is not just a disease that affects your body. It can affect your ability to think, be active, work and interact with others. It requires a holistic approach for treatment. A comprehensive care clinic provides a team of experts who specialize in diagnosing and treating MS.

Some of the advantages of a comprehensive care clinic include:

  • Expertise and experience: Look for clinicians with experience successfully treating MS and who are certified, meaning they have passed a national certification examination and have at least two years of experience treating MS.
  • Recognition: Locate a clinic that has earned designation from the National MS Society as a Partners in MS Care – Comprehensive Care Center. This indicates the clinic has demonstrated knowledge and expertise in treating patients with MS and has an ongoing relationship with the National MS Society.
  • Services: Confirm the clinic as all the experts needed to help best manage MS. Medical and rehab professionals can evaluate and suggest treatment options for spasticity management, a common symptom involving abnormal muscle tone. Neuropsychologists can assess cognitive impairment concerns. Occupational therapists assess and treat symptoms to improve daily living activities and work-related tasks. Clinical research advances diagnosis and treatment of MS and enables the clinic to be on the leading edge of medical breakthroughs.

MS can be challenging. But the key to living well with MS is getting the right support and treatment from experts who understand and can comprehensively address its variety of symptoms.