Multiple Sclerosis Treatment and Management
Although there currently is no cure for multiple sclerosis, the past two decades have brought new treatments that can slow progression of the disease and reduce severity of symptoms. In addition to having access to the latest medications and procedures, University of Chicago Medicine neurologists have the experience, skills, and expertise to help patients manage multiple sclerosis and lead the fullest lives possible. We provide compassionate, personalized care, examining the course of each person's disease before recommending a course of action.
Courses of MS
While the progression of multiple sclerosis is different for each patient, individuals experience one of four courses:
- Relapsing-Remitting MS - clearly defined deterioration of neurologic function (referred to as exacerbations, relapses, attacks, or flare-ups) followed by limited or full recovery
- Primary-Progressive MS - slowly deteriorating neurologic function from the onset of the disease with no remission or relapses
- Secondary-Progressive MS - steadily worsening of the disease after relapsing-remitting MS
- Progressive-Relapsing MS - continually progressing disease with worsening symptoms and also with attacks and remissions
Managing Symptoms and Flare-Ups
Some of the effective strategies for treating flare-ups and managing symptoms include:
- Steroids to reduce inflammation during exacerbations
- Medications to manage and treat various MS symptoms, such as: spasticity; pain; fatigue; numbness; vertigo; vision problems; balance and gait; bladder and bowel dysfunction; cognitive dysfunction; depression; and sexual dysfunction.
- Botulinum toxin (Botox) injections to reduce spasticity in specific muscles
- Deep brain stimulation (DBS), a neurosurgical treatment to relieve tremor by stimulation of deep brain areas that control movement
- Rehabilitation therapy to improve mobility, fitness, energy, speech, memory, swallowing, etc.
- Lifestyle adjustments (i.e., healthy eating, vitamin D supplements, exercise) to enhance everyday function
- Radiofrequency lesioning to control facial pain in association with MS. This is a neurosurgical treatment applied percutaneously to selectively destroy pain fibers supplying the face.