Multiple Sclerosis is an often frustrating, painful and debilitating disease. Patients struggling with the symptoms of MS face many challenges, not the least of which is the mystery of when, and how severe, the next attack will be. Conventional medicine seeks to manage MS symptoms with a regimen of often strong prescription drugs. These drug regimens are often accompanied by unwanted side effects that leave MS patients with a further set of health problems to overcome. But there are natural treatments MS patients can employ to help manage their recurring symptoms, and bring themselves some much sought after relief.
Causes and Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis is a progressive disease of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. MS causes a scarring of the myelin sheaths that encase the body’s nerves. This scarring leads to a disruption in signals from the brain to the rest of the body. The effects of MS can range from mild to increasingly debilitating. Multiple sclerosis is a mysterious disease, and symptoms can occur seemingly without reason.
While scientists have yet to determine the primary cause of MS, certain factors do appear to be linked to occurrences of the disease. Viral infections, exposure to environmental toxins, mental stress and immune system imbalances all appear to play a part in the development of multiple sclerosis in otherwise healthy individuals. Common symptoms of MS include fatigue, loss of muscle strength, loss of visual acuity, and recurring pain, tingling or burning in the extremities. In some cases MS can cause memory lapses, depression and bladder and bowel dysfunction.
Diet and Multiple Sclerosis
Recent research has shown a link between diet and the recurrence of symptoms in MS sufferers. Patients who kept a food journal were able to find a correlation between their dietary habits and their recurring MS symptoms. In some cases the symptoms were being triggered by previously undiagnosed food allergies, while in most it would appear that poor nutrition choices were a major cause of recurring flare-ups.
The whole body approach to managing the symptoms of MS begins with good nutrition. Those individuals suffering with multiple sclerosis should begin transitioning to a diet that relies less on animal proteins, and more on organic fruits and vegetables. MS sufferers should eliminate their intake of red meats, highly processed grains and sugars, butter, milk, eggs and cheese. Foods high in essential Omega-3 fatty acids, such as walnuts, hemp and flax seed, should be added to the diet. Omega-3 fatty acids are vital to maintaining a strong immune system, and also help to protect and strengthen the heart and cardiovascular system.
Certain vitamin supplements can be added to the diet to help support the body’s nerve function. Vitamin B-12, vitamin D and selenium all have a positive effect on the body’s nervous system, and individuals with MS often have a deficiency in these vital nutritional building blocks. Optimally, these nutrients should be acquired through diet. Multiple sclerosis patients should work with their doctor to determine what supplements may be needed to offset any vitamin deficiencies in their normal diet.
Exercise and Multiple Sclerosis
Regular exercise is especially important to individuals suffering with multiple sclerosis. MS tends to weaken the muscles of the body, and regular exercise will help patients maintain their core strength. A routine of sensible exercise also helps patients control their weight, boost their natural energy and relieve stress. Individuals with severe MS symptoms may find it difficult to exercise regularly, but even a light stretching routine, or a daily walk, can have a positive effect. As the patient’s strength and energy increases, further exercises can be added to their daily health regimen.
The Mental and Spiritual Connection
Multiple sclerosis sufferers often find themselves prone to mood swings, anxiety and depression. These can be the most difficult aspects of the disease to manage successfully. But mental and spiritual wellbeing promotes physical health. Through meditation on God’s Word and learning to listen to the voice of His Spirit, MS patients can find the direction that He is leading them to address this health challenge. Through this stillness, mental and spiritual balance can be achieved, and the Word of God will resound clearly in the soul. By tending to the spirit, MS sufferers will be able to cast off their anxieties and depression, and learn to live fully in the moment. Ultimately, the strength of the spirit and the mind will reinforce the healing of the body, and bring healing relief from the recurring symptoms of multiple sclerosis.