Whether you have been newly diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) or have been living with this condition for years, Scripps offers comprehensive care and support to help reduce attacks and multiple sclerosis symptoms.
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system begins to attack a material called myelin, which insulates the brain and spinal cord. As the myelin degrades, scars are formed on the nerves, leading to a breakdown in communication between the brain and the rest of the body.
Symptoms of multiple sclerosis are varied and differ from person to person, making the diagnosis sometimes difficult to prove.
During an evaluation for multiple sclerosis, your neurologist will look for signs of damage (plaques or lesions) on the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves, while simultaneously ruling out other diseases and conditions with similar symptoms.
Tests to diagnose multiple sclerosis may include:
- A complete medical history
- Blood work to rule out infections or other health problems
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Spinal tap
- Evoked potential tests, which are a series of tests designed to evoke a response through visual or audio stimulation or stimulation to the arms or legs. Increased response times can indicate damage to the neural pathways connecting the senses to the brain.
At Scripps, we take a comprehensive approach to treating multiple sclerosis. Treatment options include:
- Medications, including disease-modifying drugs to stop progression
- Occupational therapy and physical therapy to address rehabilitative needs
- Counseling designed to improve coping skills and help deal with the ramifications of multiple sclerosis
- A multiple sclerosis rehabilitation program
In addition, complementary therapies from Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine are available for patients interested in blending traditional MS treatments with alternative approaches.