With the many different symptoms MS likes to throw at us on occasion, sometimes we turn to complementary therapies. There are lots out there, from reflexology, massage and herbal remedies to name a few, but which ones do you choose?
I have an aromatherapy massage once every six weeks and that helps release tension from my body, as well as giving me one hour to relax with no distractions. It’s by no means a cure for my MS, but it’s beneficial to my overall wellbeing and I’ll take that.
In the upcoming issue of New Pathways I’m going to be looking at acupuncture and I would like to speak with those of you who have tried it. Did it work for you? What were the benefits? Would you recommend it? I’d love to hear your experiences, so if you’d like to share them, email me at email@example.com by the 29 September.
I look forward to hearing from you all!
Editor of New Pathways
No one should have to suffer with pain and not everyone believes drugs are the solution, so we asked Multiple Sclerosis Specialist Nurse, Lee-Anne Dippenaar for some drug free alternatives that could help relieve pain
Not everyone with MS experiences pain all the time, but most are likely to experience some kind of pain at some point when living with the condition. When pain strikes, it can be difficult at first to decipher what it is, where it’s coming from and what might be causing it. In issue 104 of New Pathways I address the subject of pain in more detail, but if you are someone who wants to try drug-free alternatives that could help relieve pain, here are my recommendations:
It can help with movement, flexibility and posture to alleviate pain. Loss of muscle strength causes deconditioning which worsens pain
See an occupational therapist for adaptations in and around the home so it’s easier to use or access and helps ease the pain a little
When you have pain you probably want to sit or lie down. Small movements will improve blood circulation and ease pain
Advice about posture can help with muscle pain. Poor posture can aggravate pain and cause pain to radiate
Alcohol affects the central nervous system. It can cause sleep disturbances and leave you tired, triggering pain
Smoking causes poor circulation and makes chronic pain feel more intense
Focusing on a hobby or something to distract you from thinking about pain constantly can help
Learn new relaxation techniques, such as listening to music. Practice meditation, mindfulness, deep breathing, gentle walking, singing and being outdoors in nature
Try not to do too much in one go. Plan better and spread tasks out so you don’t overexert yourself and exacerbate pain
Try massage, it reduces stress and alleviates tension in muscles
It involves stimulating sensory nerves under the skin and in the muscles of the body to provide relief
This involves applying pressure to feet and hands, which can relieve stress within the body
Try aromatherapy for relaxation. There is no clinical evidence that these therapies are effective for everyone, but some find it beneficial if done regularly
Avoid processed inflammatory food (sugary, carbohydrate loaded) and eat real food. A well-balanced diet incorporating green vegetables, unsaturated fat and some fruit aids the digestive process, keeps weight under control, and improves blood sugar levels
You can alternate between warm and cold compress techniques to improve blood circulation to the area. It can relax muscles and encourage the healing process
Your GP or MS nurse can refer you to a pain clinic. You could also join a CBT programme and see a counsellor who can help to understand pain and can encourage a positive attitude
Look for your local MS group or an exercise group. Ask others with similar symptoms for advice. Help family understand what you are going through so they can support you
In issue 104 of New Pathways magazine Lee-Anne talks more in-depth about the different types of pain, how to cope and how to manage it. To read her feature, subscribe to New Pathways today.