Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an example of an illness that has occupied a position on the border between alternative and mainstream medicine. Even today when we sort of know what it is we don’t really know what causes it. It often cripples young healthy people in the prime of their life which has motivated numerous ideas for treatments. It is relapse-remitting which means it comes and goes so anything you treat it with seems to work. You can understand why they call it, “The illness of a million cures.” Two decades ago we finally developed treatments that target the actual disease process. These treatments have proven effective at reducing the episodes. You would think that alternative treatments that are inert would have become fewer but they have increased. Some alternative treatments are physiologically active and treat symptoms such as fatigue and insomnia. Others are not physiologically active but can still treat pain and psychosomatic complaints through the placebo effect. Some people who have entirely psychosomatic illness can be misdiagnosed as having MS and these individuals respond well to placebo medicine. No alternative treatment alters the underlying disease process. This section will discuss alternative treatments that have been claimed as having benefit in MS to see what is real, what may be real, and what is not real. MS is an atypical auto-immune illness so some alternative treatments that may effect the immune system may effect MS. We will examine research in this area. MS is an illness that may be best treated by using alternative and mainstream medicine together.
-Morgan Levy, MD
Dr. Levy does speaking engagements to both professional and non-professional groups on a sliding scale. Read his bio and contact him at: Morgan L. Levy, MD
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