What Are Some New Treatments for Patients with MS?
Our immune system protects us from harmful viruses and bacteria. In some patients, the immune system turns rogue and attacks healthy tissue. This is known as an autoimmune disease.
In patients suffering from multiple sclerosis, a common autoimmune disease found in relatively young patients, the immune system erroneously attacks insulation surrounding the nerves known as myelin. When this myelin is damaged, it allows for short-circuiting of nerve signals. Depending on what area of the nervous system sustains myelin damage, many different symptoms can occur. Commonly MS patients experience problems with balance and walking, neuropathic type pain, and muscle tightness known as spasticity.
Effective treatment for the disease and rehabilitation of the deficits is lacking. New developments in the field of neuromodulation are improving functional outcomes for MS patients. For example, using a specific type of electrical stimulation behind the ear in MS patients can dramatically improve balance when used with a conventional balance rehabilitation program. It’s a technique known as galvanic vestibular stimulation.
Likewise using a galvanic form of stimulation over the spinal cord can relieve neuropathic pain and reduce spasticity in patients suffering from MS. This treatment is known as trans-spinal direct current. Reduced pain and spasticity along with improved balance and walking ability improves quality of life and functional ability in patients suffering from MS.