Multiple sclerosis is often called “the disease of a thousand faces.” And that’s because the symptoms are variable and can be different for each person.
Besides the commonly recommended physical therapy and occupational therapy, there’s also a variety of alternative therapies that can help manage your symptoms as well.
Here’s a list of the therapies I’ve tried during my MS journey to manage the vast range of symptoms I’ve had throughout the years and that have given me the best results:
- Aquatic therapy: Low-impact exercises performed in the water used in physical rehabilitation to improve fitness and muscle strength. It offers many therapeutic benefits.
- Acupuncture: Insertion of very thin needles through the skin at key points of the body. Usually used to treat pain and stress management.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy: It focuses on changing the way you think and behave. It’s commonly used to treat anxiety and depression.
- Brain games: Mind-stimulating games that help create a cognitive reserve and improve mental speed by rapidly taking in information. They help with processing speed, short-term memory, problem-solving, reasoning, finding words, and other cognitive impairment issues.
Of all of them, aquatic therapy has to be my favorite. There’s no limit to what I can do in the water, like marching and lifting my leg. Things I couldn’t do otherwise. The benefits are the same as those of a regular workout but without the struggle of fighting gravity.
Not only does our body need maintenance, but so does our brain. Unfortunately, many MSers experience some kind of cognitive deficit due to the condition. For those more internet-savvy, there are options like Lumosity, CogniFit, and Brain Metrix. There are also console games for Wii and Nintendo DS like Brain Age and Big Brain Academy.
If you don’t care for technology, a simple puzzle can challenge your visual perception. Crosswords and word finding games can improve your language. A sudoku puzzle will challenge your logical thinking.
No matter where you are in your MS journey, there are many alternatives to manage your symptoms. I would recommend adding an integrative medicine physician to your care team who can guide you and refer you to the different therapies based on your particular needs.
Achieving wellness is the ultimate goal. Wellness is an individual, active pursuit of an optimal state of health and well-being. But when you’re living with MS, this can be a little bit of a challenge. It requires determination and resilience. We have the potential to live a healthier and happier life where instead of surviving, we’re thriving.
To connect with other people living with multiple sclerosis join our MS Facebook Support Group.
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