Myths About MS –
CNN posted a slide show entitled 7 Myths About Multiple Sclerosis. While much of the information given is factually correct, I feel there are many half-truths. I’m going to take a few moments to discuss each slide from the perspective of both a person with MS, and a natural health consultant. The link to the article above is set to open in a new tab, so that you can follow along with the CNN article, if you’d like.
Myth 1 – It’s true. MS is NOT the same for everyone. Nor is it the same every day for the same person. Some people with MS experience numbness, other experience pain, still others deal with fatigue, and vision disturbances. Many people experience all these symptoms at one time or another. Sometimes symptoms can change several times over the course of a day, or even over an hour. Many times, woman experience symptom changes as they move through their monthly cycle. There are several reasons for the differences. Everything from body chemistry, food intolerance, cold viruses. random bacteria, stress, and sometimes even the weather can affect MS symptoms. And remember, just because your Dr calls it Multiple Sclerosis doesn’t mean it’s actually MS. Misdiagnosis accounts for some symptoms differences between people — and you’ll never know if you’ve been misdiagnosed unless you experiment a little.
Myth 2 – CNN is correct, a lot of things can be done for MS. Personally, I disagree with the suggestion that disease modifying drugs (DMD) are the way to go. In my time as moderator for mscured, I have heard from many.. many people who used DMD with no effect. Many of those people said that the drugs were worse than the MS itself. I don’t know. I have had MS for at least 20 years, and I have never used a DMD, and I never will. I used, and continue to use herbs, supplements, diet, exercise, stress management, and energy work to manage my MS. For me, my methods seem to be working- I have reversed disease progression, stopped symptoms and regained full function.
Myth 3 Again, CNN is correct. Disease Modifying Drugs do not make you feel better. In fact, thousands of people have stopped taking DMD because they make the person feel WORSE, and do nothing to reduce MS flares or attacks. One thing they don’t tell you is that DMD are known to cause other, more serious, deadly health problems. There are much better ways to manage MS than to inject yourself with DMD. If you want to consider a medication that does help you feel better while also stopping disease progression, do some research on Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN)
Myth 4 Of course women with MS can have kids. MS affects the nervous and immune systems, not the reproductive system. While they are pregnant, many women have fewer symptoms, more energy and simply feel better than they did before they became pregnant. You can not take DMD while pregnant or breastfeeding. Some woman have a dramatic increase of symptoms after the baby is born. There are some herbs and supplements a woman can take to help keep her from having an MS flare after the baby is born. Some doctors say the LDN is okay to take when you’re pregnant and breastfeeding, too.
Myth 5 Yes, you can keep working when you have MS. Unless your employer finds out your have MS, or unless you require more accommodations than your employer is willing to provide. Yes, it’s illegal to fire someone because they have a chronic, progressive illness., and YES it still happens way too often. The best advice I can give is this: Don’t discuss your medical status with your employer. Unless you are great friends with your boss, you’re likely to hurt your career in the long run by discussing your MS with your boss. It’s easier and more cost effective for your company to replace you, than to put up with time off work, and accommodation requests. Yes, that’s harsh, but it’s also the cold truth that many people with MS have experienced.
Myth 6 While it’s true that mercury dental fillings don’t “cause” MS. It is not true that removing those fillings never improve a person’s symptoms. I do know people for whom MS symptoms have improved after they had mercury fillings removed. Whether those people “only” suffered from mercury toxicity or not, I’ll never know. But each of these people did have an official MS diagnosis. Could they have been misdiagnosed? Sure.. it happens all the time. Lyme Disease is often misdiagnosed as MS, too. But, the bottom line is that these people got better after their mercury fillings were removed. There is a catch, though. Removing mercury fillings is dangerous. If it’s done incorrectly all the mercury could leach into your bloodstream and make you worse, instead of better. So, be sure you find a dentist who is experienced in removing mercury fillings. Talk to some of his/her past patients, get referrals and be very, very selective on whom you allow to remove those fillings. If possible, consider finding a dentist who is willing to remove the whole tooth instead of just the filling.
Myth 7 Sure, some people use mobility aids occasionally. But, in my opinion, your better off not using mobility aids unless you really need them to get around. Getting around on your own power helps you keep the balance, strength, coordination and abilities you still have. At the same time, if you need mobility aids, use them. It’s better to feel safe while going about your day than to be afraid you’re going to fall. I’ve been on both sides of this coin. For a while I used an electric scooter to do my grocery shopping and a walker to help keep my balance when I was out of the house. At that same time I walked, sometimes bouncing off walls because I had balance problems at home. I still believe that insisting on walking without mobility aids at home helped me regain my balance more quickly.