Damage to nerve fibres in the central nervous system caused by inflammation of the fatty tissue (myelin) which sheathes and insulates them. Symptoms vary depending on the site of the damage. The first sign often noticed after a hot bath or exercise, may be tingling, numbness, or weakness affecting a hand, foot, or one side of the body. Double vision, or thing suddenly looking misty or blurred; after a day or two these symptoms disappear, and for some people the never return. For others, however, attacks are repeated and lead to some measure of disability, depending on severity and frequency. In only a minority of cases is MS crippling.
The cause of MS is not known, one line of research points to a virus, another to congenital defects in the myelin coating of nerves. It seems to be less frequent in people who have been breast-fed. In older homeopathic textbooks MS is attributed to inherent weakness of the nervous system aggravated by trauma, shock, infection, or toxic metals. There also appears to be a link with solar radiation.
Conventional treatment is to give ACTH (adrenocorticotrophic hormone) to encourage the adrenal glands to produce more steroids to combat inflammation, and also physiotherapy. Interferon has been shown to slow down development of the disease but it can have unpleasant side effects, such as feeling as if you have influenza. The homeopathic approach is constitutional.
Specific remedies to be given 4 times daily for up to 2 weeks while waiting for constitutional treatment
- Exaggerated reflexes, episode linked to some kind of emotional upset, person tends to faint easily Phosphorus 6c
- Very jerky movements of hands, feet, and tongue Tarantula 6c
- Sharp, shooing pains, movements very weak and shaky Agaricus 6c
- Weakness in back and limbs made worse by exercise, leaving person very fatigued and in pain; perhaps complete paralysis of affected limb Kali phos. 6c
- Painful spasms of retching and jerking soothed by warmth, pressure, and friction Magnesia phos. 6c
Self-help: A diet low in animal fats and high in gamma linoleic acid (a fatty acid found in sunflower seeds and safflower oil) is recommended, a gluten-free diet can also be beneficial. Make sure your body knows what rest and exercise feel like- take three 10-20 minute rest periods every day, spaced out through the day, and do some form of fairly vigorous exercise even day; walking, press-ups, lifting weights (lie on your back, and lift a 3 kg (7 lb.) weight up and down above your chest or to and from your hips and shoulders). As with all forms of exercise, start slowly and build up gradually.
As far as vitamins and minerals are concerned, make sure you get plenty of Vitamin B6, B3, B12, folic acid (folate), C, and E, and also zinc and magnesium; Evening Primrose oil is also recommended. Check the possibility of excess mercury in your diet or environment.