Multiple Sclerosis

Definition

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society defines Multiple Sclerosis as a disease that involves an immune system attack against the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves). The disease is thought to be triggered in a genetically susceptible individual by a combination of one or more environmental factors.

Thus, as part of the immune attack on the central nervous system, myelin ( the fatty substance that surrounds and protects the nerve fibres in the central nervous system) is damaged, as well as the nerve fibres themselves. The damaged myelin forms scar tissue (sclerosis), which gives the disease its name. When any part of the myelin sheath or nerve fibre is damaged or destroyed, nerve impulses travelling to and from the brain and spinal cord are distorted or interrupted, producing the variety of symptoms that can occur.

Types of Multiple Sclerosis:

  • Primary- Progressive MS:
  • It is characterised by slowly worsening neurologic function from the onset, with no distinct relapses or remissions
  • Secondary-Progressive MS: It’s initially similar to relapsing- remitting MS, and eventually the disease worsens more steadily, with or without occasional flare-ups, recoveries, or plateaus
  • Progressive -Relapsing MS- Disease steadily worsens from the beginning but with clear attacks of worsening neurologic function along the way.
  • Relapsing- Remitting MS- People with this type of MS experience clearly defined attacks of worsening neurological function. These attacks, which are called relapses, flare-ups, or exacerbations, are followed by partial or complete recovery periods, during which no disease progression occurs.

Causes:

  • Immunologic- Multiple Sclerosis involves an immune- mediated process.
  • Environmental
  • Infectious- exposure to numerous viruses and bacteria could trigger Multiple Sclerosis
  • Genetics

Symptoms:

  • Blurred or double vision
  • Difficulty in walking
  • Abnormal pain
  • Numbness and prickling
  • Disorientation in identifying red and green colours
  • Pain and loss of vision due to optic neuritis (an inflammation of the optic nerve).
  • Dizziness
  • Sensory abnormalities

Ayurvedic Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis:

In Ayurveda, diseases are believed to occur, due to an imbalance of dosha. There is no direct correlation to MS in Ayurveda classics; however it can be understood as mentioned below,

  • Dhatu paka (can be co-related to the autoimmune factor) caused by Pitta vata / Vata Pitta Manda / Prakshina kapha (Causing aggravation of Vata and Pitta, leading to drying up of Kapha)

Line of treatment:

  • Balancing the vata, pitta, strengthening Kapha, correcting Agni (digestive system and cellular metabolism – Dhatwagni), strengthening Ojus (Immune system)

Treatments:

The treatment modalities include panchakarma, external therapies, internal medications, Activities, Advice of food and lifestyle changes.

  • Panchakarma – Virechana, Basti, Nasya
  • Externally – Abhyanga, Udwarthana, Shiro Dhara, Kashaya Seka, SSPS, PPS, Chandana Avagha,
  • Internally – Deepana – Carminative
  • Pachana – Digestives
  • Vatanulomana – Balancing vata
  • Rasayana – Rejuvenators

Activities:

  • Specific Asanas, Panayamas, meditation
  • Physiotherapy, Aqua yoga.

Food:

  • Improving on the intake of water preferably warm water and foods which aid easy digestion.
  • Timely regular wholesome meals in a conducible non-disturbing atmosphere
  • Lifestyle changes:  specific to the individual’s constitution, nature of work and geographical conditions.