Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune condition that causes inflammation and neurodegeneration in the central nervous system. MS is unpredictable, but common symptoms include numbness and tingling, fatigue, weakness, pain, mood changes, and cognitive changes. Nearly one million people in the U.S. live with MS.
The physical, mental, and cognitive effects of MS can greatly influence quality of life. Professional treatments are available to treat the condition, but there are lifestyle measures that can make living with MS easier.
Read on to learn coping strategies for living with MS.
Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle With MS
Healthy lifestyle choices are important for everyone, but they can be especially important for people living with long-term conditions such as MS.
While they aren’t a substitute for treatment, lifestyle changes can make symptoms and relapses easier to manage.
These changes don’t need to be made all at once. Be realistic about what works for you. Small changes over time can have a big impact.
Prioritize Mental Health
Struggles with mood and mental health are common in people who have MS. Prioritizing mental health as seriously as physical health can help to preserve and even enhance quality of life for people living with MS.
Psychotherapy approaches can be very beneficial, including:
Medication may be recommended if a mental health disorder is present. Treating mental health conditions in people with MS is similar to treatment recommended for the general population, but interactions with MS medications need to be considered.
While it’s unclear if stress can worsen the condition, stress is commonly experienced by people with MS. More research is needed into the effects of stress on MS onset and symptoms, but stress management techniques can at least help a person feel better.
Relaxation techniques that may help include:
- Deep breathing