Health & Wellness

Sleep Apnea and MS

By: Tiffany Braley, M.D.If you have MS, chances are that you have experienced at least some problems with your sleep. Up to 60 percent of people with MS experience at least one sleep disturbance.
Health & Wellness, Men

Track Your Fitness Goals and Get Motivated

By: Joanne FortunatoFinding the motivation to exercise and stay active is challenging, but MS can make it even harder. Fatigue is a major MS symptom, and it is easy to get caught in the downward spiral of being too tired to move, much less exercise. Luckily, with today’s technology, tracking your fitness is easier, and more exciting than ever before.
Health & Wellness

MS-TECH 101 Smart Home Technology

By: Joanne FortunatoIn today’s world of technology, you can easily control things in your home – such as lights, thermostats, and appliances – with your voice or a click on your phone or tablet. Smart home technology is a great way to customize your home that can make living with MS safer and more comfortable.
Health & Wellness

Technology for Families and Caregivers

By: Joanne FortunatoCaring for someone with MS can be a big responsibility with many unique challenges. Overlap can easily happen when there are multiple people, whether family members or professional caregivers, involved in caring for someone. The result could be problems with organizing medications, appointments, or several other tasks. There are two types of technology that can help. First, an app for sharing important medical information. Then, support sites for loved ones and anyone else entrusted with giving care.
Health & Wellness, Family-Friends

Finding Your Cognitive Edges

By: Jeffrey N. GingoldMS is a complicated disability. For example, while I have adjusted to walking with a cane, shifting all other tasks to the available hand is another challenge. Simple functions now require some obvious assistance, but finding a “cane” to support cognitive deficits is as elusive as the thinking challenges themselves. Gaps in my mental processing and recollection of faces, locations, and tasks have been troublesome and may be invisible to others. The physical and cognitive disabilities have altered my life, but I refuse to let MS have the last word.
Health & Wellness

Exercise Your Brain

By: Dr. J. Tamar KalinaIf you are experiencing cognitive challenges due to MS, there is good news: research shows that proper exercise (both cognitive and physical aerobic exercise) can help improve some of the changes that you may be experiencing.
Health & Wellness

Cognitive Challenges of Multiple Sclerosis

By: Jack Burks, M.D. In this article, I briefly explore insights that I have gained about the cognitive challenges associated with MS from treating people with MS for more than 40 years. My observations are more practical than scientific. I will start with my historical perspective, then relay a patient’s story with important practical strategies to maximize cognitive abilities. You may find that you are facing similar issues and gain insights to help you adapt to your cognitive challenges.
Health & Wellness

Making Your Cold Sensitivities Manageable

By: Patty Bobryk, MHS, PT, MSCS, ATPWhen they think about the effects of temperature on their symptoms of multiple sclerosis, most people think about heat. Heat sensitivity is very common in MS. In fact, more than 60 to 80 percent of individuals living with MS will have ill effects from the heat. Heat can cause an increase in any of the symptoms you are currently experiencing from your MS or bring new symptoms to the surface.
Health & Wellness

MS-TECH 101 Managing Your Health with Medical Mobile Apps

By: Joanne FortunatoAccording to the FDA, a mobile medical application “can help people manage their own health and wellness, promote healthy living, and gain access to useful information when and where they need it.” While visiting and talking to your doctor is very important, MMAs can be a great addition to your medical portfolio. With new drugs and therapies being created at a growing pace, these apps are a great tool to help you navigate the often unintelligible medical world.
Health & Wellness

Innovations in Assistive Technology: Budget-Friendly Assistive Technology Products for Individuals with MS

By: Marissa A. Barrera, MS, MPhil, MSCS, CCC-SLP, Teresa Biber LoMonte, MS, CCC-SLP and Michaela Medved, MA, CCC-SLPAssistive technology products are designed to provide additional accessibility to individuals who have physical, speech, hearing or cognitive difficulties, impairments, and disabilities. The term assistive technology or adaptive technology is a broad term that encompasses numerous assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices.
Health & Wellness

Three Herbs and Supplements That May Help With MS

By: Daryl H. BryantAdding healthy herbs and supplements to any diet can improve overall motor and cognitive functioning, but for those with multiple sclerosis, these natural additives can be especially helpful. Many doctors suggest naturally occurring herbs and minerals to help patients counteract common MS symptoms. Although they should not replace prescribed medications, taking these following herbs can help you manage your MS symptoms by reducing inflammation and strengthening the immune system.
Health & Wellness

The Diet Debate: McDougall Diet and Wahls Protocol

By: MSF Staff Expounding on the Wahls Protocol and McDougall Diet for helping those within the MS community live healthier lives.
Health & Wellness

Reducing Inflammation in Multiple Sclerosis, Naturally: Natural Therapies for MS Inflammation Reduction

By: Kimberly M. Sanders, ND Once a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis has been made, medications that help reduce inflammation in the brain are often started, having a positive effect on disease severity. A description of natural therapies that also reduce inflammation is listed.
Health & Wellness

Review of CAM Therapies Offers Mixed Results: CAM Therapies in Multiple Sclerosis – 2014 AAN Guidelines

By: Vijayshree Yadav, MBBS, MCR and Pushpa Narayanswami CAM (complementary and alternative medical) treatment options are nonconventional forms of medical therapies that are not prescribed by a conventional medical provider. Discover the pros and limitations of these kinds of therapies.
Health & Wellness

The Benefits of Occupational Therapy

By: Susan Dorne, OTPeople with MS are faced with numerous challenges that may affect the things they want and need to do. Often, limitations impede the ability to take care of basic needs at home, at work, and within the community. Simple everyday tasks can turn into daily frustration. One of the best approaches to help alleviate these challenges and minimize the frustration is through the intervention of Occupational Therapy (OT).
Health & Wellness

Self-Management: The Keys to Taking Charge of Your MS

By: Jamie Wazenkewitz, MPH, MSW, LSWAIC; Kara McMullen, MPH; Dawn Ehde, PhDAs a chronic condition, treatment of multiple sclerosis often includes several healthcare providers involved in the medical decisions and direction of your healthcare planning. This system of professionals providing testing, diagnoses, and treatment options is considered the medical management model of chronic disease management. The medical management model includes all medical-based aspects of your MS, including prescriptions, visits with primary care providers and MS specialists, and rehabilitation.
Health & Wellness

Water Exercise: A Cool (and Easy) Way to Exercise

By: Diana DudaFor many people with MS, few things go together better than exercise and water, especially during the hot summer months. “Why?” you may ask. Water provides buoyancy and thus support that the participant wouldn’t have in a land class. As a result, there is less fear of falling. What is the worst thing that could happen if one goes down in the water class? Hair gets wet perhaps? With the use of flotation vests, buoyancy belts, buoys and noodles, this usually isn’t a problem.
Health & Wellness

Laughing Your Way to Improved Immunity

By: Marco Vespignani, N.D.In 1964, journalist and peace advocate Norman Cousins was diagnosed with a rare form of arthritis called ankloysing spondylitis. This autoimmune arthritis typically leads to the fusion of the spine and is incredibly debilitating and painful. Determined not to let the diagnosis or the pain limit his positivity in life, he began to watch Marx Brothers movies on a reel and projector daily. He found that after 10 minutes of deep belly laughter, he would have two to three hours of pain relief.
Health & Wellness

The Seven Habits of Highly Successful MSers

By: Herb Karpatkin, PT, DSc, NCS, MSCSIt has been my privilege over the last 20 plus years to be the physical therapist for thousands of people with multiple sclerosis. The variety of patients that I’ve seen has been profound, as is expected with MS. However, it has always impressed me that certain people with MS always seem to do a little better than others, regardless of the severity of the disease. These people have always stood out as having a better handle on their MS, and seem to have a better and more satisfying life despite the disease.
Health & Wellness

Staying Two Steps Ahead of Cold and Flu Season

By: Jamie Wazenkewitz, MPH, MSW, LSWAIC; Kara McMullen, MPH; Dawn Ehde, PhDAs a chronic condition, treatment of multiple sclerosis often includes several healthcare providers involved in the medical decisions and direction of your healthcare planning. This system of professionals providing testing, diagnoses, and treatment options is considered the medical management model of chronic disease management. The medical management model includes all medical-based aspects of your MS, including prescriptions, visits with primary care providers and MS specialists, and rehabilitation.
Health & Wellness

No More Excuses: How to Banish Those Self-Defeating Throughts about Exercising

By: Jeffrey Segal, NSCA-CPTSome of the smallest positive changes in behavior can be the biggest spark leading to major change.
Health & Wellness

The Wellness Model

By: Michelle Jungbauer, RN, MBA, CCM, MSCN and Jeanne Ott, RN, AAS, MSCNFor years, disease has been perceived as the opposite of wellness, as if the two are mutually exclusive conditions. Wellness is a holistic way of viewing health that includes body, mind and spirit. Various stressors in life can affect some or all areas of personal wellness. To enjoy a state of wellness, despite having a chronic condition, there are three categories of intervening factors that can alter the stress response in our body. Three key intervening factors, drawn from the Wellness Model, are: Self-awareness, Self-responsibility and Empowerment.
Health & Wellness

Eating for Energy

By: Janeen Goldsmith, CNT Fatigue is a common – and often debilitating – symptom of MS. It affects us both mentally and physically, interfering with our ability to function and perform basic daily activities. Though an erratic energy supply can be caused by many things, you can give your body every advantage in the fight against fatigue through the energy of food. This includes not only the types of food and drinks we consume but how often we eat and at what time of day.
Health & Wellness

Create an MS Free Zone

By: MSF StaffEveryone can relate to that desire to escape, to take a break from the realities and responsibilities of daily life. Having a chronic illness like MS doesn’t change that. In fact, it probably becomes even more important. But if you have MS, how do you get away from it? How do you find a part of yourself that the disease cannot touch? The answer is to create an MS-free zone.
Health & Wellness

What Is Recreation Therapy And How Can It Help You?

By: MSF Staff and reviewed by the MSF Medical Advisory BoardRecreation therapy is one of the fastest-growing professions today, yet many people have never heard of the term.
Health & Wellness

A Case for Experiential Support Groups

By: Carmen Freeman, MS, CCHTThe type of support group I am proposing is one that integrates knowledge and wisdom derived from exploratory experiences, facilitated phenomena of wellness, and the more traditional activities of socio-emotional support and information sharing.
Health & Wellness

Menopause: Preparing for the Second Act

By: MSF Staff and reviewed by the MSF Medical Advisory BoardAs with so many challenges in life, attitude is critical. Menopause is no exception. We can dread menopause as the beginning of the end, the fading of our youth, the loss of our beauty and vitality. Or, we can embrace it as a gateway to the second act of our lives, a time of freedom, self-expression and self-discovery. We’ve spent our lives nurturing others. Could it now be time to nurture ourselves?
Health & Wellness, Women

Behind Closed Doors: Domestic Violence and Women with Disabilites

By: MSF StaffDomestic violence refers to control by one person over the other person in a dating, marital or live-in relationship. It is a social issue that knows no boundaries. It affects people of all ages, cultures, socioeconomic, and educational backgrounds.
Health & Wellness, Women

Real Men Get Depressed

By: Kimberlee RothMany men take pride in being the provider, the rock of their family. The last thing they want is to be considered weak, flawed or mentally ill.
Health & Wellness, Men

The State of Men's Health: Treating Erectile Dysfunction

By: MSF Staff and reviewed by the MSF Medical Advisory BoardErectile dysfunction is common. According to a Johns Hopkins study, nearly 20 percent of American men are affected. Among men aged 40 through 70, the numbers climb to 50 percent.
Health & Wellness, Men

The Facts on Fibrocystic Breast Changes

By: MSF Staff and reviewed by the MSF Medical Advisory BoardTaking preventative measures to protect your overall health can sometimes be difficult to remember when you have a chronic illness, but every woman should perform monthly breast exams. When you do, it is possible your breasts may feel lumpy, bumpy or thick. While any change in your breasts should be discussed with your doctor, for many women, uneven breast texture is due to fibrocystic changes. The condition affects many women at some point in their lives, particularly those between the ages of 30 and 50.
Health & Wellness, Women

Improving Body Image

By: Traci Seidman, Ph.D.In all my years of clinical practice, I’ve met few people who didn’t have some problem with their body image. The media insists on bombarding us with the ever-elusive, model-perfect figure. Women with MS experience all of these conflicts as well. But with a disease like MS, many of us have extra hurdles, both physically and emotionally.
Health & Wellness

The State of Men's Health: Andropause

By: MSF Staff and reviewed by the MSF Medical Advisory BoardMenopause is not a word you would expect to see in an article about men’s health. But guess what? There really is such a thing as male menopause. This is the name sometimes given to the naturally occurring reduction of androgens, the substance that produces or stimulates male hormones. Generally, this is called andropause or male menopause. Technically, though, these names refer to Partial Androgen Deficiency in the Aging Male (PADAM).
Health & Wellness, Men

Pregnancy For Women With Multiple Sclerosis

By: MSF Staff and reviewed by the MSF Medical Advisory BoardThe decision to start a family is a life-changing one. For any couple, it is difficult to speculate how their relationship, employment and financial status might change over the years. Speculation is a gamble and there are no guarantees. For those couples that must factor in the additional uncertainties of MS, both speculation and decision-making grow more complex. Nevertheless, there are steps that you and your partner can take that will enable you to make intelligent and realistic decisions.
Health & Wellness, Women

Living in the Moment: The Benefits of Mindfulness

By: Kara Barton, MSW, LCSWIf you are reading this now, you are breathing. We all do it, but we don’t usually pay much attention. Mindfulness is about paying attention – to our breath and to what is happening in the present moment. In fact, mindfulness can increase the ability to recognize what is working or going well in your life.
Health & Wellness

Striking a Positive Pose with Laughter Yoga

By: Mandie NavarroI first became intrigued with the possibility of using laughter as a healing therapy for my MS in the summer of 2008. I had stumbled across several articles reporting on how beneficial laughter is to our well-being. Digging deeper, I discovered an exercise regimen called Laughter Yoga. The premise was this: One could attend a laughter class and after laughing for one hour, emerge feeling euphoric.
Health & Wellness

Sharpening Your Comic Vision: Therapeutic Humor Focuses on Strengthening Emotional Health

By: Steven M. Sultanoff, Ph.D.Just as our physical immune system protects us from toxins in our environment, our “psychological immune system” protects us from the toxins generated from psychological stressors we experience in the world around us. Research has shown that humor strengthens both our physical and psychological immune systems; it helps to sustain the psychological immune system by altering how we feel, think, and behave.
Health & Wellness

The Supplement Maze

By: Deborah Eck, RD, LD, CNSCEating well with multiple sclerosis can be a challenge. There is so much information about food and supplements that are said to help with MS. It often leaves one asking, “Where do I begin?”
Health & Wellness

Therapeutic Horseback Riding Helps Rein in MS

By: Judy HeathIt was a very cold, windy day in a barn in Central Florida as a group of 15 people with MS and their care partners bundled up in heavy jackets and gloves, eager to learn about therapeutic horseback riding, also known as hippotherapy.
Health & Wellness

Tune Into Music and Tune Out MS

By: Cathy Rivera, MS, MM, MT-BCMost people can remember a time when hearing music changed their mood or made them forget their pains and troubles. However, present-day music therapy can do much more than provide an emotional uplift. The directed use of music for therapy can produce changes in mind and body that last beyond the therapy session. In addition, music therapy can introduce methods of practicing functional skills in a way that reduces the boredom or frustration that can accompany long-term rehabilitation or adaptation training.
Health & Wellness

The Gift of NIA

By: MSF StaffNia is an expressive movement practice that utilizes your entire being to attain physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. Nia is to exercise what holistic medicine is to healthcare. An acronym for Neuromuscular Integrative Action, Nia is based on the belief that there is a dancer, martial artist, and highly aware person within each of us. It is a fusion of the martial arts, the healing arts, and the dance arts. Perhaps most importantly, Nia is fun!
Health & Wellness

Herbal Therapy

By: MSF Staff and reviewed by the MSF Medical Advisory BoardThe most important difference between drugs and herbs is that the majority of drugs consist of a single chemical compound, but herbs consist of many different ones. Some may be beneficial, some may be harmful, and some have unknown effects on the human body. This is because herbs have not been studied as extensively as drugs and it is still unknown which chemicals in herbs are the active ingredients. There is a lot to be learned about the side effects of herbs and their interaction with conventional drugs.
Health & Wellness

Health Insurance Coverage for CAM

By: MSF StaffWhat can one expect in health insurance coverage for Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the future? A survey conducted by Landmark HealthCare from November 1998 to January 1999 found that 85 percent of health maintenance organizations (HMO's) believe that the relationship between alternative and allopathic (traditional) medical care will continue to grow.
Health & Wellness

Come To Your Senses With The Alexander Technique

By: MSF Staff and reviewed by the Multiple Sclerosis Medical Advisory BoardWould you like to improve the way you function, the way you move, the way you look, and the way you feel? Would you like to experience the physical sensation of lightness and buoyancy? Would you like to rid your body of unnecessary aches and pains, increase the sense of space between your joints, and reduce stress, fatigue, and general anxiety? All of these things are possible with the Alexander Technique.
Health & Wellness

Breathing Your Way to Better Health

By: MSF Staff and reviewed by Multiple Sclerosis Foundation Medical Advisory BoardBreath is life. Life is breath. The yoga sages of India have embraced this indelible link for centuries, where conscious breathing has long been an integral part of daily life. Western researchers are slowly beginning to acknowledge the importance of the breath. As data continues to accumulate, they are beginning to admit that perhaps the breath is more than just a lot of hot air.
Health & Wellness

Caring for Your Emotional Health

By: Allison Shadday, LCSWWhen treating MS, much attention is focused on physical symptoms. Your doctor may ask about your gait, balance, vision, numbness, and other common MS-related impairments. How you feel on the inside is often ignored or overlooked. This is unfortunate, since people with MS frequently state that the emotional impact of the disease can be as disabling as its physical symptoms.
Health & Wellness