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Finding the Right Multiple Sclerosis Treatment

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7 Mistakes That People with MS Make

Doctor William C Lloyd Healthgrades Medical Reviewer
Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Linda Wasmer Smith on July 16, 2021

No doubt about it: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a challenging disease. But it’s a challenge you can manage by learning about MS and making smart lifestyle and treatment decisions. Read on to find out how well you’re doing already—and how to make even better choices in the future.

  • nurse-guiding-patient
    Mistake 1: Not Opening Up to Your Doctor
    Some people hesitate to bring up sensitive issues—such as problems with sex, bladder control, forgetfulness, or depression—at doctor visits. Remember that other MS patients also have these concerns. Your doctor has successfully managed these same problems for them, and can suggest effective strategies to help you. But first, you have to share what’s on your mind.
  • Syringe
    Mistake 2: Delaying Disease-Modifying Drugs
    Disease-modifying drugs (injections: Avonex, Betaseron, Copaxone, Extavia, Rebif, Ocrevus; oral: Aubagio, Gilenya, Tecfidera) may reduce MS flares and decrease worsening of the disease. Some people put off starting these powerful medications because they fear injections or worry about side effects and costs. Yet, the best clinical research has proven these drugs are most helpful early in the disease.
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  • women doing water aerobics
    Mistake 3: Ceasing Physical Activity
    MS may sap your energy or limit certain physical activities, but it’s vitally important to keep moving. Regular physical activity improves your overall health, stamina, and mood. Plus, it helps manage MS symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, and tight muscles. Ask your doctor about the best exercise plan for you.
  • woman-sitting-cross-legged
    Mistake 4: Letting Stress Get Out of Control
    MS can be a difficult, unpredictable disease. You can’t always avoid stress. You can control how you respond to it. Proven stress-busters include yoga, meditation, exercise, positive thinking, and time with family and friends. Support groups and counseling may help, as well.
  • Man in a wheelchair
    Mistake 5: Refusing to Use a Mobility Aid
    Some people with MS resist using a cane, walker, or scooter when needed, viewing it as a sign of disability. Using a mobility aid actually helps you maximize your abilities while preventing accidental injuries. It gets you where you want to go while saving energy, so you can be more active once you arrive.
  • closeup of hand holding onto shower grab bar
    Mistake 6: Putting Off Home Modifications
    Don’t wait until you’re struggling to adapt your home for MS. By modifying your home now, you can save energy, boost comfort, avoid falls, and stay more independent. Examples of helpful changes include good lighting, smooth nonskid flooring, grab bars, and easy-to-reach storage. Consult an occupational therapist for personalized suggestions.
  • Pharmacy-medication-bottle-with-prescription-pad
    Mistake 7: Quitting MS Treatment
    Disease-modifying drugs for MS are meant to be taken long-term. Some people quit taking them due to unrealistic expectations or unpleasant (but manageable) side effects. Yet sticking with treatment is the best way to slow the disease. If you have concerns, talk with your doctor, but don’t just stop your treatment.
7 Mistakes People With MS Make
  1. Emotional Changes. National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
  2. Adherence. National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
  3. At Home with MS: Adapting Your Environment. National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
  4. Making the Most of Your Doctor Visits. National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
  5. Physical Activity for People with Multiple Sclerosis. National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
  6. How to Choose the Mobility Device That's Right for You. National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
  7. Fact Sheet on Stress. National Institutes of Health. National Institute of Mental Health.
  8. Multiple Sclerosis: Hope Through Research. National Institutes of Health. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
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Last Review Date: 2021 Jul 16
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.