7 Myths About Multiple Sclerosis

  • MS Myth or Fact?
    Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common neurological disease leading to disability in young adults. Chances are, you’ve at least heard of MS, and perhaps you’re even living with the disease yourself. Yet, despite its familiarity, MS is widely misunderstood. Have you fallen for any of these common myths?

  • Myth 1: MS is the Same for Everyone
    MS affects each person differently. Most people with the disease have short flare-ups with long periods of relief in between. Others have steadily worsening symptoms that cause increasing disability over time. And still others have a mild version of MS with little or no disability.

  • Myth 2: Nothing Can Be Done for MS
    While MS can’t be cured yet, it can be treated. Disease-modifying drugs (injections: Avonex, Betaseron, Copaxone, Extavia, Rebif; oral: Aubagio, Gilenya, Tecfidera) may reduce flare-ups and delay the worsening of the disease. These medications are designed to prevent further nerve damage and preserve nerve function. Various other treatments—such as medications, physical therapy, massage, heat, and relaxation training—may ease specific symptoms.

  • Myth 3: Disease-Modifying Drugs Make You Feel Better
    Inside your body, MS attacks the protective sheath around nerve fibers. Disease-modifying drugs work behind the scenes to reduce this disease activity. In the long run, that may slow down the progression of your disease. But it won’t relieve symptoms you already have. You need other treatments for that, such as additional medications, lifestyle changes, and stress management.

  • Myth 4: Women with MS Can’t Have Kids
    Women are twice as likely as men to have MS, and the disease typically starts during the childbearing years. Generally, pregnancy doesn’t seem to make MS worse in the long run. Likewise, MS doesn’t increase the risk for infertility, miscarriage, birth defects, or problems with labor and delivery.

  • Myth 5: MS Means You Have to Quit Working
    One-quarter of people with MS are still working 20 years after diagnosis. So don’t make a snap decision to quit your job. First, carefully consider your personal wishes and legal rights. You may be feeling much better in a just a few weeks/months. If you want to keep working, look into job accommodations that could help you stay productive and comfortable at work.

  • Myth 6: Removing Dental Fillings Helps MS
    You may have heard that dental fillings containing mercury cause MS, and removing them helps treat the disease. There’s no scientific evidence to support this claim, however. While it’s true that mercury poisoning can harm your nervous system, that type of nerve damage is different from what’s seen in MS.

  • Myth 7: Mobility Aids Are Only for Those Who Can’t Walk
    Some people think of using a cane, walker, scooter, or wheelchair as a last resort for those who can’t get around any other way. In reality, many MS sufferers with milder walking problems use a mobility aid when necessary. For instance, they might use it when they’re tired, or if they want to keep pace with others. Timely use of mobility aids can also prevent accidental injury.

7 Myths About Multiple Sclerosis
  1. Adherence. National Multiple Sclerosis Society. http://www.nationalmssociety.org/Treating-MS/Medications/Adherence
  2. Should I Work? Information for Employees Living with MS. National Multiple Sclerosis Society. http://www.nationalmssociety.org/NationalMSSociety/media/MSNationalFiles/Brochures/Brochure-Should-I...
  3. Pregnancy and Reproductive Issues. National Multiple Sclerosis Society. http://www.nationalmssociety.org/Living-Well-With-MS/Family-and-Relationships/Pregnancy
  4. Clear Thinking About Alternative Therapies. National Multiple Sclerosis Society. http://www.nationalmssociety.org/NationalMSSociety/media/MSNationalFiles/Brochures/Brochure-Clear-Th...
  5. Multiple Sclerosis: Hope Through Research. National Institutes of Health. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/multiple_sclerosis/detail_multiple_sclerosis.htm
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Last Review Date: 2019 Jul 4
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