Complement Ther Nurs Midwifery 2003 Feb;9(1):5-9
Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital, 1053 Great Western Road, Glasgow G12 9UY, UK
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common disease of the central nervous system affecting people between the ages of 20 and 40 years in the UK, Northern Europe and the USA.
No definitive treatment yet exists to halt the almost inevitable decline in function and accumulation of disability over the years in sufferers.
Management is largely directly of symptoms which arise variably in the course of the condition.
Such problems as urinary incontinence, sexual dysfunction, cramps and spasms, tremor and trigeminal neuralgia can often be helped to some extent using conventional therapies.
These treatments though are not effective in everyone, or cause unacceptable side-effects and there are some commonly reported symptoms, such as fatigue or emotional lability for which there are no generally accepted treatments.
Here, a knowledge of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) can bring benefits to the person with MS.
CAM is widely used by people with MS and some studies in this area are briefly summarised.
It is interesting to reflect what lies behind all this CAM use and what that might tell conventional medicine about just what it is the MS sufferer really wants from their carers.Homeopathy is a form of CAM unique in the UK in having been available in the NHS since the foundation in 1948.
Medical homeopaths in the UK have always been concerned with the integration of the best of conventional and complementary treatments for the benefit of their patients.
Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital has around 100 admissions each year of people with MS at different stages of the condition and aims at an integrated response to their distress.
Different therapeutic modalities are employed, but a homeopathic approach in particular is of benefit in MS.
By its nature, it is a whole-person approach and allows for complete individualisation of treatment, taking account of the minutiae of someone's life.
This is discussed and some examples of homeopathic treatments, which seem to be more generalisable for commonly encountered MS symptoms, are given.