Treating Relapses, To Treat or Not To Treat?


Treating Relapses: To Treat or Not To Treat?

Last week we discussed what relapses look like, including those pesky pseudo-exacerbations. This week we will be covering how to treat a relapse. The opinion about such treatment, and more importantly, when treatment is necessary, seems to have changed since I was first diagnosed.

Should you Treat?

Last week I mentioned that at the root of all relapses is inflammation, so therefore the goal of treatment of relapses is to reduce inflammation. But what relapses require treatment? That’s a good question. It seems to come down to quality of life and level of impairment caused by the relapse. If you are experiencing mild* symptoms (sensory changes, mild fatigue), then treatment might not be necessary. But if you are experiencing severe symptoms (optic neuritis that impairs vision, severe weakness that interferes with walking), that interfere with your daily life and ability to go about your daily activities, then treatment might be warranted.
This is an interesting change. When I was first diagnosed, and going through my relapses years ago, it seemed like everything was treated, nothing was left to “take it’s course”, like it is today. If this mentality was around back then, or adopted by my doctor, I may not have treated several of my relapses like I did. 

Available Treatments

Once you’ve determined this is a severe relapse, and you do need treatment, there are several options available.
  • Steroid medications. Solu-Medrol (methylprednisolone) is the old standby. This is a 3 to 5 day course of IV steroids usually given in a hospital or infusion center. This medication is so effective because it works to relieve inflammation and it is able to close the blood brain barrier. There are several other types of corticosteroids used during an MS relapse including dexamethazone, prednisone, betamethasone and prednisolone. I’ve had Solu-Medrol three different times and my reaction to it was always the same, it totally wiped me out. I never got the crazy energy, or Hulk like emotions that some people experience. I got quite the opposite, which some people do feel, although not as common.
  • Acthar Gel. Acthar Gel is a treatment in injectable form that is a purified preparation of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). ACTH stimulates the adrenal cortex gland to secrete cortisol, corticosterone and aldosterone. With Acthar Gel, ACTH is delivered in a extended release formula. It is given once a day for 2 to 3 weeks and is injected into the muscle or under the skin. It is then absorbed slowly into the bloodstream. This works a little differently then steroid medication by helping the body to produce it’s on steroid hormones that reduce inflammation. This is an alternative option for people that have trouble tolerating corticosteroid medication and their side effects.
  • Plasmapheresis. In layman’s terms, plasma exchange. This is a treatment option for people whose relapse and symptoms do not respond to steroid treatment. It is a difficult process that includes several steps. 1. Blood is taken from the person. 2. Plasma is removed from the blood and replaced. 3. Blood is transfused back into the person. This is been a successful treatment for other autoimmune disease is because it removes antibodies from the blood, but is only considered as a last resort for treatment of MS relapse is at this time. It is also not approved by the FDA as a treatment specifically for an MS relapse.
  • Intervaneous Immunoglobulin (IVIG). This is another treatment that is only used in situations where other treatments have failed. This treatment uses human immunoglobulin, an antibody from healthy individuals, as an injection to help boost the immune response. This is also not an FDA approved treatment for MS relapses.

Long Term Effects

The jury seems to be still out on whether or not treating a relapse will 1, improve the relapse symptoms faster and 2, slow overall progression of the disease. In theory, you would think that treating a relapse with inflammation blasting steroids would improve both the length of the relapse and your overall disease progression. But it might not work like that (how unfortunate). So it’s up to us as patients to decide how we want to proceed when a relapse strikes.
How have you handled your relapses? Have you treated all of them, or have you left some to resolve on their own? Let me know!
*A quick note about mild symptoms. I really hate the term mild symptoms. In my opinion, and experience, even the “mild” symptoms they speak of are quick obnoxious and can interfere with quality of life. When my leg is burning or numb, it doesn’t feel mild, even though doctors consider it mild! 
 
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I help women who have also been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis make specific and personalized diet, lifestyle & subconscious changes so that they can begin to heal their body, reduce disease symptoms, and return to a life they love.hey there,

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In case you needed to hear that today.

You’re not a failure.
You didn’t “fail” at healing.
Having MS is hard- do what’s best for you.

In case you needed to hear that today.

You’re not a failure.
You didn’t “fail” at healing.
Having MS is hard- do what’s best for you.
...

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This is my challenge to you over the next week.

Take some time and think about this past year.

All you’re proud of, all you’ve accomplished. And if you have some things that don’t bring you joy, be proud of yourself for making it through in one piece and still being here.

Reflection is a great way to cultivate motivation to keep going..

You’re doing amazing.
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Comparison is the thief of joy.

Regardless of what you see others doing,
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What moments in your journey have given you hope lately?

This took me completely by surprise, cause I usually roast myself after a simple mistake 🙈

But, I just didn’t? 🤷🏻‍♀️

Working on self improvement is weird.
Like I’m not even consciously working on how I talk to myself at the moment.

Have I in the past? Sure. And it’s something I try to stay conscious of, but def have my moments where I fall into old patterns.

But this moment gave me hope.

What moments in your journey have given you hope lately?
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👉🏼Feeling stuck with your MS symptoms?
👉🏼Feeling like your body betrayed you and is working against you?
👉🏼Are you worried you’re stuck like this and will never get better?

I get it. At one point I did too.

Years ago I was experiencing “Aggressive MS” and I thought I’d never function the same.

I thought my days of moving how I wanted, or doing anything on a whim were over.

I couldn’t walk well, couldn’t feel my body correctly and I was SCARED.

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I’m confident in the ways I’m helping myself.
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👉🏼Feeling stuck with your MS symptoms?
👉🏼Feeling like your body betrayed you and is working against you?
👉🏼Are you worried you’re stuck like this and will never get better?

I get it. At one point I did too.

Years ago I was experiencing “Aggressive MS” and I thought I’d never function the same.

I thought my days of moving how I wanted, or doing anything on a whim were over.

I couldn’t walk well, couldn’t feel my body correctly and I was SCARED.

But now?
I’m confident in the ways I’m helping myself.
I no longer have aggressive MS.
I can move how I want, when I want.

Because of the changes I’ve made over the years.

No, it’s not easy, but that’s where I come in!!

I’ve dedicated my life to helping those with MS realize that feeling better is possible and helping them get there.

My 2 courses and my membership are on sale this weekend for Black Friday,

want to start your own success story??

Comment SUCCESS below and I’ll send you the link!!
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The first step to being successful with managing stress (& being successful with anything really) is:

Awareness of where you currently are.

You can’t change or manage what you’re not aware of.

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Right now as you read this, pause for a sec.
Take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

Where were my thoughts?
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Get really honest here too (warning- it might be uncomfy)

What did you discover while checking in? Let me know in the comments!

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If we haven’t met yet, Hi! 👋🏼👋🏼 I’m Alissa. I’m a Holistic Practitioner & Therapist specializing in MS. 
I use all the tools I’ve comprised over my 10+ year career (and 14+ years with MS) to help my clients with MS decrease their symptoms, improve their overall health and get back to living life on their terms, not MS’ terms.
Interested to hear how that might look for you? Comment 🧡 below or DM me and we’ll chat!

The first step to being successful with managing stress (& being successful with anything really) is:

Awareness of where you currently are.

You can’t change or manage what you’re not aware of.

You can only know yourself as deep as you’re awareness of yourself goes.

Try this:
Right now as you read this, pause for a sec.
Take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

Where were my thoughts?
Where is my breathing?
What am I saying to myself?

Get really honest here too (warning- it might be uncomfy)

What did you discover while checking in? Let me know in the comments!

-
-
If we haven’t met yet, Hi! 👋🏼👋🏼 I’m Alissa. I’m a Holistic Practitioner & Therapist specializing in MS.
I use all the tools I’ve comprised over my 10+ year career (and 14+ years with MS) to help my clients with MS decrease their symptoms, improve their overall health and get back to living life on their terms, not MS’ terms.
Interested to hear how that might look for you? Comment 🧡 below or DM me and we’ll chat!
...

14 1
Progress is absolutely not linear.

But, it’s still progress nonetheless.

I see you if you’re in a “dip” or feel like you’re going “backwards”

You’re really not, you’re right where you should be.

Keep going!!
🧡❤️🧡

Progress is absolutely not linear.

But, it’s still progress nonetheless.

I see you if you’re in a “dip” or feel like you’re going “backwards”

You’re really not, you’re right where you should be.

Keep going!!
🧡❤️🧡
...

22 1
Lol, all this got me was an MS diagnosis. 

This was me basically my whole life up until a few years ago.

My clients have all talked about situations like this too.

It’s no wonder why a lot of us have an autoimmune disease now. 

Please, speak your truth. Your body will thank you.

If we haven’t met yet, Hi! 👋🏼👋🏼 I’m Alissa.
I’m a Holistic Practitioner & Therapist specializing in MS.

I use all the tools I’ve comprised over my 10+ year career (and 14+ years with MS) to help my clients with MS decrease their symptoms, improve their overall health and get back to living life on their terms, not MS’ terms.

Interested to hear how that might look for you? Comment 🧡 below or DM me and we’ll chat!

Lol, all this got me was an MS diagnosis.

This was me basically my whole life up until a few years ago.

My clients have all talked about situations like this too.

It’s no wonder why a lot of us have an autoimmune disease now.

Please, speak your truth. Your body will thank you.

If we haven’t met yet, Hi! 👋🏼👋🏼 I’m Alissa.
I’m a Holistic Practitioner & Therapist specializing in MS.

I use all the tools I’ve comprised over my 10+ year career (and 14+ years with MS) to help my clients with MS decrease their symptoms, improve their overall health and get back to living life on their terms, not MS’ terms.

Interested to hear how that might look for you? Comment 🧡 below or DM me and we’ll chat!
...

90 4
This has been a TOUGH week friends.

Don’t lose yourself.

What else would you add to this list?
What helps you when life is super hard?

❤️❤️

This has been a TOUGH week friends.

Don’t lose yourself.

What else would you add to this list?
What helps you when life is super hard?

❤️❤️
...

20 2
I’ve been actively working on my nervous system for the past year or two.

That hasn’t meant that all my anxiety or depression magically vanished.

It just means that when I do find myself feeling like an anxious mess or a depressed puddle, I know how to attend to and care for myself.

Not in the goal of “fixing” per se, more honoring and accepting.

This is one of the ways I help my clients improve their MS symptoms, but attending to their nervous systems and improving their stress response and resilience.

I have so many ways to work with me.. from 1:1 support to my free community.. comment below “interested” and we’ll chat about what would be right for you!

I’ve been actively working on my nervous system for the past year or two.

That hasn’t meant that all my anxiety or depression magically vanished.

It just means that when I do find myself feeling like an anxious mess or a depressed puddle, I know how to attend to and care for myself.

Not in the goal of “fixing” per se, more honoring and accepting.

This is one of the ways I help my clients improve their MS symptoms, but attending to their nervous systems and improving their stress response and resilience.

I have so many ways to work with me.. from 1:1 support to my free community.. comment below “interested” and we’ll chat about what would be right for you!
...

18 2

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