Alternative Therapies for Multiple Sclerosis

Many people with multiple sclerosis will consider trying one or more alternative treatments to help manage the disease or its symptoms.

This is understandable since there is no universally effective treatment and no known cause. However, MS has a natural tendency to improve spontaneously between flares. These episodes of improvements can be inappropriately credited to the alternative treatment. This opens the door to a variety of unsubstantiated claims.

A variety of lifestyle changes including meditation, yoga, exercise and improved diet can be very helpful for those with multiple sclerosis. However, there are many other treatments that have been promoted as treatments for MS, but are ineffective and even potentially dangerous.

A partial list of these "therapies" includes:

  • injections of snake venom
  • electrical stimulation of the spinal cord's dorsal column
  • removal of the thymus gland
  • breathing pressurized (hyperbaric) oxygen in a special chamber
  • injections of beef heart and hog pancreas extracts
  • intravenous or oral calcium orotate (calcium EAP)
  • hysterectomy
  • removal of dental fillings containing silver or mercury amalgams
  • surgical implantation of pig brain into the abdomen.

None of these treatments was shown to be effective therapy for multiple sclerosis or any of its symptoms.

It is important that you inform your doctor of any vitamins, herbal supplements, or alternative treatments that you may be taking since these could have an impact on the effectiveness and safety of other medications that you are prescribed.


© 2010 Vivacare. Last updated May 7, 2013.

Reference: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

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