Multiple Sclerosis
 
 

Multiple Sclerosis

Morton Plant Mease has extensive experience treating people with multiple sclerosis (MS)—a disease of the central nervous system that includes the brain, spinal cord and nerves. MS causes a variety of often debilitating symptoms caused by damage to myelin (the insulating covering of nerves).

Our experienced team of neurologists is well-equipped to offer the specialized diagnosis and care required by MS patients. Our neurology team also includes specially trained rehabilitation specialists, rheumatologists, and psychiatrists who assist in planning and delivering treatment.

Symptoms

Symptoms generally appear between the ages of 20 and 40. Initial symptoms may be very mild, and can include tingling, loss of balance, weakness and blurred or double vision.  As the disease progresses, patients can suffer from extreme fatigue, tremors, heat sensitivity, and muscle spasms in the arms and legs that can impair normal body movement. Many patients also experience dizziness or vertigo, difficulty swallowing,  decreased concentration or decreased memory, vision problems and abnormal sensations such as "pins and needles," numbness, itching, burning, or a stabbing pains.    

The initial symptoms of MS can be caused by other neurological conditions, so Morton Plant Mease's ability to provide extensive testing is important to ensure accurate diagnosis and treatment. After providing a medical history of their symptoms, patients will undergo examination by a neurologist to look at the function of the patient’s nervous system including gait, muscle strength, coordination and balance, sensation, vision, speech, as well as memory and thinking. An MRI imaging exam that shows the brain, neck, spinal cord and soft tissues may indicate areas where the myelin has been damaged. Laboratory analysis of a small amount of spinal fluid may also be used in diagnosis.

Treatment

Morton Plant Mease's neurosciences staff takes a multidisciplinary approach to the management of all neurological diseases, including MS. Treatment includes managing the symptoms, as well as treating the disease itself so that permanent damage can be prevented or postponed.

Several drug treatments are available to reduce flare-ups of MS, and other drugs are used to treat symptoms during an attack. Corticosteroids are prescribed to reduce inflammation in nerve tissue and shorten the duration of flare-ups. Muscle relaxants can help patients control muscle movement and reduce muscle spasms. Our patients also benefit from medications to reduce fatigue and to address depression, pain and bladder or bowel control problems that can be associated with MS.

We also offer physical and occupational therapy to help patients preserve independence through strengthening exercises and devices to ease daily tasks. Individual or group therapy may help people with MS and their families cope with the disease and relieve emotional stress.

For more information about the Neuroscience Institute's treatment options for multiple sclerosis, please call (727) 461-8635.

The Neurosciences Institute
at Ptak Orthopaedic & Neuroscience Pavilion
430 Morton Plant Street
Clearwater, FL 33756
(727) 461-8635