Tips From a Doctor: 8 Ideas for Managing Life with MS

  • by  Dr. Barry Singer, MD
  •   November 12, 2018

Dr. Singer is a paid spokesperson for Teva Neuroscience, Inc.

Whether you’ve been living with multiple sclerosis for awhile or are newly diagnosed, it’s always a good idea to be your own advocate. Check out a few of my tips to help empower you to find ways to manage living with MS.

  1. Advocate for your health.

    Learn about relapsing MS (RMS) and treatment options like COPAXONE® (glatiramer acetate injection).

    Speak up if you aren’t tolerating your medication or feel that it’s not working to control your RMS.

    Find a great medical team that meets your needs.

    Prepare for your appointments by writing down your questions and bringing them to your next appointment with your neurologist.

    Review your MRI with your healthcare provider.

  2. Take your medication as prescribed.

    Decide on a treatment with your healthcare provider and then stick with the plan. Therapy is very important. Inconsistently taking medication or stopping medications can result in new MS attacks (relapses), new MRI activity and/or worsening disability.

    Keep taking the medication. Even if you are not having symptoms, the disease has NOT gone away since ongoing inflammation can still be occurring in the nervous system.

    In some situations, it is possible that your prescription medication may be switched to a generic without you or your doctor's knowledge or approval. Discuss your questions about a switch to a generic medication with your healthcare provider.

  3. Track your progress.

    Monitoring MS for disease worsening using MRI scans is important. Even on treatment, some people with MS can have new MRI activity that might prompt a change in MS treatment even if they don't have new MS symptoms. Ask your doctor how often you should meet for MRIs.

    Discuss options with your doctor if cost for MRI scans is an issue.

  4. Call your doctor if you have new symptoms.

    Speak up if you are experiencing new or worsening MS symptoms. Many options exist for treatment of specific symptoms such as tingling/burning sensations, bladder problems and depression, and early treatment is beneficial.

  5. Exercise regularly.

    Talk to your healthcare provider about finding an appropriate exercise regimen based on your abilities and limitations.

    Stationary exercise bikes are a great way to improve leg strength without worrying about balance.

    Yoga can help with balance and stretching.

    Swimming keeps the body cool so endurance can be increased and does not require good balance.

    Weights and squeeze balls are a useful way to maintain arm strength.

  6. Eat a healthy diet.

    Lots of vegetables and fruits are important for nutrients but also help prevent constipation, which is common with MS.

    Lean protein, such as fish and chicken, supports your muscles. Fatty fishes, such as salmon, are also a good source of vitamin D.

    Don’t forget to stay hydrated by drinking water, as proper hydration can help prevent constipation.

  7. Plan ahead.

    Make a plan ahead of time in case you have a relapse. MS is unfortunately not predictable.

    Ask family members, friends or neighbors if they can help out.

    Complete Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) paperwork with your employer to secure time off work for relapses and/or treatments.

    Organize accessible hotel rooms, airport assistance and consider renting a scooter, if needed, at your destination. If you plan to travel, plan ahead!

  8. Think positively.

    Focus on those things you enjoy and readjust your goals if necessary. MS can frequently be frustrating and can lead to depression.

    Seek medical attention if you are experiencing poor mood. 

I hope you enjoyed reading these tips and remember to always speak with your doctor about other ways to manage your MS. You can also register if you’d like to receive posts from other neurologists, nurses or people living with MS.

Dr. Barry Singer, MD

Neurologist

Dr. Barry Singer, MD, is a paid spokesperson for Teva Neuroscience, Inc.

About The Author

Barry Singer, MD is the Director of the MS Center for Innovations in Care at Missouri Baptist Medical Center.

See Important Safety Information below and full Prescribing Information for Copaxone® (glatiramer acetate Injection).

COP-45500 July 2018
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26 Comment(s)
  • Judy | July 24, 2017
    Great information. Has helped me remember things I had forgotten.
    • Teva's Lift MS® Team | July 25, 2017
      Thanks, Judy. Best wishes!
  • Rosa tejeda  | July 27, 2017
    😊 thank you
  • Betty Ann Courtenay | July 27, 2017
    Thank you. This was extremely helpful. My identical twin sister was diagnosed with MS in September 2106 and it's been a definite uphill battle. Any other advice or tips in dealing with this horrendous disease would be greatly appreciated.
    Sincerely,
    Betty Courtenay
  • Peggy | July 27, 2017
    Such good simple advice,Prayers for All who are dealing with MS , Keep Positive
    • Teva's Lift MS® Team | July 27, 2017
      Thank you for sharing such kind words, Peggy.
  • Debbie | July 27, 2017
    These are items I try to use and they do help. I've had MS over 11 years and continue to be active & positive.
    • Teva's Lift MS® Team | July 27, 2017
      Please keep us posted on your progress, Debbie. We’ll be thinking of you.
  • Kristen  | July 27, 2017
    It was very informative and I knew a lot of it but because my memory isn't always the greatest I need to be reminded. Thank you. I appreciate information and uplifting thoughts. I was raised around M.S. (My mother's mom had it and died from it. My dad's dad had it also and lived till he was 82) Because of them having M.S. I inherited their immune system and couldn't fight M.S. so here I am.
    • Teva's Lift MS® Team | July 28, 2017
      We’re glad that you opened up and shared your story, Kristen. We hope you’ll continue to lean on the community for support.
  • Sue | July 27, 2017
    MS people are just like quote regular end quote people stay positive look at the beauty of life. All the time that you are angry or sorry for yourself is that much less time that you can be happy. Moderation moderation moderation! Smile smile smile! Besides you look better when you smile! And then you feel better too!
    • Teva's Lift MS® Team | July 28, 2017
      Thanks for sharing, Sue.
  • Mary Ellen Worley  | July 27, 2017
    Thank you for posting the suggestions. I did inform the Dr. On my falling but not sure if he gets what the nurse writes down.
  • God bless you!
  • Jessica | July 27, 2017
    Excellent article!
    • Teva's Lift MS® Team | July 28, 2017
      We’re glad you like the blog, Jessica! Check out Teva’s Lift MS Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/liftms. We think you’ll like it.
  • Diana bonilla | July 28, 2017
    Trying to stay positive .. So far is been 8 yrs.. Its hard .. I will do my best. God bless y'all..
    • Teva's Lift MS® Team | July 28, 2017
      We love your fighting spirit, Diana. Thank you for sharing.
  • Ben | July 28, 2017
    This is very helpful
  • Paula | July 28, 2017
    Nice article.
  • Darlena | July 28, 2017
    Me and my boy friend we argue about sex because it's not appealing to me he says I'm just using ms for and excuse . I'm not can't help it just don't like it
  • Renee Grady. | July 28, 2017
    Very helpful.
  • Donna | July 28, 2017
    I wish I had other people's to talk to cause I feel along about my illness
    • Teva's Lift MS® Team | July 28, 2017
      If you’d like to further connect, we recommend visiting Teva’s Lift MS Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/liftms. There, you can find a community filled with MS patients and Care Partners that may give you a lift in your day.
  • Barbara | July 28, 2017
    Trying to live with MS without health insurance. And alone. Fighting for SSI since they've deniedme so long I don't qualify for disability.
  • Melinda Joines | July 28, 2017
    Thank you!
  • Linda | July 31, 2017
    You did not mention rest. I must nap for a short while every day or I will be totally used up physically and mentally by early evening. I call my nap "recharging my battery". Everyone in my family knows this is a daily MUST for me.
  • Frankye Holland  | August 06, 2017
    Drop foot is my problem
  • Phyllis | August 19, 2017
    Thank so much cause were I live I really don't have no one to talk to. So when I come on a page like this it really helps me.
    • Teva's Lift MS® Team | August 21, 2017
      Because you like the blog, Phyllis, you should check out Teva’s Lift MS Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/liftms.
  • I just now found out I have Ms I've had it for a couple years but was just being diagnosed with other things I look forward to getting the proper help and learning more about it any information that you can send me will be
  • Margie | September 16, 2017
    Thanks for the tips! I'll try to do all of them consistently!
    • Teva's Lift MS® Team | September 18, 2017
      You just made our day, Margie!
  • Margaret | September 26, 2017
    Dr. Singer. Thank you for your suggestion about writing down questions for my neurologist. I sometimes forget things that I wanted to ask. Also, for a while I didn't travel too much per the fact that my legs tire when I walk any distance. I use a cane. Recently though I have traveled with my husband, we ask the airlines for a wheel chair transportation person, we tip him/her, they take you to gate
  • Ralph | November 13, 2018
    Thanks for these tips to ask my neurologist this next week. What can a person do if your insurance not going to support you on your current medication for MS?
  • Georgia | November 13, 2018
    Thank you for the concise instruction I forget how I can care for myself and I need the support that you hand out
    • Teva's Lift MS® Team | November 14, 2018
      Hurray! We love hearing that Lift MS has been helpful – that’s just what we intended! We appreciate your part in those efforts, Georgia.