Health Conditions / Neurological Health / Multiple Sclerosis

6 People With MS Share How They Manage Symptoms During the Holidays

6 People With MS Share How They Manage Symptoms During the Holidays

So, she says she’s learned little hacks to help her feel a bit more comfortable when she’s out and about. “Often one of the first things I do when I arrive at an event, party, or gathering, is find the seats,” she says. “That way, if I start feeling tired, I know right where to go and can buy myself more time at the gathering.”“I space things out.”Verena Frydberg, 43, breaks things up to make them feel a bit less taxing. “I schedule rest periods between my activities,” she tells SELF. “For example, if I’m going to cook, I get my groceries delivered. I choose ingredients that are already prepped, like chopped onions and chicken that’s pounded thin or cut a certain way. This helps me minimize my time in the kitchen.”Frydberg also gets ready differently than she would have in the past. That means showering the night before and even resting pre-event in the outfit she plans to wear since getting dressed can be a “tiring task” for her.“I learned this about myself years ago,” Frydberg says. “I would spend all day prepping to entertain and leave getting myself ready to the end when I was too exhausted. Then I’d feel uncomfortable about how I looked the whole time we had guests. This was not good in my book, so I figured out how to switch it up.”“I’m incredibly honest.”Landis says she’s very open with loved ones about how she’s feeling. “I’ll say to them, ‘This is what triggers me, and sometimes I don’t know why I’m not feeling well,’” she says. “I’ll be incredibly honest and say, ‘If I cancel on you, it’s not that I don’t love you.’”But she’s still careful not to use MS as a reason to just cancel on people. “I don’t want to use my MS as an excuse or a crutch,” she says.Martin says she’s also learned to be open about what she’s going through—and to learn the power of the word “no.” “I used to hide my symptoms and try to pretend that I was fine and just endure,” she says. “But I always ended up paying for it later and probably missed out on more because of it.” Now, she says no when she’s really not feeling up for something, which allows her to show up fully at other times.“I stay home when I really need to.”Elizabeth Giardina, 45, tells SELF that she also really struggles with fatigue when she has MS flares. “It is almost like everything is heavier and more [tiring], so walking feels like more of an effort,” she explains. “I also have a hard time with cognitive abilities. It sometimes feels like I am running in circles because my brain has a hard time focusing on completing what it set out to do.”Stress typically leads to flares for her, so she’s learned to take a step back during the holidays. She used to feel like she “had to do everything” during this season. “I live a bit further than most of my family so I would often be cooking huge meals and then transporting them to another family member’s home,” Giardina explains. “It got to the point where I realized I was just taking on too much.” Now, she gives herself some wiggle room. “I still cook but try to take at least a few of the days around the holidays to stay home. It is too hard on my body to be doing the cooking and the traveling.”“I put myself first.”It can be hard, but Landis says that “putting yourself first is the most important thing” when it comes to getting through the holidays as someone who lives with MS. “At the end of the day, it’s your body that’s going to have to deal with the consequences,” she says. She recommends picking up the phone and calling someone if you need to skip a gathering, so you can have a verbal conversation. “If they don’t understand, then they weren’t really a good person in your life anyway,” she says.Michelle Tolson, 49, also believes in the power of being firm with your boundaries. “There are times that I push through the fatigue and there are times that I know I can’t do it,” she tells SELF. “I am always honest with my friends about how I am feeling. Having a solid support system is so important when living with a silent and progressive disease like MS.”Related:

Why Christina Applegate Went Barefoot During Her Hollywood Walk of Fame Ceremony

Why Christina Applegate Went Barefoot During Her Hollywood Walk of Fame Ceremony

This isn’t the first time Applegate has talked candidly about her MS symptoms. In a recent interview with The New York Times, the Dead to Me actor shared what it was like to grapple with the neurological condition on set. She told the publication that she felt off-balance while filming a dance scene, and then later had trouble playing tennis. Eventually, she couldn’t ignore the numbness and tingling she felt in her extremities. Sometimes, she had to use a wheelchair while filming and, at one point, a crew member had to physically hold up her legs so she could stand during certain scenes.These are all “very common” symptoms of MS and balance issues are often a “big problem” for people living with the condition, Dr. Jacobs says. “It can lead to a risk for falls, and it’s something that we are very concerned about.”“MS can hit the systems that help you feel and move,” Amit Sachdev, MD, the director of the division of neuromuscular medicine at Michigan State University, tells SELF. “Balance requires feeling the position of the body and adjusting the position. When both feeling and moving are damaged, balance can suffer.”Because of this, Dr. Jacobs says she will often recommend physical and occupational therapy for her MS patients. “Both can offer a lot in terms of your physical stance,” she explains. As for foot pain, Dr. Jacobs says MS can impact sensory pathways in the body, which can trigger a “misinterpretation of sensations.” That can lead to burning and pins-and-needles sensations or even itchiness.While going barefoot can help temporarily alleviate certain symptoms, it’s not always practical. That’s why Dr. Jacobs says she urges people with MS to get “comfortable shoes with a good foundation,” making sure to avoid things like “very high heels” when possible. Customized orthotics can also be helpful for added support and potential pain relief, Suhayl Dhib-Jalbut, MD, the chair of the department of neurology at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, tells SELF.Outside of wearing supportive footwear, using compression socks, and trying various forms of physical therapy, Dr. Jacobs says practicing yoga is also “tremendously helpful for balance.”Applegate later shared on Twitter that she was “incredibly honored” to receive her star. During her speech, she said the support of her loved ones, especially her daughter, has been vital since her diagnosis. “I am blessed every day that I get to wake up and take you to your school,” she said tearfully. “You are my everything. Thank you for standing beside me through all of this.”Related:

How to Talk to Your Kids About Your Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosis

How to Talk to Your Kids About Your Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosis

Overall, Dr. Santos says, it’s crucial to find a time when you can focus on your child to have this conversation—meaning, not when you could be distracted by a work call or when their soccer practice starts in five minutes—and to try to plan the conversation for a time when you think you’ll have the energy for it.Tell them the truth about what MS is and isn’t.“Honesty is the best policy,” Dr. Banwell says, which means getting your child’s biggest fear out of the way upfront: Tell them very clearly that you’re not dying. After that, be honest about what this diagnosis means for you and how your health and daily functioning may change. “You can say that you might have trouble with balance and issues walking in the future,” Dr. Banwell says. Or you can take a page from Benjamin and say that you might get messy while trying to eat spaghetti to try to make the experience relatable.For teenagers and older kids, “really sit down and talk to them about what MS is and isn’t,” Dr. Banwell suggests. That includes having an honest conversation about what a relapse is—a flare-up of symptoms—and what you’ve decided to do about treatment.If your child asks you a question, Dr. Banwell recommends that you’re open with your answer, even if it’s “I don’t know.” That may include some sensitive topics, like saying there’s a chance you may need a wheelchair in the future, if they ask. “You can say, ‘I’ll tell you what I’ve been told and what I know. We’ll learn together,’” Dr. Banwell says.Don’t feel like you need to tell them everything.Many adults prefer to learn as much as they can about a disease when they or a family member are faced with it, Dr. Banwell says. In her experience, children and teenagers often do not, she says, noting that many of her teenage patients say that they don’t necessarily want to know everything about their illness.“It’s important to say that this is a serious diagnosis and talk about what a relapse might be—relapses are what children will see in the coming years,” Dr. Banwell says. “But with respect to future neurodegenerative potential, it’s not necessarily the first thing you need to talk about.”And, again, don’t feel like you need to have all the answers. “It’s okay to say you don’t know the answer to something,” Dr. Santos says. “It’s better to say ‘I don’t know’ than to answer wrong.”Address what this might mean for them.It’s normal to wonder if you’ll develop a health condition that a family member has. Though the risk of developing MS is higher for siblings or children of a person with the condition than it is for the general population, it’s still fairly low. “If a parent has MS, the lifetime risk of their child developing MS is less than 5%,” Dr. Banwell says. “Meaning, there is over a 95% chance they won’t be affected.” She says that sometimes it’s helpful to phrase it in this more positive way instead: “I have this condition, but there is a 95% chance you’ll live without it.”Share your feelings about your diagnosis (if you want to).You’re probably feeling overwhelmed with the news of your diagnosis, and it’s okay to share that with your child—especially if they’re older or mature enough to process what that means. “You can say, ‘I’m scared, I’m upset,’” Dr. Banwell says. What you don’t necessarily need to do is say, “Here’s everything that can happen to me,” she says. That can be overwhelming. “Not all kids have the emotional bandwidth to handle that,” Dr. Banwell points out.

Christina Applegate Shares How Her Subtle MS Symptoms Worsened

Christina Applegate Shares How Her Subtle MS Symptoms Worsened

Applegate said some people working on Dead to Me wanted to end production after she received her diagnosis—but she was determined to see it through. “The powers that be were like, ‘Let’s just stop. We don’t need to finish it. Let’s put a few episodes together,’” she explained. “I said, ‘No. We’re going to do it, but we’re going to do it on my terms.’”As her symptoms progressed, Applegate had to adjust to new logistical challenges on set. She said she had a hard time navigating the steps to her trailer; she sometimes used a wheelchair; and heat made shooting difficult for her, she explained. (High temperatures can exacerbate MS symptoms for some people with the condition, per the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.)Fortunately, Applegate says the Dead to Me team was supportive. Her co-star, Linda Cardellini, who also happens to be a close friend, advocated for her when she needed to take a break but didn’t want to ask for one. “She was my champion, my warrior, my voice,” Applegate said. “It was like having a mama bear.” A sound technician also helped Applegate by physically holding up her legs so she could stand through certain scenes.Even though she stuck with this project until it was done, Applegate said she hasn’t—and doesn’t expect to—reach a point of resolution with her diagnosis: “It’s not like I came to the other side of it, like, ‘Woohoo, I’m totally fine,’” she said.But she’s hopeful that audiences will appreciate the end of the series, for the sake of its characters, Applegate said: “If people hate it, if people love it, that’s not up to me…. But hopefully people can get past it and just enjoy the ride and say goodbye.”Related:

I Was Diagnosed With MS at 20—After My Doctor Completely Dismissed My First Symptom

I Was Diagnosed With MS at 20—After My Doctor Completely Dismissed My First Symptom

Tenley Diaz, 31, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2012 when she was 20 years old. MS is a neurodegenerative disease that causes the immune system to attack myelin, the protective coating that covers the nerve fibers. The ensuing inflammation and damage interrupt communication between your brain and the rest of your body, setting off a wide array of potential symptoms like muscle numbness and weakness, tremors and coordination problems, blurry vision, slurred speech, and heavy fatigue, among others.It was a diagnosis Diaz didn’t see coming. Her first doctor dismissed her initial symptoms, and it took a few tries to find a specialist she trusted. But she found the care she needed—and trusted her intuition that something just wasn’t right. Here’s her story, as told to health writer Korin Miller.—I was a college student just shy of my 21st birthday when my left big toe went numb. I was enrolled in a really competitive major, so I mostly ignored it for a few days. But then I started noticing another unusual symptom.At first, I thought I had a random patch of dry skin on my left thigh—until I eventually realized what was actually happening: I wasn’t feeling my hand touching my skin at all. This sparked a week-long adventure of me half-thinking that I was losing my mind.I finally decided to see a general practitioner about this sudden numbness developing in my body. His response: My pants were too tight. I was advised to take some ibuprofen and wear sweatpants for a few days because he believed I had a pinched nerve—again, allegedly from my too-tight pants. I did not receive this very well, as you can imagine. (My pants were definitely not tight enough to pinch a nerve!)The next day, things got worse. I went numb from the waist down and every step that I took caused a pins-and-needles sensation in my feet. I called an internist I had seen for migraine headaches in the past—there was no way I was going back to the tight-pants doctor—and got an appointment scheduled ASAP. My internist listened to my history and something seemed to click: “I think you have MS. I’m sending you downstairs for an MRI right now,” he said, and so I immediately went in for imaging.Sure enough, thinking back to my symptoms now, the skin I couldn’t feel on my thigh wasn’t dry or “dead”—my brain just wasn’t processing touch in that spot, because my test results were consistent with MS.After my testing, finding the right specialist took some effort.I took a few days off from school to process everything and to find a neurologist who could confirm the diagnosis and help guide my treatment. Luckily, most of my professors were very supportive and helped me rearrange testing and homework due dates to accommodate the few days I took off. (All except one, who ultimately needed a strongly-worded email to take me seriously and let me make up the work I missed.)

Here’s Why Selma Blair Was Blindfolded During Her ‘DWTS’ Performance This Week

Here’s Why Selma Blair Was Blindfolded During Her ‘DWTS’ Performance This Week

Selma Blair danced blindfolded to “For Your Eyes Only” by Sheena Easton on this week’s episode of Dancing With the Stars, and she says the “challenge” was actually “comforting”—a “spiritual, emotional boot camp.” Her partner, Sasha Farber, who guided her through the performance, thought of the idea after he noticed Blair tends to close her eyes while rehearsing.“Dance is a feeling,” Farber said. He noticed that when Blair wanted to feel comfortable, she would “close her eyes a lot when she would feel a disconnection from her brain into her body.”That’s where the blindfold came in. “I figured, let’s give this a go. Let’s blindfold her for the whole dance and see…Take her vision away so we would enhance the feel of the message from the brain,” Farber said, per Entertainment Tonight.“Sasha is never far from me,” Blair noted. “But it was a way to not have too much sensory overload in my head, because it’s exciting and there’s so much going on and people moving, so it was a way to buffer it.”Blair, who has been open about living with multiple sclerosis since her diagnosis in 2018, said she often does this even while completing day-to-day tasks. “I do find that I shut my eyes and it makes me center a lot more. So I kinda calm down,” the 50-year-old actor said. “I was doing it before in life, just the way I would approach things would really raise my nervous system. I can get really quickly kinda frantic because I get overwhelmed, or maybe that’s just my personality or sort of attention span with some things.”Blair also shared this week that she often passes out, and that she recently fainted before a rehearsal. Farber said he told her to take the day off but that she wanted to continue practicing. “The thing is, I pass out a lot,” Blair told Entertainment Tonight. “It’s part of the reason I have Scout [her service dog], and it doesn’t mean I lose consciousness [or] it’s a whole ambulance experience. It’s something that I lose my vision, gravity pulls me down, and I’m very disoriented and gone for a spell.” Earlier in the season, she also said she worried her body would involuntarily freeze during a performance.Since joining DWTS, though, Blair has talked about how much the opportunity has meant to her as an advocate for people with disabilities. “I hoped that by doing this show, I could show people with disabilities the joy that can be found in ways you never expected,” she said in an interview from the September 19 episode.In an interview after Monday night’s routine, Blair spoke about how the blindfold made her feel connected to her late mother, to whom she dedicated her performance. She said even though she “can’t see her,” she felt her presence, adding that “the blindfold was a double meaning to me.”Related:

Selma Blair Worried Her Body Would Freeze During Her First DWTS Performance

Selma Blair Worried Her Body Would Freeze During Her First DWTS Performance

Selma Blair shared what her first performance on Dancing with the Stars really felt like in a new interview with Access Hollywood. “It brought tears to me afterwards,” the 50-year-old actor said as she stood next to her 11-year-old son, Arthur, who mentioned that he’s “really proud” of his mom.Blair, who has been open about living with multiple sclerosis (MS) since her diagnosis in 2018, thanked her dance partner, Sasha Farber, for being so supportive during rehearsals and on-stage. “I’ve never even danced with anyone before…. This was my first dance, and to have Sasha hold me in frame and teach me to have a little better control and calm my breathing down—it meant everything,” she said. “It was beautiful.”Naturally, she got a bit nervous in the lead-up to the show’s September 19 premiere and worried that her body would involuntarily pause during the dance. “I felt the adrenaline, and when I feel the adrenaline some of my body freezes,” she said. “In the dress rehearsal I thought, Oh God, I hope I can find it.” And she did: Her brilliant performance was met by praise (and plenty of tears) from the judges. This included Carrie Ann Inaba, who was visibly emotional as she spoke about her own experience of being a part of the “invisible illness community.”Multiple sclerosis is a chronic neurological condition that affects the central nervous system. As the disease progresses, it can block messages the brain tries to send to the rest of the body. This can lead to wide-ranging, potentially disabling symptoms, including chronic pain, vision problems, muscle weakness, trouble with coordination and balance, numbness and tingling, memory issues, and partial paralysis, among many others. As SELF previously reported, Blair said she often deals with spasticity and dystonia—two potential side effects of multiple sclerosis that affect the muscles—when trying new things, but that she was determined to work through them.In an interview from Monday night’s episode, Blair talked about what it means to be a contestant on DWTS as a person who lives with MS. “I hoped that by doing this show, I could show people with disabilities the joy that can be found in ways you never expected,” she said.Ultimately, her presence on the show offers much-needed representation and inspiration: “The gratitude I feel, if I could ever help someone try something new, especially someone that’s chronically ill and has differences. [That’s what] tonight and the past few weeks have been all about.”Related:

Selma Blair Says Joining ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Is a ‘Powerful’ Moment for Her

Selma Blair Says Joining ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Is a ‘Powerful’ Moment for Her

Since her multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis in 2018, Selma Blair has adapted to many challenges with fierce determination and infectious enthusiasm, so it’s no surprise she’s “beyond thrilled” to join the upcoming season of “Dancing With the Stars” (DWTS).In a recent group interview with Good Morning America (GMA), the 50-year-old actor and author said she’s “grabbing at every joy we have in life,” and is excited about “getting out and moving,” even if her muscles get a bit worked up in the process. “The truth is when I am trying new things I get a lot of spasticity, dystonia,” she said, “and I am okay.”MS is a complex neurological condition that impacts the central nervous system. Experts believe the disease is autoimmune in nature because the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy parts of the body and damages the protective insulation, known as myelin, that forms around nerves. Essentially, this makes it really tough for the brain to communicate with the rest of the body, which can trigger a slew of wide-ranging and potentially disabling symptoms—from muscle weakness and memory problems to chronic pain and even partial paralysis. Spasticity and dystonia, for example, are both disorders that can impact muscle movements.But Blair and her DWTS partner, pro dancer Sasha Farber, see all of this as an opportunity to get a bit imaginative with their routines. “Walking is much harder for me than when I can get into the groove of settling into dance and fluidity,” Blair told Entertainment Tonight (ET). “This is an amazing lesson to use my emotions and body together to unite a little more with the support of Sasha and music.”And Farber finds his partner equally exciting to work with: He told ET that joining forces with Blair “isn’t about a dance competition,” because he genuinely just wants to see her “improve and to grow.” That’s why the duo took things really slow when their practice rounds first started; Farber checked in with Blair before each rehearsal to make sure she wasn’t in pain, and they liked to perform breathing exercises together. “I wasn’t aware of what I could do,” she said, “if I could safely push myself.”Blair has always been candid about the reality of living with MS, including how important mobility aids and adaptive devices are when it comes to figuring out everyday life and being a mom to her 11-year-old son, Arthur.So, a little anxiety is also to be expected. Blair told GMA that she gets nervous “if I lose my partner’s touch,” while dancing, since she’s used to having her dog, Scout, or her cane for support at home—but that’s not going to stop her from enjoying herself on stage, she said: “This is so powerful to me.”Related:

My ‘Ear Infection’ Symptoms Turned Out to Be Early Signs of Multiple Sclerosis

My ‘Ear Infection’ Symptoms Turned Out to Be Early Signs of Multiple Sclerosis

Rita Tennyson, 51, realized something wasn’t quite right with her health when she experienced a string of abnormal and mostly unexplained symptoms in her early twenties. Among them: numbness, muscle weakness, nausea, vertigo, and facial paralysis. At one point she was given an ear infection diagnosis—a doctor said she likely had a virus enter her ear while visiting SeaWorld on a windy day. Over the years, Tennyson had no idea what was going on with her body, but she had a strong feeling that something really wasn’t right.It turns out Tennyson didn’t have an ear infection; she has multiple sclerosis (M.S.), a chronic neurological condition that affects the central nervous system, which includes the brain and spinal cord. M.S. symptoms can vary from person to person, but some of its early signs can include vision problems, numbness and tingling, arm or leg weakness, changes in balance and coordination, and sensitivity to heat. One important thing to understand about M.S. is that it can’t be diagnosed using a single test. Instead, an M.S. diagnosis is made through a combination of things, including a person’s medical history, neurological exam, tests like an MRI and a lumbar puncture (spinal tap), blood tests to rule out other illnesses, and a physical exam. Tennyson’s experience isn’t exactly unique; an M.S. diagnosis can be challenging, and many M.S. symptoms overlap with those of other conditions. This is her story, as told to health writer Beth Krietsch.I learned I have M.S. when I was 26, but the road to an accurate diagnosis was a long one. My symptoms first started the summer after I graduated from college, when I was working as a waitress and randomly dropped something. I had also been experiencing a bit of numbness in my arms, so I went to the doctor and they scheduled me for nerve testing. The results didn’t show that anything was wrong, so they basically just said to let them know if similar symptoms popped up again.The next year I started getting really dizzy and nauseated, and I also had vertigo. I would lie down and not be able to move. If I got up, I would throw up. It got so bad that I went to the E.R., where a doctor told me I must have an inner ear infection. They flushed my ears and sent me on my way, but the relief didn’t last too long.Soon after, I headed back to my hometown for a wedding and brought my boyfriend at the time, who is now my husband. While there, the nausea and vomiting returned, and my mom assumed I was pregnant. But I knew that couldn’t be the case—this was the same nausea I’d been experiencing for a while.The next year I experienced paralysis on one side of my face. It was so bad that I couldn’t even smile or clear my nostril on that side. I was diagnosed with Bell’s palsy, which is a condition that causes temporary paralysis or weakness of the facial muscles, making it look like half your face is drooping. It may sound strange, but I was actually so relieved because it meant I had a concrete diagnosis that people could actually see. Previously so many of my “invisible” symptoms were things I could only feel. Bell’s palsy is something other people could see with their own eyes, so, in a way, I was happy about that.

7 Questions to Ask Your Doctor After an M.S. Diagnosis, From People Who Have Been There

7 Questions to Ask Your Doctor After an M.S. Diagnosis, From People Who Have Been There

Bhuta suggests asking your doctor about physical therapy, including water therapy, which research shows can help control pain and improve symptoms and quality of life among people with M.S.1 “I go to physical therapy more often than normal and it has helped me stay off the muscle relaxers,” Bhuta says.Cubero says speech therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and occupational therapy have all been tremendously helpful in managing her fatigue and cognitive symptoms, but she says these therapies weren’t offered until she asked about them. “I’ve learned that in order to take control over my medical care, I had to advocate for myself,” she says.Azure Antoinette, 39, says one of the most important things she’s learned in the past decade of living with M.S. is the importance of approaching symptom management holistically, factoring in things like exercise and diet, on top of choosing the right medication.“I encourage newly diagnosed M.S. warriors to speak up—not only to discuss what medication may be best for you but also ask your doctor for tips and resources to help with everything else that comes with living with a chronic illness,” Antoinette tells SELF.4. Can I exercise?Staying active was a top concern for dancer Courtney Platt, 34, after her M.S. diagnosis. “Anyone going through this journey should ask whether they can stay active, if there are limitations they should consider, and the benefits of staying active for their health,” she tells SELF. Platt’s neurologist let her know she could continue dancing, and movement has played an important role in keeping her body, mind, and soul strong since her diagnosis.Research shows that exercise benefits people living with M.S. in many ways, including helping with symptom management and improving quality of life.2 Exercise can help build strength, improve flexibility and mobility, and increase cardiovascular fitness, but you may need to adjust your exercise habits depending on your goals, abilities, and how you’re feeling on any given day.3Platt encourages working with your health care team to determine how much movement makes sense for you, and to listen when your body tells you to rest. “Know when you need to push through and know when you need to pause,” she says.5. Will anything make my symptoms worse?Sometimes M.S. symptoms can be triggered by seemingly simple things like stress and heat. Bhuta used to be able to spend tons of time in the sun but now loses energy if she gets too hot. Knowing that heat is a big trigger for her, she now uses cooling towels and wears a big hat to block the sun and prevent overheating. “Ask your doctor about what is likely to trigger your symptoms and what you can do to alleviate them,” Bhuta says.At the time of Bordelon’s diagnosis, her job as a medical surgery coder required long hours and a ton of computer time. But she had no idea that all that screen time (and the eyestrain that comes along with it) and the increased stress of working long hours would make her M.S. symptoms worse. “Had I known that staring at the computer screen would cause additional stress on my body and ultimately worsen my symptoms, I would have scaled back on my workload while I was finding the right treatment to manage my M.S.,” she says.6. Is there anything I can do to feel more prepared to deal with my symptoms on a day-to-day basis?You’re not alone if you feel worried and overwhelmed after an M.S. diagnosis. To alleviate some of that anxiousness, ask your doctor what you can do to prepare for symptom flares and to manage your condition on a daily basis. “Are there ‘just in case’ medicines they can prescribe? Is there support equipment that you can have in your house, like shower chairs and handles, canes, and walkers? Whatever you need, ask for it,” Bhuta says. If you find certain tasks have become more difficult, let your doctor know, and ask them what might help.7. How can I connect with others who have multiple sclerosis?You may feel alone and isolated after being diagnosed with M.S., but there are many other people out there feeling the exact same way who are also looking for some support. Ask your doctor how and where you can connect with people who have M.S. There may be a support group in your area, or you can connect with people on social media or join an online support group.“I highly recommend getting involved with the M.S. community because it will help you feel more normal and give you the comfort you need,” Bhuta says. “I spent a lot of time on the MS Society forums, and they will even pair you up with someone who has been diagnosed that you can talk to about your journey.”Bottom line: Know that it’s completely acceptable to advocate for yourself and ask lots of questions. “You’re not in this alone and the only way people know how to help you is if you speak up,” Bhuta says. “You allow people to see what you’re experiencing only by vocalizing it. Speak up often—it will be your greatest ally.”Sources:Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Hydrotherapy for the Treatment of Pain in People With Multiple Sclerosis: A Randomized Controlled TrialThe Lancet Neurology, Exercise in Patients With Multiple SclerosisSports Medicine, Exercise and Multiple SclerosisRelated:

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