The MemorialCare Neuroscience Institute at Long Beach Medical Center offers world-class care for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Our team’s research focus allows us to provide novel, advanced MS treatments. Our dedicated specialists have decades of combined experience and training in the diagnosis and management of MS.
What is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic nervous system disorder. In MS, the immune system attacks the fatty substance that surrounds and protects nerves (myelin). The myelin breakdown can lead to scar tissue buildup (sclerosis). When this occurs, the nerves have trouble sending electrical signals to the brain.
MS symptoms can vary significantly. Some people have minor symptoms, while others have frequent and severe symptoms. MS may cause:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Muscle weakness
- Numbness or tingling
- Speech changes
- Tremors or involuntary muscle movements (spasms)
- Vision changes, such as double vision or color distortion
To diagnose MS, patients usually have a range of tests. Our specialists may use:
- Blood tests to rule out conditions that could have symptoms similar to MS
- Evoked potential tests to check if certain areas of the brain send or receive sensory messages more slowly than usual
- MRI to check the myelin breakdown or scar tissue on the brain or spinal cord
- Spinal tap (lumbar puncture)
- Visual field tests to check for changes in eyesight
- Medications: Some medicines reduce inflammation and slow the progression of MS. Others, such as steroids, can help speed recovery from an MS flare-up.
- Rehabilitation services: Many people with MS benefit from physical therapy or occupational therapy.
- A physical therapist can help you learn to use assistive devices such as canes or walkers. They also help you improve motor skills, muscle strength, mobility, balance, and function.
- An occupational therapist can teach techniques to help you perform daily activities and enhance your independence.