When you stop to consider that at least half of all multiple sclerosis patients experience pain during the course of their lives that can be either chronic or acute, it is easy to see why treatments for MS pain are always a hot topic. There is however a great deal of debate as to how to treat the pain successfully and whether drugs should be used or if patients would be better off using more natural pain management techniques.
Pharmacological Treatments for MS Pain
Depending on the doctor, drugs are often used as the first line of defense when it comes to treatments for MS pain. One thing that is known is the pains associated with this disease emanate from the central nervous system and as such cannot be relieved using simple over the counter drugs such aspirin or ibuprofen.
Instead doctors turn to a range of anticonvulsant such as Neurontin and Tergetol that are more frequently used for epilepsy. Doctors are not 100% sure how they stop the pain any more than they are about how they work to stop seizures. It still takes trial and error to find the right drug, the right dosage or the right combination of both. It is worth noting that all of these drugs are being used “off label’ as the FDA has not approved any of them use as treatments for MS pain.
Botox the New Frontier
While those in Hollywood and other locations are sunning themselves and keeping the wrinkles at bay with Botox, researchers are testing it for use in helping with the pains associated with MS. Botox has already been in use for several years to help patients with bladder problems and muscle spasticity. Botox works by temporarily paralyzing a muscle or nerve and in many cases during the course these treatments, medical professionals and patients have both noticed that the use of Botox has also had significant effects on the pain.
More studies are needed to confirm the use of Botox as one of the treatments for MS pain, but to date it has shown great promise for use in limited areas. It will not replace the medications necessarily, but can possibly be used for very specific pains like trigeminal neuralgia. The only problem with many of the current drugs is that they do seem to have a wide range of side effects that can be very unpleasant and occasionally dangerous.