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Multiple Sclerosis and Acupuncture Treatment



Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurodegenerative disease prevalent in the UK, characterized by widespread demyelination of white matter in the central nervous system. The symptoms are diverse and fluctuating, ranging from motor dysfunctions to autonomic nervous system disorders such as urinary retention and incontinence. Acupuncture, alongside other physical and alternative therapies, has been employed in the treatment of MS. It shows promise in aiding the recovery of motor functions in early-stage patients and stabilizing symptoms in mid to late stages of the disease.


The acupuncture points and techniques for treating motor dysfunction in MS are similar to those used for post-stroke hemiplegia, generally focusing on the directly affected limbs. Light stimulation therapy is commonly applied.


There have been successful reports regarding acupuncture treatment for MS. A notable feature among MS patients is increased skin sensitivity to acupuncture, which can induce spasms, clonic contractions, or even tonic-clonic contractions in the distal muscles upon needle insertion. This heightened sensitivity is considered a potential early diagnostic sign for MS.


In mild cases of MS, there is a significant increase in sensitivity on the affected side of the body, with intense needle sensations even under mild stimulation. For severe cases, particularly those with long-standing lower limb paralysis, immediate improvement in muscle strength is often observed following acupuncture treatment. Long-term acupuncture therapy has led to improvement or stabilization in the condition of many patients.


In summary, acupuncture appears to be a valuable complementary therapy in the management of multiple sclerosis, especially in alleviating motor dysfunctions and stabilizing symptoms. Its utility in early diagnosis due to the unique reaction of MS patients to needle insertion is also an area of interest. However, the effectiveness of acupuncture can vary between individuals and should be considered as part of an integrated treatment approach for MS.

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