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Discharge Instructions for Multiple Sclerosis

You have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), a disease of the brain, the spinal cord, or both. MS involves the destruction of the covering of the nerves (myelin sheath). When the nerves are damaged, messages from the brain are not transmitted very well. You may not be able to move your body as well as you did before, and you may lose some of your ability to feel things, such as heat or cold. Some people may have vision problems or trouble emptying their bladder. Here are some things you can do to feel better.

Activity

Do's and don'ts: 

  • Get plenty of rest. Extreme tiredness is a common symptom of MS.

  • Plan your activities in advance.

  • Avoid excessive heat.

  • Use a cane or other aid to help you get around and conserve energy, if needed.

  • Stretching can be useful with medicines to help symptoms of stiff muscles.  

  • Exercise. Aerobic exercise may improve your strength, muscle tone, balance, and coordination. A physical therapist can help you determine which exercises are safe for you.  

  • Swimming may be a good exercise in which your temperature doesn't increase. Never swim alone.  

Other home care

More do's and don'ts: 

  • Take your medicine exactly as directed by your healthcare provider. Don’t skip doses.

  • Use hot tubs or long hot baths with caution. If you soak too long in hot water, your muscles may become weak. Don’t get in a hot tub unless there’s someone nearby who can pull you out if necessary.

  • If you become overheated and your symptoms get worse, cool down for a few hours. This will help you return to normal.

  • Consider installing an air-conditioning system in your home if you don’t already have one.

  • Eat a well-balanced diet. Talk to your healthcare provider about taking vitamins.

  • Avoid constipation:

    • Eat a diet high in fiber.

    • Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water every day, unless directed otherwise.

    • Use an over-the-counter laxative as directed by your healthcare provider.

  • Let your healthcare provider know:

    • About any pain you are having

    • About any sexual issues you are having

    • If you laugh or cry inappropriately (such as cry when you are really happy)

    • If you feel sad or depressed

    • If you lose your urine (incontinence)

Follow-up

Make a follow-up appointment.

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following:

  • Extreme tiredness or increasing weakness

  • Confusion or unusual behavior

  • New neurologic symptoms, such as weakness or numbness in the face, arms, or legs

  • Double vision or loss of vision

  • Trouble urinating or change in the color or odor of your urine

  • Fever over 100.4°F (38.0°C)

 

 

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