Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
You have access to personalized multiple sclerosis (MS) care and support from a team you can trust.Find a neurologist
We’re among the few programs delivering a broad range of MS services in New York’s Hudson Valley and Western Connecticut. You have access to a thorough evaluation, treatments and helpful therapies closer to home. Services enable you to get the care that’s right for your circumstances. We understand the importance of remaining active and engaged in your favorite activities.
What Is MS?
Multiple sclerosis stems from immune system attacks on the protective outer layer of nerve fibers (myelin sheath). Over time, damage can affect the nerves’ ability to function.
When you have MS, you experience unpredictable periods of:
- Relapse: Attacks that cause MS symptoms, including tingling in your legs or arms. During a relapse, new or worsening symptoms may occur.
- Remission: MS symptoms either fade away or are less intense.
Multiple Sclerosis Care at Nuvance Health: Why Choose Us?
The experienced neurology team takes the time to get to know you and learn how MS symptoms affect your life. You receive a comprehensive evaluation, leading to an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatments. Our goal is to see new patients within a few business days.
MS treatment may require services from multiple specialists. Physical and occupational therapists help you get relief from symptoms and cope with challenges that come with MS. You may also need to see specialists to prevent or treat complications if they arise. Your care team coordinates with these providers, so that you can focus on healing.
The team includes a doctor who completed advanced training in MS. You may benefit from hospital-based services if you experience MS symptoms that require inpatient care.
Services we offer include:
- Testing to confirm or rule out MS in people who do not yet have a diagnosis but are experiencing MS-like symptoms
- Treatments for worsening symptoms should they arise
- Follow-up services after your hospital stay so you have the medications you need and a plan for ongoing treatment
During a relapse, the symptoms you experience may include:
- Coordination and balance problems
- Difficulty with memory and thinking
- Numbness or muscle weakness
- Shaking movements you can’t control (tremors)
- Vision problems
- Unusual tiredness (fatigue)
Types of Multiple Sclerosis
There are four types of MS. As MS symptoms progress, your diagnosis may change from one type to another.
Types of multiple sclerosis include:
- Clinically isolated syndrome: MS symptoms that last for at least 24 hours in a person who does not have an MS diagnosis.
- Relapsing-remitting MS: This is the most common type. You experience periods of relapse and remission.
- Secondary progressive MS: Relapse symptoms are more intense, with fewer or no periods of remission.
- Primary progressive MS: This type typically occurs later in life. MS symptoms progress quickly, with no periods of remission.
Multiple Sclerosis Evaluation
MS evaluations start with a thorough neurologic exam. We assess many aspects of neurologic function, including muscle strength, coordination and reflexes.
Additional testing you may need includes:
- Blood tests to rule out infections or other conditions causing MS-like symptoms.
- Electromyogram (EMG) to measure how nerves respond to gentle electrical pulses.
- Magnetic resonance imaging to evaluate damage to nerve fibers and myelin sheaths.
- Spinal tap (lumbar puncture) to assess spinal fluid for proteins common in people with MS.
The MS treatments that are best for you depend on your diagnosis, symptoms and care preferences.
MS treatments may include:
- Medications: You may need a variety of medications to reduce the frequency of relapses. Steroids and other medications help end relapses faster. Additional medications help you get relief from specific symptoms, like depression or muscle stiffness.
- Lifestyle recommendations: A healthy lifestyle may improve relapse recovery and maximize your well-being during remission. Recommendations may include getting enough sleep, being physically active and eating a balanced diet.
- Occupational therapy: If muscle weakness is getting in the way of daily activities, we show you new ways to do them. Occupational therapists also provide tips for staying safe at home, including grab bars that lower the risk of falling.
- Physical therapy: We guide you through gentle exercises to relieve symptoms, preserve muscle strength and improve coordination. Challenges we help you address include muscle spasms, difficulty walking and recovering from relapses.
- Referrals to specialists: If MS complications affect your eyes or bladder, we refer you to the appropriate Nuvance Health specialist. A referral to a behavioral health specialist may also be necessary if MS is impacting your mood.