How to Ease Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms Using Cool Temperatures

Two Parts:Using Cool Temperature TreatmentsGetting Medical Treatment for Symptoms

If you have multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic immune disease, you know that the symptoms can be different from person to person. Since your immune system attacks the covering of your nerves, communication throughout your body can become scrambled. This causes a variety of symptoms like fatigue, numbness or tingling, muscle weakness, blurry vision, dizziness, trouble walking, bladder problems, muscle spasms, and cognitive difficulty. Many people find that MS symptoms get worse in the heat, so cooling yourself can ease frustrating symptoms of the disease.[1][2]

Part 1
Using Cool Temperature Treatments

  1. Image titled Ease Sore Muscles After a Hard Workout Step 18
    Determine if you would benefit from cool temperature treatments. Consider whether or not your symptoms get worse during hot or humid weather. Your symptoms may even get worse if your house gets too hot or if you run a fever. For example, if you realize that the numbness and tingling in your arms gets worse when you don't run your air conditioner, you would probably benefit from cool temperature therapy.[3]
    • Your response to heat might even be the first sign of MS you experience. The standard diagnostic test for MS used to be checking a person for symptoms after immersing the person in a tub of hot water.[4]
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    Avoid sudden temperature changes. Extreme swings in temperature can also make your symptoms worse. Try not to go from a hot environment into a very cold one or you may feel worse. Instead, try to ease yourself into more comfortable temperatures.
    • If your symptoms get worse because of the heat, understand that it's usually temporary and doesn't mean that your MS is getting worse.
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    Stay in a cool room. If you can, rest in an air-conditioned or cooled room. Keep the blinds or curtains down to keep out the heat and run an oscillating fan to keep you cool. You can also hold a hand-held fan to direct cooling air directly onto you. If you don't have air conditioning, go to a cooled public space like a library or mall.
    • If you have to drive in the heat, start the car and let the air conditioner run before you need to drive anywhere. Don't forget to put a sunshade in the windshield when you park the car. This can keep your car from getting too hot.
  4. Image titled Dress Up Jeans Step 8
    Wear loose clothing. Choose clothes made of natural fibers that can wick away sweat and help your skin breathe, keeping you cooler. Wear loose layers of clothing that are light-colored. This way, you can easily adjust your clothing if your environment is too hot.[5]
    • You can also wear cooling products that have pre-cooled gels inside. Try using cooling neck wraps, bandanas, or wrist and ankle wraps. These are especially helpful when you exercise.
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    Monitor your symptoms when exercising. If you have MS, exercise is encouraged and can help you manage your symptoms, but you should make sure not to overdo it. While you're exercising, pay attention to any worsening of your symptoms. If you start feeling worse, you need to take a break and consider trying a different exercise. Good exercises include swimming, stretching, walking, and gardening exercises.[6]
    • Try to work out in a temperature-controlled gym, especially if it's hot outside.
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    Eat cold foods. If it's hot outside, eating and drinking cold foods and beverages can help you cool down. Keep cool or cold drinks nearby and remember to stay hydrated. You should also try to stay out of a hot kitchen. Instead, prepare and snack on cool foods like:[7]
    • Frozen yogurt, ice cream, or popsicles
    • Ice chips
    • Salads
    • Cold soups
    • Smoothies
    • Frozen berries
  7. Image titled Maintain Good Hygiene Step 7
    Take a cool shower or bath. Run a cool shower or bath and stay in it until you begin to feel your entire body cool down. Avoid running a cold shower or bath since the extreme temperature change could shock you. To keep you cool once you get out of the shower, fill a spray bottle with ice cubes and spritz it on your face, skin, and clothing.[8]
    • Keep damp sweat bands in the refrigerator or freezer and put these on your wrists, ankles and head to keep you cool.

Part 2
Getting Medical Treatment for Symptoms

  1. Image titled Sleep All Day Step 14
    Take medications. Your doctor may recommend medications to relieve symptoms and help you recover from attacks. For example, if you suffer from nerve inflammation, you may be prescribed corticosteroids like prednisone. Medications that have a higher risk of side effects (like beta-interferons, glatiramer, dimethyl fumarate and others) can work to block your immune system. Always follow your doctor's treatment recommendations.[9]
    • Be sure to talk with your doctor about any symptoms or problems you're having. It's not uncommon for people with neurological problems to develop depression. Your doctor may prescribe antidepressants.[10]
  2. Image titled Become a Nurse Anesthetist Step 4
    Get plasmapheresis. If your symptoms don't respond to common treatments like corticosteroids, your doctor may recommend plasmapheresis. This procedure removes whole blood, removes and replaces the plasma with a protein solution, and returns the whole blood back into you.[11]
    • Plasmapheresis is usually only done if your symptoms are new and severe. The procedure is only done for a short period of time.
  3. Image titled Heal Runner's Knee Step 8
    Do physical therapy. If you experience muscle weakness, trouble walking, or muscle spasms, your doctor may recommend that you work with a physical or occupational therapist. The therapist will teach you stretches and help you practice with mobility devices if you have trouble walking.[12]
    • In addition to stretches, the therapist will help you work on your gait and try to prevent the loss of muscle strength.
    • Physical therapy can also be helpful if you have bladder problems caused by weakened pelvic muscles.
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    Take muscle relaxants. A common symptom of MS is spasticity which is muscle stiffness or spasms. Your doctor might prescribe muscle relaxants like baclofen and tizanidine which both have good safety records although they can't restore muscle strength or completely cure muscle spasms.[13]
    • You should avoid sudden jerky movements, extreme temperature shifts, and wearing tight clothing which can all trigger muscle spasms.

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Categories: Conditions and Treatments