MS Treatments

The Edward Bronfman Family Foundation Research Clinic in Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis will offer the following treatments:

  • Acupuncture trials and therapy
  • Cannabis trials
  • Botulinum Toxin A trials and therapy
  • Sex counseling and therapy
  • Chronic pain management

Acupuncture Trials and Therapy

Acupuncture is one form of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that uses very fine needles inserted superficially into the skin at selected areas of the body (acu-points). The insertion of the needles is thought to stimulate the nervous system, the immune system, and the release of a variety of hormones that help the body respond to injury and stress. It has also been reported to affect blood circulation, blood pressure, and production of red and white blood cells. Acupuncture is thought to tap into and rebalance qi (smooth circulation) and yin and yang (the interaction of two energies found in the body).

TCM is used to diagnose the root causing the symptoms being experienced by each patient and then to treat them. In TCM, each symptom is related to a certain organ of the body. Therefore, treatment is focused on nourishing and strengthening the affected organ as well as promoting blood circulation to the whole body. The promotion of blood circulation is thought to target the inflammation that causes the myelin to degenerate. The increased circulation is also thought to strengthen each body organ, which in turn, will increase the body's strength to fight any foreign object such as a virus or an abnormal gene that might alter myelin. Acupuncture also stimulates the release of endorphins which helps to alleviate the level of pain a person is experiencing. An acupuncture assessment and treatment can differ from one person to another, based on each individual's symptoms of MS, and any additional health problems s/he has.

Cannabis trials

The use of medical marijuana has long been the topic of debate. It has recently been legalized on compassionate grounds to treat such ailments as cancer and MS. At this time, there is no evidence that marijuana helps to relieve the symptoms of various conditions, or that it is safe. The Edward Bronfman Family Foundation Research Clinic in SPMS is one of seven sites across Canada that has submitted a grant to the government for funding to study the safety and efficacy of marijuana. If the grant is secured, we will be offering a marijuana trial to eligible patients.

Botulinum Toxin A Trials and Therapy

Botulinum Toxin A has been in therapeutic use since the 1970s to treat such conditions as strabismus, dystonias, muscle hyperactivity, spasticity, and headache. It is injected into muscles, which results in selective muscle paralysis. The paralysis of the selected muscles is responsible for improving these conditions for up to a few months at a time.

In MS, Botulinum Toxin A is used to treat spasticity. Using Botulinum Toxin A to treat spasticity is beneficial because it acts locally (injected directly into the offending muscles) and generally does not react with other medications. Another advantage to using Botulinum Toxin A for lower extremity spasticity is that it may be injected in such a manner to preserve useful spasticity so that the patient may be able to remain mobile or improve the ability to transfer him/herself.

Sex counseling and therapy

During sex education and counselling, professionally recognized procedures for the treatment of sexual issues are utilized. When clinically appropriate, and with the client's permission, treatment may involve the use of educational audiovisual material of a sexually explicit nature, recommendations for reading, and out-of-session assignments. There is no nudity, nor any other overt sexual behaviour involved in the assessment or treatment of the client's problem. Clients are not expected to engage in sexual activities at home that are against their moral convictions. The sex therapist should be thought of as a consultant and resource professional. Therefore, the interventions and recommendations offered by the therapist may be freely accepted or rejected by the client.

Chronic pain management

Chronic pain management is offered through the Wasser Pain Management Centre. People who are experiencing chronic pain will be assessed and treated accordingly. The treatment is based on the symptoms and kind of pain being experienced. Please contact the Wasser Pain Management Centre for more information.