If you have multiple sclerosis, you can do things to help limit unpredictable flare-ups of pain, dizziness, numbness and imbalance. In particular, people with relapsing-remitting MS, can take steps to avoid certain behaviors and situations that trigger MS flare-ups or relapses.
Neurologist Alexander Rae-Grant, MD, identifies eight triggers that may lead to relapses or flare-ups.
Avoid these 8 common triggers
1. Stress: Major stress may worsen MS symptoms. “You can deal with stress through meditation, yoga, psychological counseling and by making decisions that reduce stress,” Dr. Rae-Grant says.
2. Smoking: Smoking is a major risk factor for MS progression, so stopping smoking is critical.
3. Heat: Some patients are especially susceptible to heat, and symptoms may worsen whether you encounter heat outside in the sun or in hot tubs or saunas. On the other hand, some people have no problems with heat.
4. Certain medicines that may worsen MS: “These are primarily very specific medicines used for rheumatoid arthritis or Crohn’s disease,” Dr. Rae-Grant explains. “But it’s wise to check the medicine list and make sure medicines you are using are not a negative for MS.”
5. Too many medicines: Some people with MS end up on a raft of medicines which may interact with each other and cause side effects. Dr. Rae-Grant recommends working with your doctor to see which medicines are absolutely necessary and which ones you can reduce or stop taking.