Discharge Instructions for Multiple Sclerosis
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Discharge Instructions for Multiple Sclerosis

You have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). This is a disease of the brain, the spinal cord, or both. MS causes the destruction of the covering of the nerves. This covering is called the myelin sheath. When the nerves are damaged, messages from the brain are not passed on very well. You may not be able to move your body as well as you did before. 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.

  • Stay out of excessive heat.

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

  • Try stretching. It can be useful to help ease stiff muscles.  

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

  • Try swimming. It may be a good exercise in which your temperature doesn't go up. But don't 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 needed.

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

  • Put 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.

  • Prevent constipation. To do this:

    • 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 with no reason (such as cry when you are really happy)

    • If you feel sad or depressed

    • If you lose control of your urine (incontinence)

Follow-up

Make a follow-up appointment with your healthcare provider, or as advised.

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 nervous system 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°C)

Online Medical Reviewer: Fetterman, Anne, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Shelat, Amit, MD
Date Last Reviewed: 4/1/2018
© 2000-2019 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.