Diet and Alternative Medicine
There are no known studies indicating that vitamins or food supplements are an effective treatment for PLS or HSP. However, there are studies indicating particular antioxidants may be of benefit in related neurologic conditions, such as ALS. Please see Clinical trial drugs to review information regarding co-enzyme Q10, alpha lipoic acid and vitamin E in particular. Other anti-oxidants include vitamin C, selenium and beta-carotene.
It is generally recognized that eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is important to overall health. Individuals should always get recommendations from their physicians before taking any vitamins or food supplements. A great additional source of information is the USDA Food and Nutrition Information Center.
Alternative Medicine is usually described as practices not generally accepted as part of the standard approaches used by licensed physicians or other licensed health care providers. Practitioners using these methods are generally not licensed as health care clinicians, but may be licensed for a specific method, such as acupuncture or massage, or licensed in another health field, such as nursing.
Some licensed physicians and other health care providers may use an alternative medicine method or refer patients to practitioners of an alternative medicine method. Many individuals pursue treatments on their own.
There is a lot of quackery and fraud in some forms of alternative medicine. Please seek the advise of your physician.
A list of popular alternative medicine modalities often used by individuals with HSP or PLS are below. Their inclusion is for informational purposes only and not a recommendation or endorsement.
The use of touch and various manipulation techniques to move muscles and soft body tissues to relieve stress, tension, and pain. For more information, see the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. TES is a technique used by some clinicians to improve muscle strength and muscle coordination in persons with muscle spasticity. It involves administering electrical stimuli to the skin overlying weakened muscles (usually muscles opposite to spastic muscles). The goal is to increase blood flow to muscles in which fibers are atrophied. Although individual cases have shown some benefit, studies generally show no benefit.
A treatment method that depends primarily on manipulating or adjusting the spine to prevent disease and treat pain and other ailments. Some people have found that chiropractic spinal manipulation can help reduce their back pain, and some claim a temporary improvement in their gait.
An ancient system of Chinese medicine where thin needles are inserted into specific points on the body. Chinese medicine identifies these points as conducive to energy and connected to specific organ systems in the body. The purpose is to alleviate various health conditions. Some individuals have indicated an improvement with spasticity after treatment. For more information, see the Acupuncture Center.
Magnet therapy claims that magnet fields have healing powers. Most of the support is anecdotal and testimonial and is generally attributed to the placebo affect. There is almost no scientific evidence supporting this theory, however, there was a large study done indicating benefit at Bayer College of Medicine. That has not been replicated. Nonetheless, there a growing industry is producing all types of products with magnets. Some individuals in our community have reported benefit. If interested in more information, see Synergy Wellness System with Magnetic Therapy.
Biofeedback treatment uses relaxation and visualization (imagery) to lower stress levels, alleviate headaches, or reduce blood pressure. Instruments measure information about bodily processes, such as muscle tension, skin temperature, brain waves, and respiration. Several studies have shown visualization to be very useful in stress reduction. See Yahoo Guided Imagery and Eupsychia Institute.
The theory behind the Alexander Technique is that by reeducating a person’s mind and body, tension can be reduced and ease of movement increased. Most information appears to be from commercial websites. Guide to Alexander Technique, Alexander Techniques.