Multiple Sclerosis (MS): What to Do After Receiving a Diagnosis

Newly diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS)? Learn about alternative treatments, lifestyle changes, and how to talk to your doctor.

By Ability Central

27 February, 2023

Black doctor examines x-rays of spine

When a neurologist confirms you have multiple sclerosis (MS), the first question you may have is, “What next?” In this article, Ability Central will break down the four things you can do after receiving a diagnosis, including:

  1. Understand the doctor’s diagnosis and expectations.
  2. Consider all your treatment options.
  3. Commit to healthy habits.
  4. Build your support system.


Understand the doctor’s diagnosis and expectations

Getting a definitive MS diagnosis can take a long time, partly because doctors must rule out other causes of the neurological symptoms. Usually, the doctor looks for all of the following: 

  • Evidence of damage in two separate areas of the central nervous system
  • Evidence that the incidents of damage occurred at different points in time
  • Ruling out all other possible diseases and diagnoses


Even if the MS diagnosis is certain, based on the ebb and flow of remission and relapsing, the symptoms of the disease are inconsistent. 


Talk with your doctor about what to expect, and be open about what you are experiencing. Even during remission phases, following your doctor’s recommendations is essential.


Consider all your treatment options

While traditional care, including medications and physical therapy, is essential, many people also seek alternative care approaches. These may include any of the following:

  • Regular massage therapy may help you relax and reduce stress and depression. 
  • Acupuncture may reduce pain, muscle spasticity, numbness, and tingling in MS patients. If you choose this alternative treatment method, remember that it takes 6 to 10 weeks to see if it works and that seeing a certified professional at a sterile facility is essential. 
  • Evening primrose oil (linoleic acid) may slightly improve MS symptoms.
  • Some people with MS say that smoking or ingesting marijuana helps relieve muscle spasms and other MS-related symptoms. If you live in a state where medical marijuana is legal, check with your doctor.
  • Magnet therapy is an energy-based medicine that increases circulation and oxygenation throughout the body. Pulse Electromagnetic Fields (PEMF) is the most popular version of magnet therapy. PEMF sends an electrical frequency through the body to stimulate ions and electrolytes, improve circulation, boost energy, and reduce pain and inflammation in MS patients.
  • Moving meditation techniques like yoga or tai chi that exercise your body while calming your mind may also help. 
  • Reflexology may also help lessen pain and fatigue and improves mood.
  • Some dietary supplements may also help with symptoms.


Discuss all alternative care with your doctor to verify it is safe for you.


Commit to healthy habits

Healthy habits are good for everyone, but the following are vital to the overall well-being of MS patients:

  • The National Multiple Sclerosis Society says no specific diet will help your MS. Still, any positive changes you make will likely support your overall health and well-being. Most MS experts agree that a healthy diet is vital to the long-term health of your nervous system. They suggest:
    • Prepare meals at home as much as possible.
    • Incorporate colorful fresh fruits and vegetables daily.
    • If you choose to eat grains, choose whole grains over refined grains.
    • Avoid processed foods and added sugars as much as possible.
  • Commit to regular exercise. Research shows that people with MS who participate in an aerobic exercise program benefit from improved cardiovascular fitness, increased strength, better bladder and bowel function, and a more upbeat attitude.
  • Take your medications on schedule and talk to your doctor about any side effects or new symptoms.
  • Talk to your doctor about sleep issues, including insomnia, frequent nighttime urination, narcolepsy, leg spasms, or restless legs syndrome.



Build your support system.

Ability Central has more articles, including one that addresses long-term mental, emotional, financial, and physical needs by understanding your rights and options.


You can also learn more about MS by reading some Quick Facts, and learning the Signs and Symptoms


Article Type:
Disability Type:
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)