Beware Of These Potential Risks Before Allowing Your Veterinarian To Perform Surgery On Your Pet

Choosing a Veterinarian

Pets are part of the family. Your veterinarian, like your doctor or your dentist, is a major part of the well-being of your family. Because you have entrusted this person to oversee the health of your pet, and by extension the health of your family, it is crucial that you have a relationship with your veterinarian based on trust, confidence and respect. You want to know that your physician, your dentist and your veterinarian are among the best at their profession and that he/she fulfills the needs of you and your pet.

Unfortunately, there are not many ways of critically evaluating a health care provider until you need them in a critical time. And you don’t want to be in a crisis when you have to reassess your decision. So how can you evaluate your veterinarian to make sure this is the relationship you want? Resources such as Consumer Reports and Zagat’s will help you decide on a restaurant, a camera, a computer, or a car. But guidance on choosing healthcare providers is a lot harder to come by. It’s not a black and white decision. It’s more like for a professional relationship. It’s all about finding the right fit.

Where to look? Who to ask?

As is always the case, sitting down at your computer and searching the internet can provide you with a flood of opinions. You can spend hours scrolling through popular sites like Angie’s Llist and Yelp reading testimonial after testimonial after complaint about every veterinarian and clinic in your area. Clearly those postings are the unsolicited, heartfelt sentiments of people who were motivated (positively or negatively) to take the time to comment online. So, by all means read some of them. Just don’t rely exclusively on consumer or social web sites since they may not give you a truly balanced perspective. You might also want to seek the opinions of other pet parents you actually know and/or meet every day: neighbors, co-workers, other parents at your child’s school, people you see walking their dog or at a dog park. These other pet owners can be valuable sources of additional insight by nature of their own experiences.

It goes without saying that you want a veterinarian with a high level of medical competency, and you can get a feel about that from talking to other pet owners and finding out how their pets’ illnesses were handled: diagnosed, treated and managed. It is also important to recognize that not all veterinarians are equal in all ways.  What local, state and/or national professional associations and organizations does the doctor belong to? What about specialization or special interests? There are specialty organizations that assure you that their members have advanced training in specialties ranging from surgery and internal medicine to feline medicine and exotic pets. Find out if your veterinarian has advanced training or experience, especially if your pet is unusual or already has special needs.

What’s most important to you?

Then ask yourself what other criteria are important to you. What clinic hours best fit with your own schedule? Can you use a hospital that is only open from 9A-5P or do you need the flexibility of night and/or weekend office hours?  Drive by the hospital(s) you are considering. A veterinary hospital need not be an architectural showplace but it should be clean; located in a safe, convenient area; and have adequate parking.  A veterinary hospital should reflect the pride and commitment not only of the owner(s) but of the entire staff. Cleanliness and hygiene should be apparent; maintenance should be readily achievable. Therefore, a dirty parking lot, smelly waiting room, or poor maintenance indicate a lack of that pride and commitment.

Beyond feeling comfortable with the physical structure and location, you need to feel personally comfortable with the people inside. The attitude and professionalism of the entire clinic team contributes to the experience you and your pet will have there. Simple friendliness, empathy and courtesy are important in any business and particularly in the emotionally stressful areas of medical care. Call the practice. Is the office staff efficient and courteous? Ask for a tour or make an appointment to meet the doctor(s) and other members of the team. Take your pet with you if possible. You want to be working with people you can communicate with and who have a good rapport with both you and your pet. Are you comfortable? Are they too formal? Or too casual? Or just right? Do you like the way they respond to your pet? Does your pet seem to like them (within reason, of course, given the circumstances)?

The major, most important question you should ask, of course, comes down to this: is the veterinarian caring of your pets and your family someone you trust and value? If so, acknowledge them and let them know how important they are to your family. Take care of that relationship. If you are not feeling well-served then tell your veterinarian what you want. Be honest and give them every opportunity to provide the relationship you want. Follow this advice and you should be able to find the perfect veterinarian for you and your pet.

Check If They’re Certified

To practice, all veterinarians need a license in their state (you can look them up here). If you’re looking for accreditation beyond that, you can start with the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). They require veterinarians to meet a specific set of standards in their practice. They also examine vet offices and equipment every few years to ensure they hold up to those standards.

Vets aren’t required to hold this accreditation and many of them don’t. If a vet isn’t AAHA certified, it doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but when a veterinarian is certified, you at least know they stick to certain standards. You can look up AAHA-accredited vet hospitals here.

Some vets are also members of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). It’s basically like American Medical Association membership for vets. Again, AVMA membership doesn’t necessarily mean better, but it shows that your vet is dedicated to the practice. Still, AAHA accreditation is probably a better indicator, as they have a specific set of guidelines offices have to pass to stay accredited.

Make a List of Local Veterinarians

Do a Google “Veterinarian near me” search

A Google “veterinarian near me” search is a perfect starting point. Your search will turn up a current list of local professionals. The results will include the requested “veterinarian near me” results. It may also show vets in your general area and in other parts of the state.

Before you start doing focused research or making calls, make sure the listed veterinarians are close enough so as not to inconvenience you when your pet needs care.

Google search results sometimes show street addresses but not always. If you can’t find a location on the search page, look for an address on individual veterinarian websites. You’ll usually find an address when you scroll to the bottom of the “Home Page” or by checking the “About Us” or “Contact Us” pages.

Get referrals from fellow pet lovers

If you prefer to avoid omnipresent search engines and you have friends and family members who also love animals, ask each person for a veterinarian recommendation. Don’t take it for granted that the person giving you a name and a number is pleased with their veterinarian’s care. Some pet parents keep seeing the same vet out of habit or because it’s easier or more convenient.

Points to Consider When Choosing a Veterinarian


An excellent way to begin looking for a veterinarian is to ask for recommendations. When you know or come across someone who has a pet, ask them for information! Talk to:




Animal shelter staff

Animal trainers


Pet sitters

Dog walkers

Boarding kennel employees

Dog owners at the dog park.


Not all veterinarians treat all types of animals. For example, some veterinarians only work on dogs and cats, and some only on livestock. If your animal is a bearded dragon lizard, you will want a veterinarian who has been trained to handle and care for reptiles. Or, if your pet is older, you may need a veterinarian who is trained to work with geriatric animals.

Finding a veterinarian with specialty training may take a little more effort. Information pertaining to active veterinarians that treat different types of animals and/or who have specialty training can be found through a web search of your location’s veterinary medicine associations. Look for veterinarians who are board certified as trained in the specialty area required by your pet.


The online site for the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) provides information on accreditation. Receiving AAHA accreditation is a statement that:

  • The animal hospital has been determined to consistently provide safe, high-quality care
  • Veterinary hospitals have maintained AAHA standards in relation to their:
  • Facilities
  • Equipment
  • Quality of care

The services and equipment of these veterinary hospitals have been thoroughly evaluated as part of their responsibility to becoming accredited in areas involving:

  • Examination
  • Surgery
  • Emergency care
  • Radiology
  • Pathology
  • Pain management
  • Contagious diseases
  • Nursing care
  • Dentistry
  • Diagnostics
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Medical records
  • Housekeeping and maintenance.

Three Practical Tips To Choose The Right Dentist

Warning Signs of a Bad Dentist

Maintaining good dental hygiene is one of the most important things you can do for your body. Going to the dentist regularly is a crucial part of taking care of your teeth, especially since between 60% and 90% of school-aged children and almost 100% of adults have cavities around the world. You should find a dentist you can trust to help you get and keep the smile you deserve. If you’re in the market to find a dentist, but don’t know what to look for, you’re in luck. This article takes a closer look at some of the things you don’t want in a dentist.

Lack of Sanitary Procedure

If you go to your dental appointment and the dentist starts rummaging through drawers or touching the counters with their gloved hands before proceeding to try to touch your teeth, jump out of the chair immediately. You should also pay attention as to where the tools come from. Most dentists will open a sealed package of tools right in front of you. It’s important that your dentist keeps a sterile environment and takes the spreading of germs very seriously.

No Inquiry on Previous Dental Records

Another thing to look out for is the office not asking for your previous dental records. Any time you change dentists, the office should ask for your records before you even have your first appointment. Records provide a baseline for the continuation of your dental care and should be looked at before any additional work is done.

Outdated Technological Practices

The technology the dentist office is using is also a sign of how well they’re caring for their patients. Technology like digital x-rays is more efficient in detecting serious issues in your mouth and you should ensure the office is using the most up-to-date technology.

They don’t perform a comprehensive dental exam and history taking.

If the dentist you are seeking consultation with gets information about your current situation but leaves the previous dental accounts behind, it may be a good sign that he is a bad dentist who’s going to rip you off. Why? Because if he doesn’t know your dental history, he can request imaging and other dental laboratory tests needed to diagnose your problem correctly. This amount of information is redundant if he just requests your previous tests and come up with a solution based on those results.

They have a bad reputation.

‘Where there’s smoke, there is a fire’, or so they say. If a dentist is known to be a bad one, chances that he really could be are high. Despite the many dental ads they put on all social media outlets, if most of the reviews and feedback you get are negative, you can concur that they may be true.

Loads of expensive treatments

If you have little-to-no history of dental problems and a new dentist says you suddenly need thousands of dollars worth of treatments and procedures, you might be getting scammed. According to Vox, this is the most common pattern of fraud. Another red flag is the dentist pressuring you to act quickly but refusing to give details about why it’s medically necessary. Watch out for dentists who insist on replacing all of your old fillings, and be wary of unnecessary crowns, root canals, sealants, veneers, and fluoride treatments.

Deep teeth cleaning

Deep teeth cleaning, which can also be referred to as scaling or root planing, is a procedure normally reserved for patients with frequent gum infections or periodontal problems. If you don’t have either, don’t let your dentist pressure you into this expensive treatment, which usually is not covered by dental insurance. Deep teeth cleaning, which can cost upwards of $800, is a commonly cited red flag.

How Can I Protect Myself Against Dentistry Fraud?

Beware of In-Network

Insurance plans put incentives in place for in-network dentists, like the capitations I described above. When dentists become part of these networks, they agree to extremely low reimbursements for cleanings and exams, in exchange for a steady stream of patients.

To make up for it, some dentists will perform procedures that have a significant patient portion or heavily promote cosmetic work as being necessary.

Choose a Dentist Based on Referrals, Not Who Your Insurance Company Tells You to See

As with any other profession, the way to maximize your chances of having a good experience is by relying on the advice of others who’ve had a good experience.

If you’re new to the area, you can always ask for a recommendation from your local dental society or health professional. Don’t rely on the fact that a dentist is covered by your insurance plan; this is not the same thing as a referral.

The best referrals come from friends, family, and co-workers that have had procedures other than teeth cleanings at the dentist.

Stay Away from Practices That Advertise

Heavy advertising and deep discounts are come-ons. Billboards and TV advertisements should also make you wary. Advertising-driven offices often use deals as a way to get patients in the door and then pressure them to accept an expensive treatment plan.

I call this Wall Street Dentistry. Often, they’re corporate-owned chains, like Aspen Dental. These chains are like dental mills. They give you the free (quick) cleaning, the free cursory exam, and then tell you that you need $4,000 worth of unnecessary dental work.

Many of these franchise-based practices you see in ads rely on a quota-based work model. These sorts of incentives lead dentists to err on the side of extra treatment.

Look for a Name on the Door

Choose a clinic where the dentist has his or her name on the door, which often implies that personal ownership and that, reputation-wise, they have a lot to lose because their name is on the line (or the door). It’s easy to hide behind a sign that says “Big Smiles Dental.”

Ask for a Second Opinion

Even just observing a dentist’s reaction to being told you’d like a second opinion can be telling. If they truly have nothing to hide, they won’t discourage you.

Dental Office Red Flags

Visiting the dentist regularly can help prevent cavities and other oral health issues. Yet, when your dental carrier makes changes to your policy or you obtain a new job, you may need to find a new dentist. It can be difficult to choose a new dentist so most people ask family and friends for recommendations. Other people review online ratings or select a random name from the “approved” list on their dental plan. How can you tell if the dentist you picked is the right person for you? Here are some warning signs to be aware of when choosing a new dentist:

Dental records are not needed?

The new dentist should have requested your dental records from your old dentist before your scheduled appointment. If the new dentist is not concerned with getting those records, this can be a red flag. Most dentists like to track problems and look for changes so, having previous records, is a big help in spotting any issues that might be developing.

X-ray alert

A full set of dental x-rays should be taken no more than every two years. If a new dentist is pressuring you to get a full set of x-rays, even though you have recent x-rays as well as the associated risks of radiation, you should look for a new dentist. In addition, some dentists will falsely declare that it is illegal for them to treat a patient without taking x-rays first. Although it is not illegal, the dentist can refuse treatment. If that happens, you should follow the ADA guidelines on x-rays or offer to sign a waiver on the x-rays.

Beware of the cone-beam

The cone-beam x-ray is a new x-ray which takes a 3-D picture of your mouth. Although it is FDA approved, it delivers up to 18 times the amount of radiation that traditional dental x-rays deliver. Moreover, a standard x-ray can be just as effective and doesn’t cost a fortune. The best x-ray choice is digital x-rays because they give off less radiation than old-fashioned radiographs or films. They can also diagnose cavities which may not be found on the old films.

A bundle of expenses

The most common pattern of dental fraud is a new dentist telling a patient, with little to no history of dental problems, that they need an extensive amount of work. Some profit seeking dentists may become adamant about performing costly procedures such as root canals, sealants, unnecessary crowns and veneers. The dentist may even pressure you to get these treatments done in a timely fashion but avoids explaining why the treatments are medically necessary. Some dentists insist on replacing all your old fillings especially if silver fillings were used. According to the FDA, these filling are not dangerous and should not be removed unless they have begun to corrode or shrink away from the surface of the tooth which would allow bacteria to settle in. However, the vapors released from drilling out the mercury from the silver fillings can be more harmful than leaving them in.

Have The Best Plastic Surgery Prices

How to Find the Right Cosmetic Surgeon for You

Your choice of cosmetic surgeon will be a choice you live with for years, if not your entire life. A successful procedure will make you feel more like yourself and give you greater confidence for years to come. On the other hand, ending up in the hands of an inexperienced surgeon increases your chances of having poor results, which can lead to additional costs, time, and heartache

Make sure the cosmetic surgeon is board certified

Many people think they can depend on state medical boards to ensure that surgeons are qualified to perform the procedures they advertise, but that fact is that the government does not require a surgeon to be specifically trained in the procedures they offer. This problem is most acute in the area of cosmetic surgery, as many doctors with general surgery or other medical training hop on the cosmetic surgery bandwagon in pursuit of greater profits.

Our view is that patients need a dependable way to know if their surgeon is properly trained and experienced in cosmetic surgery. That’s why we at the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery (ABCS) formed a board exclusively dedicated to cosmetic surgeons’ education, training, and certification.

Confirm the surgeon’s experience in the specific procedures you want

Each area of cosmetic surgery requires different skills: you can imagine how operating on a nose with bone, cartilage, and breathing passages would be quite different from operating on a breast, which is primarily comprised of soft tissue. Given this, cosmetic surgeons can have subspecialties within the field. Choose a surgeon who is board certified in cosmetic surgery and has substantial experience in the procedure you are considering

Choose a surgeon whose aesthetic sense appeals to you

We all know that what one person finds beautiful may be unattractive to another. For this reason, you can’t just trust a friend’s recommendation or solely depend on the cosmetic surgeon’s experience. You need to look carefully at the results for each surgeon you interview.

Insider Tips for Finding a Plastic Surgeon You Can Trust

Victoria Cross, a 57-year-old from Montgomery Village, Maryland, considers her breast reduction the best thing she’s ever done for herself. “When I woke up from the surgery and sat up, it was the first time in a very long time that I didn’t feel any pulling in my chest and my shoulders weren’t hurting,” she tells SELF. Cross, who had the procedure at the age of 45, was a D cup in high school and a G cup by the time she had her surgery. Now she’s a proud C cup and has never looked back.

But one of the reasons she waited until her 40s for the procedure was because of the difficulties involved in finding the right surgeon for the job. “Part of the reason for the length was convincing some of the offices that I wanted to ‘interview’ the doctor,” she explains. In other words, she wasn’t willing to sign the paperwork and meet her handler while she was lying on the operating table. This, experts agree, is a very important part of the process, and one that shouldn’t be ignored.

The number of women and men having plastic surgery is on the rise, with over 17.1 million cosmetic procedures taking place in the year 2016 alone, which means more and more people are trying to get into the aesthetics game. But you have to be careful about choosing the right professional to do the job. As plastic surgery attracts a growing base of eager patients, a number of unqualified physicians and even non-physicians are jumping on the cosmetic bandwagon, donning white lab coats and all. In addition to meeting the surgeon in person, it’s also strongly encouraged to check their background to make sure they’re certified to handle the exact procedure you’re looking to have.

Talk to friends, family members, and acquaintances who’ve had work done to get recommendations.

First, consider those close to you. Has anyone had work done? If you’re comfortable, reach out to him or her for advice. “A trusted friend or family member can give you an honest rundown of the entire process, from the consultation with the doctor and the surgery itself to the recovery process,”

Do your homework by reading up on reviews of surgeons in your area.

As one does this day in age, Issy Ryan, 38, of New York City, took to the Internet before settling on a surgeon to carry out her liposuction procedure. “For me knowledge is power, so I read review after review to get a sense of previous patients’ experiences and help me get to know a little bit about how each surgeon ‘operated,’ both in and out of the operating room,” she tells SELF.

Choosing the Right Cosmetic Surgeon

These guidelines can help you find the right cosmetic surgeon for your needs. First, you should interview two or three surgeons whose specialties match your needs.

There may be qualified surgeons in other professional organizations, but these are the primary groups that certify that doctors are qualified to perform cosmetic surgery.

Personal recommendations are important. Ask friends for referrals if they have gotten a similar procedure. Get opinions from your family doctor and other doctor acquaintances. Surgical technicians and operating room nurses are an excellent source for information about a surgeon’s skill in the operating room

Remember, cosmetic surgery is a highly competitive field. Don’t be confused by groups claiming to be “the only” or “the best” because this excludes many surgeons who may be better choices for your particular issues. Ask about their fellowship training — specialized training in specific procedures. Check with your state’s medical board to verify the surgeon’s board certification, education, and license. And check whether disciplinary action has been taken against the surgeon.

Questions to Consider Before Selecting Your Cosmetic Surgeon

At this point, you may have narrowed your choices to one or two cosmetic surgeons

Tips to Pick the Right Plastic Surgeon

What is the doctor’s training and certification? Any practicing physician may call him- or herself a cosmetic surgeon or may advertise that he or she performs cosmetic procedures. Only physicians who are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery have received years of specialized training in plastic surgery (both cosmetic and reconstructive surgery) and have passed rigorous examinations to demonstrate their competence in the field. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons Web site has a feature to help you locate plastic surgeons who are board certified in the field.

What is the doctor’s experience with the particular procedure you are considering? Ask how many times he or she has performed the procedure and if he or she has received specialized training in the particular area. How long has the physician been performing the particular operation? Remember that not all surgeons will be experts in every area. A doctor who is an expert in breast augmentation surgeries may have little experience with nose reshaping.

At which hospital does the doctor perform the procedure? Are you comfortable with being treated in this hospital? Is the hospital accredited?

Does the doctor ask you about your reasons for having the procedure, and are you comfortable talking openly with this doctor? A good cosmetic surgeon will explain all alternatives to the procedure and will not pressure you into making a rapid decision.

Does the doctor answer all your questions clearly and fully? Your doctor should be frank about issues such as recovery time, potential side effects, risks, and realistic expectations for the outcome of the procedure. While “before and after” photos make a convincing statement, be sure to ask if the photos represent typical results.

Tips for Choosing a Plastic Surgeon

A Personal Decision

Having reconstructive or cosmetic plastic surgery is a big decision. It can change your life by correcting a defect or improving the way you look and feel about yourself. Choosing a plastic surgeon is one of the most important decisions you can make. How do you find the best plastic surgeon who is right for you? Here are some important factors to keep in mind.

Get Referrals

Start by asking your primary care doctor for a referral list of plastic surgeons. You can also ask family, friends and other healthcare providers for recommendations. Take the time to research the doctors’ credentials and experience on As you narrow down your list, call each plastic surgeon’s office to see if he or she is accepting new patients. If so, ask for a consult appointment to meet and interview the plastic surgeon.

Research the Plastic Surgeon’s Credentials

Board certification is one of the most important factors to consider when you are choosing a plastic surgeon. It tells you that the doctor has the necessary training, skills and experience to perform plastic surgery. Also confirm that the plastic surgeon has no history of malpractice claims or disciplinary actions. You can find the plastic surgeon’s medical school, training hospital, certifications, and malpractice and disciplinary history on and state websites.

Consider the Plastic Surgeon’s Experience

Experience matters when you’re considering plastic surgery. The more experience a plastic surgeon has with a condition or procedure, the better your results are likely to be. Such experience allows the plastic surgeon to prevent surgical complications and promptly recognize them if they occur. Ask how many patients with your specific condition the plastic surgeon has treated. If you need a specific procedure, ask how many of the procedures the doctor has performed and find out about complication rates—complications the doctor has encountered as well as your own risk of complications.

Consider Gender

It’s important to feel comfortable with your plastic surgeon’s gender because you will need to openly discuss personal information. When it comes to plastic surgery, your own gender is also an important consideration. Cosmetic plastic surgery has traditionally focused on female patients. However, men also seek the benefits of plastic surgery and their needs are often different. Ask the plastic surgeon about his or her recent training and experience specifically related to your condition and your gender.

Chronic Back Pain Management

How to Manage Your Multiple Sclerosis Pain

Each person with multiple sclerosis has a different pain story. You might not have any at all. Or you could feel a tingle, stab, or spasm.

Why Does MS Hurt?

The pain can affect different places in your body. It depends on the cause:

Damage to the neurons in your brain and spine

Aches in your bones, joints, and muscles

Lots of things affect what you feel, including how long you’ve had MS, your age, and how active you are.

All-Over Pain

Your feet, legs, and arms might burn and ache. In the early stages of the disease, you might feel a tightness around your belly or chest that gets worse at night, after exercise, or with changes in temperature. It’s called the “MS hug.” It could make surprising things uncomfortable, such as the feel of your bedcovers or getting dressed.

Treatment: Your doctor will consider what kind of medicine you need. You might take a pain reliever like acetaminophen or use a skin gel with a pain reliever like lidocaine. Your doctor could prescribe medications for seizures or depression. They affect how your central nervous system reacts to pain. You can also try warm compresses or pressure gloves. They help change the pain to warmth.

On Your Face

It might feel like a terrible toothache. Or it could be a stabbing pain in your eye, cheek, or jaw. It can happen when your chew, talk, or brush your teeth. It may last from a few seconds to a few minutes. But it isn’t a problem with your teeth. Instead, it’s the result of nerve damage.

Treatment: Your doctor may prescribe anti-seizure drugs or may give you a nerve block injection. If your case is severe and medicine doesn’t help, you may need minor surgery to block those pain pathways.

In Your Neck

You may feel a brief shock when you nod your head forward. It can travel down your spine and into your arms and legs.

Treatment: The simplest, treatment is to wear a soft neck collar to hold your head steady. Your doctor may prescribe an anti-seizure drug such as gabapentin, pregabalin, or lamotrigine to reduce pain.

Causes of Chronic Pain in MS

Neuropathic pain, is caused by damage to the nerve fibers from the inflammatory process. And that may cause burning, tingling, and painful pins-and-needles sensations. Sometimes, people even perceive a light touch as painful in certain areas of the body “Some people describe a sunburned feeling. It can be different in different people,It can sometimes feel deep; it can sometimes feel on the surface.

Spasticity is a common type of stiffness in people with MS that’s caused by damage to motor nerve fibers., “It can cause muscle spasms, cramps, and an overall achiness and tightness in the body parts that are affected. And the spasms can be very painful and debilitating for people with MS.”

Finally, immobility and fatigue can cause people with MS to compensate by using other muscles in ways that cause pain. This process commonly causes back or joint pain, even if your underlying mobility issues mainly affect another area of the body.

Treatments for MS signs and symptoms

Physical therapy for multiple sclerosis

Physical therapy can build muscle strength and ease some of the symptoms of MS.

  • Physical therapy. A physical or occupational therapist can teach you stretching and strengthening exercises and show you how to use devices to make it easier to perform daily tasks.
  • Physical therapy along with the use of a mobility aid when necessary can also help manage leg weakness and other gait problems often associated with MS.
  • Muscle relaxants. You may experience painful or uncontrollable muscle stiffness or spasms, particularly in your legs. Muscle relaxants such as baclofen (Lioresal, Gablofen), tizanidine (Zanaflex) and cyclobenzaprine may help. Onabotulinumtoxin A treatment is another option in those with spasticity.
  • Medications to reduce fatigue. Amantadine (Gocovri, Osmolex), modafinil (Provigil) and methylphenidate (Ritalin) may be helpful in reducing MS-related fatigue. Some drugs used to treat depression, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, may be recommended.
  • Medication to increase walking speed. Dalfampridine (Ampyra) may help to slightly increase walking speed in some people. People with a history of seizures or kidney dysfunction should not take this medication.
  • Other medications. Medications also may be prescribed for depression, pain, sexual dysfunction, insomnia, and bladder or bowel control problems that are associated with MS.

Managing pain in general

People with MS can manage their pain by doing light physical activities such as swimming, water aerobics, walking, and stretching.

Making some diet and lifestyle changes can also help reduce pain. Studies suggest that there may be an association between vitamin D deficiency and muscle pain. However, more studies are necessary to determine whether taking extra vitamin D can help with MS-related pain.

Vitamin D plays an important role in muscle function and maintenance. It also produces anti-inflammatory effects that can reduce muscle pain.

People can increase vitamin D and calcium consumption by increasing their daily intake of foods high in vitamin D and calcium.

Some of these foods include:

  • milk
  • eggs
  • fish
  • vegetables

Lifestyle plays a significant role in managing MS symptoms. Some natural pain remedies listed above focus on lowering stress, which can trigger MS symptoms.

Relaxing activities such as massage and yoga specifically focus on decreasing emotional stress by releasing physical tension within the body.

Other ways to lower stress include meditation, slow breathing exercises, and counseling.

Neurontin (gabapentin) for Pain Management in Multiple Sclerosis

Neurontin (gabapentin) is an anti-epileptic drug but it is also used to help multiple sclerosis patients control pain caused by MS lesions and spasticity. Gabapentin affects chemicals and nerves that cause seizures and some types of pain.

Neurontin is to be taken orally, usually three times a day, with or without food. It might help control the condition but will not cure it. Neurontin should not be stopped when symptoms are relieved or the patient may experience withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, sleeping disorders, nausea, pain, and sweating.

Common neurontin side effects may include dizziness, drowsiness, or headache. A generic version of Neurontin has been approved by the FDA, but may not be available due to patent issues or exclusivity for uses.

Pain can have a significant negative impact on the quality of life of people with MS. A combination of medicine and positive lifestyle changes such as exercising and staying active, massages, chiropractic treatments, hydrotherapy, and acupuncture may improve the patient’s the quality of life.

Regular analgesics are typically not enough to ease pain from nerve damage in the central nervous system, so drugs that treat seizures (phenytoin, gabapentin, carbamazepine) and antidepressants (amitriptyline, nortriptyline) and some benzodiazepines (clonazepam) are commonly first choices for pain management in MS.