Shepherd Center Profile

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis attacks the myelin sheath that protects the nerve fiber.
Multiple sclerosis attacks the myelin sheath that protects the nerve fiber.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) affects the central nervous system, which includes the brain and the spinal cord. In MS, the immune system attacks myelin -- the protective coating on nerve cells.

Without the protective coating, nerve cells have difficulty doing their job and sending signals. The damage that MS causes can affect:

  • the eyes, which have thousands of nerve fibers to carry visual information from the retina to the brain, as well as nerve cells controlling the eye's muscles
  • muscle coordination and strength, because nerve fibers have direct control of all muscles
  • speech, which is controlled by muscles in the throat, mouth and tongue
  • bladder and bowel control

MS is a disease that treats each patient differently. Approximately 15 percent of patients experience severe problems that can totally disable them. MS generally is not fatal, and most MS patients live a normal life span. MS affects as many as 300,000 Americans.

There is no cure for MS, but it is treatable. In a state-of-the-art facility, Shepherd Center offers comprehensive evaluation, diagnostic and rehabilitation services for people with MS.

MS Center professionals at Shepherd Center work to slow the ongoing process of the disease, focus on rehabilitation that emphasizes realistic goals for maximum independence, promote family involvement, and empower people with MS to make decisions and take responsibility for their own health care.

Shepherd MS services include:

  • Medical treatment to slow the disease process and relieve symptoms
  • Physical rehabilitation, including strength and energy conservation training
  • A range of supportive services, including psychological counseling, educational programs, vocational services, nutritional counseling, and therapeutic recreation programs

Patients at Shepherd Center are treated by an interdisciplinary team that may include neurologists, urologists, MS nurses, physical and occupational therapists, case managers, nutritionists, speech therapists, vocational counselors, recreational therapists, and neuropsychologists.