Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, is a disease that progressively causes loss of muscle function until a person is almost entirely dependent on others. In almost all cases, it is eventually terminal, which makes it even more of a burden.
How is ALS diagnosed and treated, considering how severe it is? Diagnosis is usually based on clinical examination and medical history, which makes it hard to diagnose early. Approved medical treatments only take care of symptoms, as the condition has no cure.
This explains why many people turn to learn about the alternative treatments that exist for ALS. This article will discuss them in detail.
Exploring non-medical approaches to ALS treatment
When it comes to treating ALS, you’re very likely to hear about medications and physiotherapy. These certainly help, but they won’t cure it.
Many people look towards alternative therapies to tap into more natural options for managing amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. There’s no harm in learning about these, especially as many can be used alongside conventional options.
The role of acupuncture, massage, and chiropractic care in ALS treatment
Besides physiotherapy, there are other “physical” therapies that can be used in managing this condition. For instance, acupuncture, massage therapy, and chiropractic.
There have been various studies showing improvements in motor function following acupuncture treatment.
- Acupuncture involves piercing precise spots on the body using tiny needles. There are at least two studies, one in 2017 and one in 2021, that show improvements in symptoms after this form of ALS treatment.
- There aren’t too many studies available on the efficacy of massage therapy, though one shows that it works well as a complement, due to its positive effect on pain and spasms.
- Few studies exist to examine the effect of chiropractic care on the symptoms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. However, as long as it is being performed by a professional, there is little harm in receiving a chiropractic adjustment.
Herbal and nutritional supplements for ALS patients
The things we eat have a massive impact on the state of our health. It is hard to know what the perfect diet is or which foods to eat, especially as one of the early symptoms of ALS, dysphagia, can make eating and swallowing hard in the first place.
There is a lot of disagreement among experts on which diet benefits patients with this disease the most.
It’s been suggested that a diet high in carbs is linked with an increased risk. An animal study also brought up the notion that a ketogenic diet, which is one high in healthy fats, can also slow down the disease’s progression.
The Deanna Protocol, a specific collection of supplements, was shown to improve motor function and survival in mice. This protocol contains, gamma-aminobutyric acid, AAKG, and coenzyme Q10, amongst others.
Meditation, mindfulness, and other mind-body practices for ALS treatment
ALS affects the physical body but the basis of the problem is the nervous system, and this is where the mind is housed. Thus, you shouldn’t be surprised that practices like meditation can serve as a way to treat this condition.
Practices like meditation might not be able to take care of the physical pain that you might feel, but they can help to improve your mental health.
Meditation is a convenient alternative therapy that has been shown to reduce negative emotions in ALS.
You might have asked before, how is ALS diagnosed? The patient’s medical history and examination usually won’t unveil psychological symptoms beforehand, but the weight of the diagnosis itself can bring these about.
A study published in 2017 showed that meditation was able to improve the quality of life of patients, as well as help manage negative emotions, anxiety, and depression.
Stem cell therapy for ALS as an innovative approach
Stem cell treatment for ALS is among the more exciting alternative therapies that are available. This is because it taps into the body’s resources to attempt to manage the condition in a natural way.
One stem cell product showed plenty of promise by stopping the death of motor nerve cells, which ultimately slows down the disease’s progression.
Stem cell therapy has also been shown to be very safe. When side effects are reported during studies, they tend to be overwhelmingly mild.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis has no cure and approved treatments can only manage the symptoms. Even when the early symptoms of ALS are noticed, the diagnosis might not be made on time. This pushes many patients, once diagnosed, to look for effective alternative treatments.
Acupuncture, massage therapy, nutritional supplements, and meditation have been shown to have some level of efficacy in treatment, though further research would be helpful. Stem cell treatment is also a very promising option that utilizes your body’s own cells.
Medication and physiotherapy can improve ALS symptoms, but adding alternative treatments as adjuncts can help even more, so what are you waiting for?