The Multiple Sclerosis Clinic
The Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Care Center is another Neurosciences Institute advancement at Saint Francis Medical Center. The Multiple Sclerosis Clinic offers expert evaluation, diagnosis, compassionate care, and the most innovative treatments for people suffering from multiple sclerosis.
What is Multiple Sclerosis?
MS is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system. This progressive disease damages myelin (the fatty substance that covers and protects nerves) in the brain or spinal cord and can impact muscular strength, eyesight, speech, and all-around movement.
MS is the number one cause of disability among young adults from a neurological disease, most commonly affecting people between the ages of 20 and 40. Women are twice as likely as men to develop MS. With an estimated 200 new cases diagnosed each week, approximately 400,000 Americans suffer from this disease. There is no cure for MS, but early detection helps as there are new, innovative therapies that can slow its progress.
Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms
Symptoms of multiple sclerosis may vary, but its most common indicators include:
- Numbness or weakness in one or more limbs, typically on one side of the body at a time or the bottom half of the body
- Blurred or double vision
- Tingling or pain in parts of the body
- Tremors, lack of coordination, or unsteady gait
- Cognitive changes such as forgetfulness or difficulty concentrating
As MS progresses, other symptoms may include muscle spasms, sensitivity to heat, fatigue, and sexual disturbances.
We use several technologies to diagnose multiple sclerosis, including:
- Evoked Potentials. Evoked potentials are helpful in evaluating a number of different problems including spinal cord injuries, acoustic neuroma (a benign tumor that may develop on the hearing and balance nerves near the inner ear), and optic neuritis (inflammation of the optic nerve that causes loss of vision and eye pain).
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). During magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the body is exposed to electromagnetic radiation that can detect, process, and convert images of the body’s soft tissue, such as the brain or spinal cord, into computer images.
The Neurosciences Institute offers patients the opportunity to help doctors find answers to neurological illness by participating in clinical drug and surgery research trials.
Driver evaluation/training helps physically challenged individuals maintain their driving independence by determining proper adaptive driving controls and providing on-the-road training.
Hand therapy offers specialized treatment to patients who have lost range of motion, strength or endurance in their hands or arms due to illness or trauma.
The Home Health program at Saint Francis Medical Center features caring, highly skilled therapists, nurses and aides who provide various healthcare services to people confined to their homes. Individualized plans of care are developed for qualified patients based on input from physicians, Home Health staff and at-home caregivers.
Various treatments are available to women who suffer from urinary or fecal incontinence.
As the only provider in the region with both a neuropsychologist and a behavioral psychologist on staff, Saint Francis Medical Center provides expert care for patients suffering from emotional/cognitive problems due to bodily injury. Inpatient rehabilitation staff helps patients develop coping skills, establish appropriate expectations and modify their lifestyle in accordance with any physical limitations to maintain a positive outlook on life.
After an initial assessment, patients are provided with an individualized nutrition plan to follow during their stay and are checked on a weekly basis by Saint Francis Medical Center’s dietitians and aides. At discharge, patients may receive additional feedback on future nutritional concerns.
Occupational therapists and assistants at Saint Francis Medical Center are focused on increasing independence and improving quality of life. This involves developing individualized treatment programs for patients to help them reach goals in regard to the social, emotional and physiological effects of illnesses and injuries, including spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and dementia. Caregivers also assist patients in restoring daily living activities, such as self-care, work and leisure.
Through the use of exercises and applications that promote and restore normal function and development, physical therapists and assistants at Saint Francis Medical Center help patients overcome injuries and other physically debilitating conditions.
Saint Francis Medical Center’s recreational therapy caregivers work with patients to improve skills and provide information needed to ensure successful adjustment into their home or community environment.
Social workers at Saint Francis Medical Center meet with the family members of patients to counsel them in regard to lifestyle changes and connect them to community resources to meet patients’ needs.
Saint Francis Medical Center offers patients and their family members access to various support groups related to a variety of neurological conditions and diseases that allow individuals to share feelings and concerns with one another in a safe, non-threatening environment.
To learn about support groups in Cape Girardeau and at Saint Francis visit our Support Groups page.