About MSAA

The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) is a national nonprofit organization and leading resource for the entire MS community, improving lives today through vital services and support. MSAA provides free programs and services, such as: a Helpline with trained specialists; award-winning publications, including, The Motivator; MSAA’s nationally recognized website, featuring educational videos, webinars, and research updates; a mobile phone app, My MS Manager™; safety and mobility equipment products; cooling accessories for heat-sensitive individuals; MRI funding; My MSAA Community, a peer-to-peer online support forum; MS Conversations blog; a clinical trial search tool; podcasts; and more. For additional information, please visit www.mymsaa.org or call (800) 532-7667.

Leidy Burgos – March 2024 Artist of the Month

MSAA features the work of many talented artists affected by multiple sclerosis as part of our annual MSAA Art Showcase. Each month we share these artists’ inspiring stories and beautiful artwork with you as our Artist of the Month. This month, we celebrate Leidy Burgos as March’s Artist of the Month. Leidy is from Philadelphia, PA.

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Ask the Expert – Mobility

Featuring Barry A. Hendin, MD 

MSAA’s Chief Medical Officer  

Headshot of doctor Barry Hendin, chief medical officer for MSAA
Barry Hendin, MD

Question: What types of exercises are best to help with mobility and walking issues in MS?  

Answer: A number of different exercises can improve and maintain walking and mobility skills along with safety. Many of these exercises can be learned through formal physical therapy or through online programs. They can include exercises focused on range of motion and flexibility. Alternatively, they may focus on strengthening through resistance training. Some exercises are directed toward general cardiovascular health and others focus primarily on balance. Although any of these forms of exercise may be useful, specific exercise for an individual should focus on an individual’s exact needs. 

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Judgment Can Help or Hinder

By Stacie Prada

What do I wish others knew about living with Multiple Sclerosis? I wish they knew their judgment could help or hinder us.

Everyone judges, and it’s not a bad thing. We all have opinions, hopes, fears, disappointments, appreciation, admiration, frustration, and expectations. They come through in our interactions even when trying to hide them. It’s not about the judgment, it’s about how it’s expressed. Whether that judgment comes through as cheerleading or criticizing matters.  

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Lisa Domenic – February 2024 Artist of the Month

MSAA features the work of many talented artists affected by multiple sclerosis as part of our annual MSAA Art Showcase. Each month we share these artists’ inspiring stories and beautiful artwork with you as our Artist of the Month. This month, we celebrate Lisa Domenic as February’s Artist of the Month. Lisa is from Philadelphia, PA.

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Black Herstory

By Chernise Joseph

For reasons unknown, forcing myself to sit and write lately has become increasingly difficult. The stresses of life coupled with just being sick have made one of my favorite hobbies intimidating to me. How do you write what you cannot see inside your own head?

Anyway, as I sat scrolling through some mind-numbing app, an informative blurb caught my attention. It told the story of Lake Lanier, a formerly thriving African American community in Georgia that was destroyed. That, of course, isn’t a tale new to any of us who have lived in America for any length of time, but it got me thinking about Black History Month or, more importantly, Black Herstory Month.

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Katy Maiolatesi – January 2024 Artist of the Month

MSAA features the work of many talented artists affected by multiple sclerosis as part of our annual MSAA Art Showcase. Each month we share these artists’ inspiring stories and beautiful artwork with you as our Artist of the Month. This month, we celebrate Katy Maiolatesi as the January Artist of the Month. Katy is from Lansing, MI.

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Ask the Expert – Spasticity

Featuring Barry A. Hendin, MD 

MSAA’s Chief Medical Officer  

Headshot of doctor Barry Hendin, chief medical officer for MSAA
Barry Hendin, MD

Question: Does spasticity in MS ever improve on its own and what are the best treatments for this symptom? 

Answer: First, it may help to define spasticity in simple terms. Spasticity is an increase in muscle tone due to an imbalance between excitatory and inhibitory influences on nerve flow along the motor pathways of the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms can vary from mild discomfort to severe pain and disability. Activities of daily living, quality of life, upper extremity function, and gait, can all be affected. 

As with all MS symptomatology, spasticity can vary in intensity. It can improve or worsen, depending upon MS relapses, progression, or outside influences – including events, such as urinary tract infections. Fortunately, many interventions can help to reduce spasticity and improve comfort and function. 

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Barbara Patrick – December 2023 Artist of the Month

MSAA features the work of many talented artists affected by multiple sclerosis as part of our annual MSAA Art Showcase. Each month we share these artists’ inspiring stories and beautiful artwork with you as our Artist of the Month. This month, we celebrate Barbara Patrick as the December Artist of the Month. Barbara is from Coulterville, CA.

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Prioritizing Self-Care

By Stacie Prada

Each year I approach the holiday season with excitedly high hopes and an underlying worry for the season’s demands. I know I need to be even more attentive to my health than usual to best navigate the next couple of months. Yet most years I put commitments and other people ahead of my needs. It leads to overwhelm and exacerbates my MS fatigue.

Self-care is an individual decision and responsibility, and it’s within our control.  So, what makes it so hard? Often, it’s the abundant needs of family, friends, profession, and self-imposed expectations competing with limited time, money, and energy to meet those needs. The demands of us and by us can be more than humanly possible to meet. So where do we draw the line?

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Ask the Expert – Pain

Featuring Barry A. Hendin, MD 

MSAA’s Chief Medical Officer  

Headshot of doctor Barry Hendin, chief medical officer for MSAA
Barry Hendin, MD

Question: What types of medications are prescribed for pain in MS and what types of   

complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) may be helpful?   

Answer: Management of pain includes but is not limited to prescription medications. Our initial goal is to assess the cause of the pain and then to try to manage the pain itself. Pain in multiple sclerosis (MS) can come from lesions in the central nervous system (CNS), which produce very specific symptoms of intermittent facial pain (called trigeminal neuralgia) or burning and itching discomfort in various parts of the body.   

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