What’s the Alternative?

By Doug Ankerman

As a twenty-two year member of the MS Club, I have tried more than my share of alternative approaches to treat multiple sclerosis.  From diets to massage to supplements like turmeric and aloe vera gel.  I’ve questioned my dentist about Mercury fillings.  Researched into CCSVI.  With secondary-progressive MS, I found myself grasping at anything and everything to slow the gradual downward slide.

Here are a few others I’ve dabbled with…


I receive Botox injections every three months to control spasticity.  Botox.  Yep, the same Botox used by the Kardashians to stave off wrinkles and worry-lines.

I was skeptical too, but it works wonders to keep me loose.  I get shots in my hamstrings, calves and shins.  Botox dramatically reduces my muscle spasms and restless legs.  It also helps to improve my nasty foot-drop.  I have been getting Botox treatments for several years now and am more than pleased with the results.

Bee Stings

Bee stings, bee venom therapy (BVT), apitherapy…call it crazy if you want, but I did this too.  For fifteen years!  (I told you I was grasping at anything!)

Once or twice a week I would get between 18-30 bee stings on my back, butt, hips, legs, feet, toes, hands, wherever I felt stiffness.  Again spasticity and numbness were my enemies.

My stinging buddy had the bee hives.  He also has MS.

He would collect a jar full of bees from his hive.  Then we would retreat to a small room where we would take turns stinging each other.

We often joked about what would happen if the police suddenly burst in.  Inside they would have found two middle-aged men.  In our underwear.  With a jar full of buzzing bees.

Police: “What’s going on in here?”

Us: “We’re getting stung with bees, officer.”

Police: “And…WHY?”

Relief was hit or miss.  At times we thought bee stings helped.  Sometimes not so much.  As a result we ended our bee venom therapy a couple years ago.


In over two decades with MS as my sidekick, I have tried many treatment options.  From the crazy to the conventional.  But the one I have found to be most effective against MS is simple exercise, stretching and movement.

Nothing makes one feel better.  Promise.

Exercise boosts your spirit.  Helps with sleep.  Eases spasticity and fatigue.  Improves balance, posture and gait.  Lessens constipation.  And because you feel better – you look better too.  Promise.

Best of all anyone can do it.  Whether you can stand.  Use aids (like me).  Or are in a wheelchair/scooter.

I say move what you can..as much as you can..as often as you can.  Every little bit helps.  Promise.

Since there is no cure for multiple sclerosis all you can do is cope.  Do your best to be productive, active and positive.  Live every moment every day.

And if you decide you want a few bees, well, I can hook you up.

Keep moving my friend.

*Doug writes about MS & other funny stuff on his blog at myoddsock.com. Also on Facebook.com/myoddsock.  And on Twitter @myoddsock.

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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.


  • Kevin Keplinger says:

    I see that you didn’t mention the 1 treatment that actually works, HSCT. Sadly most MS patients, probably over 90% have never even heard of HSCT, yet HSCT is the most affective treatment there is for MS. I suggest that you join 1 of the HSCT groups on Facebook & learn about HSCT. Here’s a link to a video that explains it.

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