Multiple Sclerosis Center

If your doctor suspects that you have multiple sclerosis (MS), or you have been diagnosed with MS, you can find the care you need at the Multiple Sclerosis Center at UMass Memorial Medical Center. The goal of the Multiple Sclerosis Center is to help you reach maximum independence through healthy lifestyle adjustments, medications, rehabilitative treatments and clinical trials.

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system. Your nerves have a protective covering called myelin. With MS, the myelin in the brain and spinal cord is damaged. This causes messages traveling along the nerves to stop or slow down and symptoms to appear. Multiple sclerosis symptoms include:

  • Extreme tiredness
  • Numbness, tingling or loss of feeling
  • Pain
  • Muscle spasms or weakness in the arms, legs or both
  • Vision problems, such as rapid eye movements, double vision or vision loss
  • Balance and coordination problems
  • Problems walking or moving the arms, legs or both
  • Bowel and bladder control problems
  • Problems with sexual function
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble concentrating, focusing or remembering things
  • Trouble reasoning and solving problems
  • Trouble speaking or swallowing
  • Depression

Multiple Sclerosis Care in Central Massachusetts

On your first visit to our center, you should be prepared to spend several hours for your initial visit. We ask that you bring:

  • MRI films: Not just the report
  • All related doctors’ notes: If you do not have copies, you should send a signed letter (called a medical release) to each appropriate doctor several weeks before your scheduled visit requesting that the notes be forwarded to the Multiple Sclerosis Clinic.
  • A prepared written history: Keep a log of your symptoms and a list of questions you would like to discuss with us.

Multiple Sclerosis Treatments

You will receive a patient-centered approach to care with convenient valet parking and/or self-park facilities, as well as the ability to receive all of your care in one place, eliminating the need to visit specialists in many locations. Some of the center’s clinical services for multiple sclerosis include:

  • Complete neurological evaluations and treatments of MS symptoms
  • Evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of neurolupus, neurosarcoidosis, vasculitis, and neuro-HIV infection
  • Consultation for bracing services
  • Access to physical, occupational and speech therapy
  • Links to investigational drug trials of new treatments for chronic and/or relapsing MS
  • Psychological evaluation and counseling
  • Nursing and educational services
  • Treatment of spasticity (tight or stiff muscles) using a variety of medications, including the intrathecal baclofen pump (ITB), which delivers the medicine directly to the affected area.

A Team Approach for Multiple Sclerosis

Our team works with you and your family to provide education and support throughout every phase of your illness. Some of your team members may include:

  • Neurologists
  • Nurses
  • Occupational therapists
  • Ophthalmologists
  • Physical therapists
  • Social workers/case managers
  • Urologists
  • Other specialty services as required

Our MS Center is affiliated with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Multiple Sclerosis Research and Clinical Trials

At the UMass Memorial MS Center, you will learn about the many clinical trials available to you to evaluate the effectiveness of drugs and treatments for MS. Currently, our center is the site of several clinical trials involving patients with relapsing, remitting and primary progressive MS. Through our partnership with UMass Chan Medical School, we are involved in clinical trials to prevent the future worsening of MS and to improve the quality of life of our patients.

Along with clinical trials, you can benefit from the ongoing clinical research studies, which are aimed at finding the cause or causes of MS. These studies generally require only one clinic visit, and may allow family members to participate by donating blood and filling out questionnaires.