Multiple Sclerosis Center
At the Northwell Health Multiple Sclerosis Center at Lenox Hill Hospital, our multidisciplinary clinical staff focuses on improving quality of life for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) by providing cutting-edge diagnostic and therapeutic services. Our center is proud to be a member of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers, a professional organization that is committed to ensuring all who are affected by MS have access to the optimal services they need. As functional ability and independence are the primary goals of our center, patients are provided with access to dedicated and caring specialists in areas including:
Our experienced staff is available to assist you in different phases of MS treatment and also provide education and support.
Multiple sclerosis is caused by damage to the myelin sheath, the protective covering that surrounds nerve cells. When this nerve covering is damaged, nerve impulses are slowed down or stopped. MS is a progressive disease, meaning that the nerve damage, or neurodegeneration, gets worse over time. How quickly multiple sclerosis worsens varies from person to person. However, early and effective treatment can often slow down or even prevent worsening of the disease and greatly improve quality of life.
As a new patient at the Multiple Sclerosis Center, you will be evaluated to determine the most effective approach to treatment. Based on an interdisciplinary model of individualized care, the Multiple Sclerosis Center offers comprehensive neurologic care, while focusing on providing a combination of symptomatic therapies and the latest in disease modifying treatments.
A total of 15 different FDA-approved injectable, oral, and infusion medications are available for the treatment of MS, each working in different ways. While all of these treatments aim to prevent relapses, disability, and new MRI lesions, it can seem a daunting task to choose the right medication for you. Our physicians specialize in helping you create a tailored regimen depending on your needs and preferences. While MS medications work to prevent relapses, if a relapse were to occur, corticosteroids such as methylprednisolone and prednisone may also be used to hasten neurological recovery.
If you would like to learn more regarding the different MS therapies, more information is available at nationalmssociety.org/treating-ms/medications.
In addition to providing medications to fight MS directly, we help alleviate any accompanying symptoms of MS, which may include bladder and bowel dysfunction, depression, pain, fatigue, sexual problems, stiffness, and infection, among others. Our multidisciplinary team of specialists will address each and every one of these issues and offer the latest and most effective treatments.
Causes & symptoms
Multiple sclerosis causes
The exact cause of multiple sclerosis is unknown. Some possible causes of MS include the following:
- Autoimmune—MS is thought to be an autoimmune condition, in which the immune system mistakenly attacks myelin in the central nervous system
- Environmental factors—factors relating to the impact of environment
- Genetic factors—factors relating to the impact of genetics
- Viruses—While certain common viruses have been suggested to contribute to development of MS, there is no conclusive evidence that this is the case.
Multiple sclerosis symptoms
Symptoms of multiple sclerosis are variable among individuals and may be mild or severe. It is common to have an attack (relapse) followed by a period of recovery (remission). Other times, symptoms are progressive and may appear in various combinations, depending on the area of the nervous system affected.
Common initial symptoms of multiple sclerosis may include:
- Blurred or double vision
- Loss of color vision
- Pain and loss of vision due to optic neuritis (inflammation of the optic nerve)
- Difficulty walking
- Paresthesia (abnormal sensation or pain, such as numbness, prickling, or "pins and needles")
Other symptoms of multiple sclerosis may include any or all of the following:
- Muscle weakness in the extremities
- Impaired coordination and balance—difficulty walking or standing may result; partial or complete paralysis is possible
- Spasticity—increased muscle tone leading to stiffness and spasms
- Loss of sensation
- Speech problems
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Hearing loss
- Urinary problems
- Temperature sensitivity—worsening of MS symptoms by heat
Many people with multiple sclerosis experience cognitive impairments related to their disease. Cognitive dysfunction in MS is typically mild, but may include difficulty with any of the following:
Education and support services at the Multiple Sclerosis Center include:
- Individual education and counseling
- Visiting nurse referrals
- Social work services
- Linkages with community resources
- Professional and peer-led support groups
- Family support conferences
- Referrals to: