Optimizing Integrative Wellness Strategies for MS Through Research: Kathy Zackowski, PhD, OTR

The senior director of patient management, care, and rehabilitation at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society discussed the steps needed to take to improve relatively new wellness strategies. [WATCH TIME: 3 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 3 minutes

"Most people don’t have just pain. They have fatigue, weakness, and sensory changes. How do these wellness strategies commingle with all those symptoms? Are there particular symptoms that some wellness strategies work better for? We don’t know."

Over the past decade, there have been several notable FDA approvals of disease-modifying therapies for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), changing the way the disease is managed and allowing for improved quality of life. A newer, more holistic approach to treating the patient has also gained more attention during that time. For patients with MS, physical wellness involves much more than disease and symptom management. Research has shown that by focusing on things like sleep, nutrition, and psychosocial behaviors, among others, patients may have less disease progression and better quality of life.

Finding out the optimal prescription and regimen for these strategies has been difficult and remains a high priority at the moment, according to Kathy Zackowski, PhD, OTR. Much like any new therapeutic, optimization can take time, and even more so with nonpharmacological treatments that don’t have set doses. Zackowski, senior director, patient management, care, and rehabilitation, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, believes there needs to be an increased push in research to further understand the nuances of integrative wellness.

In an interview with NeurologyLive®, the expert in physical wellness provided insight on the most important aspects that need future research, as well as why official recognition of physical and mental health from an administrative perspective is critical for the future of these strategies going forward.