by EBSCO Medical Review Board

Lifestyle changes can help ease symptoms. It can also put off flare-ups and keep symptoms from getting worse. A person's coping skills and outlook can also help manage MS. Some habits that may help are:


Working out can help with muscle strength, balance, and fatigue. Swimming is a good choice. The water helps keep the body cool when swimming.

Eat a Healthful Diet

Eat a diet that is low in bad fats and rich in whole grains, fruits, and veggies. The fiber in grains, fruits, and veggies helps stop constipation.

Vitamin D levels can be checked in the blood. Supplements may need to be taken if levels are low.

Drink plenty of water. Avoid drinks that cause dehydration, like drinks with caffeine.

Ease Stress

Many people with MS notice that stress makes their health problems worse. Think about getting massages and doing other things that lower stress, such as meditation, yoga, and deep breathing. It may also help to join a support group. These groups can provide support for a person and their family.

Avoid Too Much Heat

Heat can make symptoms worse. The heat may be outside or inside. Here are some tips:

  • Stay out of hot weather.
  • Stay in air-conditioned places when it is hot outside.
  • Do not take hot showers or baths.
  • Get care right away for signs of a fever.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Avoid too much activity.

Quit Smoking

Smoking may worsen MS. It can turn it into a severe problem. People who smoke should talk to their doctor about choices for quitting. There are classes, online self-help programs, nicotine replacement products, medicines, and many other options.


Resting helps ease fatigue.

Take Steps to Avoid Infections

Health problems can get worse when a person gets sick. If possible, try to avoid people who are sick.


Multiple sclerosis (MS). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed March 16, 2022.

NINDS multiple sclerosis information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: Accessed March 16, 2022.

Thompson AJ, Baranzini SE, Geurts J, et al. Multiple sclerosis. Lancet. 2018;391(10130):1622-36.

What is MS? National Multiple Sclerosis Society website. Available at: Accessed March 16, 2022.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD
  • Review Date: 11/2021