These Multiple Sclerosis Specialists Are Essential to Treatment

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Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological disease that wears away the protective myelin covering of nerves in the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system). This condition occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks its own healthy tissues.

MS is treated by a neurologist and a team of healthcare professionals who play different roles in helping you manage your illness as symptoms ebb and flow.

This article discusses the interdisciplinary team involved in treating multiple sclerosis, how to research the provider's background, and how to find a neurologist near you.

Patient with multiple sclerosis discusses brain MRI with neurologist.

SDI Productions / Getty Images

List of Multiple Sclerosis Specialists Who Can Help

Treatment for multiple sclerosis is primarily provided by a neurologist but includes other healthcare professionals according to your needs.


A neurologist is a doctor of medicine (M.D.) who has specialized training in diagnosing and treating conditions that affect the central nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis. This healthcare professional often coordinates treatment with other healthcare providers as part of an interdisciplinary team.

There is no cure for multiple sclerosis and the severity of symptoms can vary over time. Your neurologist provides ongoing care and adjusts treatment as needed based on the progression of your disease.

Neurologists use imaging, such as computed tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and electroencephalogram (EEG) to assess the damage to structures in your brain and spinal cord. These specialists also prescribe medications to address inflammation in your nervous system, as well as other symptoms that occur with MS, including:

Researching a Neurologist's Background

When looking for a neurologist to treat your multiple sclerosis, consider these factors:

  • The providers years of experience working with MS patients
  • The provider's specialized training
  • The provider's participation in MS research
  • Your insurance coverage


A neuropsychologist is sometimes part of an interdisciplinary team involved in treating people with multiple sclerosis. This healthcare provider specializes in evaluating and treating behavioral and cognitive issues that can occur with conditions that affect the brain.

Cognitive issues, such as difficulties with memory and the time it takes to process mental tasks, are common with multiple sclerosis. Cognitive testing performed by a neuropsychologist can help a person with MS understand their limitations.

Treatment can include practicing cognitive exercises and learning strategies to help compensate for difficulties with memory.

Mental Health Professional

People with multiple sclerosis often have mental health challenges, such as depression and anxiety. Counseling with a mental health professional can help you better cope with your condition and improve your overall quality of life.

Physical Therapist

Multiple sclerosis can cause many physical symptoms. These include:

  • Pain
  • Weakness
  • Poor balance and/or lack of coordination
  • Tremors
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty walking
  • Loss of sensation
  • Paralysis

People with MS are commonly treated by physical therapists, who are trained to address pain and help people restore functional abilities.

Physical therapists prescribe assistive devices, such as walkers and wheelchairs, to people with MS who have difficulty walking and moving around, and train people with MS in using these devices to help maintain independence with mobility.

Where to Find a Provider

There are several ways to go about finding providers to treat your multiple sclerosis, including:

Occupational Therapist

Multiple sclerosis can cause significant difficulty with activities of daily living (ADL). These include tasks such as:

  • Getting dressed
  • Making meals
  • Household chores
  • Work activities
  • Leisure activities and hobbies

Occupational therapists are healthcare professionals trained to help people become more independent with their ADLs and adapt to limitations that occur with conditions such as multiple sclerosis.

Occupational therapy also includes training in adaptive devices—such as a tub bench or long-handled sponge to aid in bathing—that help people with multiple sclerosis maintain independence.

Speech-Language Pathologist

People with multiple sclerosis can develop problems with speech and swallowing. Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) can occur due to muscle weakness and nerve damage caused by this condition.

Dysarthria, a condition that causes speech problems, is also common with multiple sclerosis. This condition can cause slurring of speech, abnormal pauses, and decreased volume while talking.

Speech-language pathologists are healthcare providers who treat both swallowing difficulties and speech abnormalities. These professionals frequently work with people who have multiple sclerosis.

Insurance Coverage

Most insurance companies cover treatment by a specialist for conditions such as multiple sclerosis when it is medically necessary. Contact your health insurance carrier regarding your coverage.


Multiple sclerosis often causes issues with the urinary system. Problems include:

  • Urgency
  • Waking up frequently during the night to urinate
  • Frequent urination during the day
  • Overactive bladder/incontinence

A urologist is an M.D. who specializes in the treatment of conditions affecting the urinary system.


Problems with vision are a common side effect of multiple sclerosis. Issues can include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Pain in the eyes
  • Blind spots
  • Difficulty focusing the eyes

A neuro-ophthalmologist is an M.D. who specializes in the treatment of vision issues caused by conditions that affect the brain, such as multiple sclerosis.


Multiple sclerosis is a neurological condition that affects the brain and spinal cord. This disease affects systems throughout the body, causing significant functional limitations.

MS is treated by a multidisciplinary team of healthcare providers and other healthcare professionals, such as a neurologist, neuropsychologist, mental health counselor, physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech-language pathologist, urologist, and neuro-ophthalmologist.

A Word From Verywell

Multiple sclerosis is a complicated medical condition that requires ongoing treatment. Your specific symptoms will dictate which specialists you'll need on your treatment team. Be proactive—many interventions can make your day-to-day life easier despite your medical condition. Talk to your primary care provider for recommendations, or consider joining a support group for additional input.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you find out where MS specialists work?

    You can find MS specialists through recommendations from your primary care provider, insurance company, or professional associations, such as the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

  • When should you get a second opinion for MS?

    There are several reasons to consider getting a second opinion during treatment for MS or any medical condition. Whether your symptoms are not improving or are getting worse when following prescribed treatment, consider getting a second opinion.

  • How is MS pain different from fibromyalgia?

    MS and fibromyalgia both cause pain, but the types of pain associated with these conditions are slightly different. MS affects nerves in the body, causing neuropathic pain. This pain is often described as burning, sharp, and stabbing. Fibromyalgia is characterized by chronic pain spreading throughout the body. This type of pain is usually dull and achy.

10 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Academy of Neurology. What is a neurologist?

  2. National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Medications.

  3. National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Guide to selecting healthcare providers.

  4. Sumowski JF, Benedict R, Enzinger C, et al. Cognition in multiple sclerosisNeurology. 2018;90(6):278-288. doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000004977

  5. Moss BP, Rensel MR, Hersh CM. Wellness and the role of comorbidities in multiple sclerosisNeurotherapeutics. 2017;14(4):999-1017. doi:10.1007/s13311-017-0563-6

  6. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Multiple sclerosis information page.

  7. National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Swallowing problems.

  8. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Who are speech-language pathologists, and what do they do?

  9. Moussa M, Abou Chakra M, Papatsoris AG, et al. Perspectives on urological care in multiple sclerosis patientsIntractable Rare Dis Res. 2021;10(2):62-74. doi:10.5582/irdr.2021.01029

  10. Michigan State University. Neuro-ophthalmology.

By Aubrey Bailey, PT, DPT, CHT
Aubrey Bailey is a physical therapist and professor of anatomy and physiology with over a decade of experience providing in-person and online education for medical personnel and the general public, specializing in the areas of orthopedic injury, neurologic diseases, developmental disorders, and healthy living.