Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease that changes your life dramatically. Despite affecting some 2.3 million people around the world, an MS diagnosis can leave you feeling alone. Times like these you might want to turn to people who are there to help you.
Online support groups and social communities are a great resource for people living with lifelong illnesses and disease. In the case of MS, an online community can help you understand your condition and your symptoms, and possibly even find ways to live more easily and pain-free.
We’ve rounded up some of the best and most active online groups for MS patients:
If you’re hoping to socialize with other people who understand the struggles and triumphs of MS, My MS Team may be right for you. It’s a social network specifically for those with MS. You can browse for new friends by location, post images and updates, and find medical providers in your area.
Have a gripe about your MS or want to know if anyone has experienced a certain symptom? The message boards at DailyStrength Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Support Group are a great resource for finding answers to your questions and having discussions with folks who know where you’re coming from. This platform is simple and easy to jump in on. With no learning curve, you can start connecting with folks right away.
More than 25,000 people belong to MS Connection, an online community where they share their thoughts, answers, and friendships via discussion boards, groups, and personalized blogs. There are informative videos and articles along with personal statements and status messages. One unique feature of MS Connection is its Peer Connection program, which will pair you with a peer support volunteer. This is a trained volunteer who will lend an ear and support whenever you need it.
Discussion boards may be an older platform for online communication, but they certainly aren’t outdated. The active boards at This Is MS prove it. You’ll find forums to discuss new drugs, symptoms, dietary concerns, pain, and nearly any other MS-related topic you can think of. It’s not uncommon for a single post to reach over 100 responses in this very active and supportive community.
The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) is a nonprofit group aimed at providing free services and support to those with MS. My MSAA Community is their online community, hosted at HealthUnlocked. It’s a great place to connect with other folks around the U.S. who are living with MS. The community is based on message boards, where single posts are open to replies and “likes.” You can ask questions, share experiences, or simply introduce yourself to the warm and supportive members.
“MS is a crappy disease,” says the intro page to the Kurmudgeons’ Korner community. As such, this group is committed to straight talk with no empty cliches. That’s not to say the group doesn’t have a sense of humor or humanity — these are present too — but you’re more likely to find tough love than inspirational memes here. What we like: The forums are private, so unless you’re a member, you can’t access the conversations within.
Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis is an Australian-based organization that promotes dietary approaches to MS management. In addition to their work on treating MS with diet and lifestyle, they provide message boards and a supportive community. You’ll find topics like meditation, exercise, diet, and mind-body connection within the pages of the message boards, each with hundreds of posts and responses.
Shift MS is a social network on a fun, modern interface. According to the creators, they seek to reduce isolation for people with MS, help them manage their condition, and create a community run by members. On the site, you can connect with more than 11,000 members from around the world. Despite the site originating in the U.K., you’ll be able to find others with MS in your area. You’ll also find ways to get involved, volunteering online or within your local MS community.
The HealingWell website is designed to serve people with a variety of diseases and conditions. Buried within the people-rich pages is a section dedicated solely to folks with MS. On the MS boards, you’ll find members from across the U.S. discussing their struggles and successes with MS, including medical questions, news, and personal experiences with new treatment methods.
On Facebook, you can find dozens of MS support groups. This one, a public group, is hosted by the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, and has nearly 16,000 members. Members and admins share videos, statuses, and questions within the group. You’ll be uplifted by messages of hope and be able to offer solace to others with MS who are suffering.
As the name suggests, ActiveMSers was created to inspire and motivate people living with MS to stay active — physically and mentally. This online forum offers space for members to discuss everything from treatments to travel hacks with MS, share tips for staying fit, review their favorite MS gear, and connect offline.
Back in 1996, MSWorld was a small, six-person chat room. In the last two decades, it’s evolved into an expansive resource center offering message boards, wellness information, chat rooms, and social networking both for people living with MS and those caring for a loved one with MS. Living up to its “patients helping patients” mission statement, the platform is run entirely by volunteers, and boasts a membership of over 150,000 people living with MS worldwide.