Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

What defines multiple sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system). In MS, the immune system attacks the protective sheath (myelin) that covers nerve fibers and causes communication problems between your brain and the rest of your body.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
What are the four stages of MS?
  • Clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) This is the first episode of symptoms caused by inflammation and damage to the myelin covering nerves in the brain or spinal cord. …
  • Relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) …
  • Secondary-progressive MS (SPMS) …
  • Primary-progressive MS (PPMS)

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease affecting the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord).MS occurs when the immune system attacks nerve fibers and myelin sheathing (a fatty substance that surrounds/insulates healthy nerve fibers) in the brain and spinal cord. This attack causes inflammation, which destroys nerve cell processes and myelin–altering electrical messages in the brain.

MS is unpredictable and affects each patient differently – some individuals may be mildly affected, while others may lose their ability to write, speak or walk. There are several courses of multiple sclerosis that have been described:

Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

At the time of diagnosis, 90% of patients will have a relapsing-remitting course of the disease. This form of multiple sclerosis is characterized by the onset of neurological symptoms over a period of hours to days. Common symptoms of a relapse may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Blurred vision, double vision, or loss of vision
  • Unsteady gait
  • Weakness

These symptoms tend to persist for days or weeks, and then disappear partially or completely on their own or with treatment. Patients may then remain symptom-free for weeks, months, or even years (known as remission). Without treatment, most people with MS will develop disease symptoms that will gradually worsen over time (known as relapsing).

Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

If the relapsing-remitting condition changes to a point where there are no discernable relapses and remissions; the course of the disease has transitioned to secondary progressive MS. All those with secondary progressive MS began the disease with a relapsing-remitting disease course. In secondary progressive MS, symptoms accumulate and worsen without any remission.

There may be periods where symptoms are stable, but the overall course is one of worsening over time. Often an individual will describe a change in their abilities when comparing current function to past function but without identifying an episode that led to the worsening. Sometimes, after the onset of secondary progressive MS an individual may experience a relapse. The course would then be considered secondary progressive MS with relapses.

Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

About 10-15% of patients will have gradual worsening from the start of their MS disease. This is referred to as primary progressive MS. People with primary-progressive MS describe a gradual change in mobility; often walking, over time. They often describe heaviness and stiffness in the lower limbs. People with primary-progressive MS almost never have an exacerbation (relapse). If a relapse occurs after a primary progressive course is well established, the pattern is known as Progressive-Relapsing MS.

Benign Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Benign MS is a mild course where an individual will have a mild disease after having MS for about 15 years. This occurs in about 5-10% of patients. There is no good way of predicting which patients will follow this course. The only way to identify benign MS is AFTER someone has had the diagnosis of MS for at least 15 years and has had no evidence of worsening (both in functional ability and as evidenced on the MRI). Benign MS cannot be predicted at the time of diagnosis or even after a few years with MS.

What is the most aggressive form of multiple sclerosis?
“Fulminate MS” is a rapidly progressive disease course with severe relapses within five years after diagnosis; also known as “malignant MS” or “Marburg MS,” this form of very active MS may need to be treated more aggressively than other forms.
What are the top symptoms of multiple sclerosis?
Here are some of the more common symptoms of MS:
  • Vision problems. Visual problems are one of the most common symptoms of MS. …
  • Tingling and numbness. …
  • Pain and spasms. …
  • Fatigue and weakness. …
  • Balance problems and dizziness. …
  • Bladder and bowel dysfunction. …
  • Sexual dysfunction. …
  • Cognitive problems.
What was your first MS symptom?
They talked about a wide range of symptoms including; changes in vision (from blurry eyes to complete loss of sight), extreme tiredness, pain, difficulties with walking or balance leading to clumsiness or falling, changes in sensation like numbness, tingling, or even having your face ‘feel like a sponge.
Is multiple sclerosis a disability?
If you have Multiple Sclerosis, often known as MS, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits if your condition has limited your ability to work. To qualify and be approved for disability benefits with MS, you will need to meet the SSA’s Blue Book listing 11.09.
What does MS feel like in the beginning?
Numbness or Tingling
A lack of feeling or a pins-and-needles sensation can be the first sign of nerve damage from MS. It usually happens in the face, arms, or legs, and on one side of the body. It also tends to go away on its own.
What happens with untreated MS?
And if left untreated, MS can result in more nerve damage and an increase in symptoms. Starting treatment soon after you’re diagnosed and sticking with it may also help delay the potential progression from relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) to secondary-progressive MS (SPMS).
Can you have MS for years and not know it?
“MS is diagnosed most commonly in the ages between 20 and 50.It can occur in children and teens, and those older than 50,” said Smith. “But it can go unrecognized for years.” Added Rahn, “The incidence of MS in the United States according to the Multiple Sclerosis Society is over 1 million people.
How can I test myself for MS?
A complete neurological exam and medical history are needed to diagnose MS. There are no specific tests for MS. Instead, a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis often relies on ruling out other conditions that might produce similar signs and symptoms, known as a differential diagnosis.
What does MS tingling feel like?
For some people, the tingling sensations of MS are similar to those a person experiences when a foot or hand “falls asleep.” Others report more intense sensations, such as squeezing or burning. It is common for people to report bands of tingling.
When should you suspect multiple sclerosis?
People should consider the diagnosis of MS if they have one or more of these symptoms: vision loss in one or both eyes. acute paralysis in the legs or along one side of the body. acute numbness and tingling in a limb.
Can stress cause MS?
Exposure to stress has long been suspected as a factor that can aggravate MS.There are many studies showing that among people diagnosed with MS, stressful life events are associated with a significant increase in the risk of MS exacerbation in the weeks or months following the onset of the stressor.
Can a blood test detect MS?
While there is no definitive blood test for MS, blood tests can rule out other conditions that cause symptoms similar to those of MS, including lupus erythematosus, Sjogren’s, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, some infections, and rare hereditary diseases.
What foods are bad for MS?
It’s recommended that people with MS avoid certain foods, including processed meats, refined carbs, junk foods, trans fats, and sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • Trans Fats. You should also skip foods with trans fats, like commercially baked cookies, crackers, pies, and any other packaged products. …
  • Sugar. Too much sugar, especially in the form of sweets, can pack on pounds. …
  • Refined Carbs. Steer clear of white rice, white bread, and cold breakfast cereals
What diseases mimic multiple sclerosis?
Here are some of the conditions that are sometimes mistaken for multiple sclerosis:
  • Lyme Disease. …
  • Migraine. …
  • Radiologically Isolated Syndrome. …
  • Spondylopathies. …
  • Neuropathy. …
  • Conversion and Psychogenic Disorders. …
  • Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorder (NMOSD) …
  • Lupus
Can you drive with multiple sclerosis?
One of the first questions many people have when they’re diagnosed with MS is: “Will I still be able to drive?” The good news is that most people with MS continue to drive as normal.
Can I reverse MS?
There is currently no cure for MS, although some approved drugs appear to reduce the frequency of relapses and delay disease progression to some extent. The researchers are excited about their discovery because it takes treatment research into the area of reversing myelin damage.
What does MS feel like in your legs?
The weakness can make your legs feel heavy as if they are being weighed down by something. They may also ache and hurt. Some people with MS describe it as having bags of sand attached to their legs. This muscle weakness combined with MS fatigue can be upsetting.
Are eggs bad for MS?
eggs: good source of biotin, vitamin D, and other important nutrients. dairy products: such as milk, cheese, yogurt, and butter. fats: healthy fats, such as olive, flaxseed, coconut, and avocado oils. probiotic-rich foods: such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi.
Are bananas good for MS?
Biotin, a form of vitamin B, slightly improves disabilities in people with MS. Biotin-rich foods like liver, cauliflower, salmon, carrots, bananas, soy flour, cereals, and yeast can add power to any meal.
Is chocolate bad for MS?
New research, which features in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, finds that having a cocoa drink every day for 6 weeks helps combat fatigue in people living with multiple sclerosis.
Is milk bad for MS?
It’s not recommended that everyone living with MS needs to avoid dairy. Dairy products provide nutrients like protein, calcium, and vitamin D. We need protein to build and repair body cells. It also plays a role in keeping a strong immune system.
Is coffee good for multiple sclerosis?
Previous studies suggested that coffee and caffeine intake is associated with a reduced risk of developing MS and other neurological diseases. People who also reported high consumption of coffee exceeding 900 mL per day showed significantly less risk of developing MS vs. those who never consumed it. While one or two drinks might ease symptoms, the chronic use or abuse of alcohol can exacerbate symptoms.
Is sugar bad for multiple sclerosis?
“A diet high in processed sugar and simple carbohydrates can cause frequent swings between high and low blood sugar, and these swings can worsen fatigue in MS patients.” Sodium in high quantities may contribute to relapse (the flaring up of symptoms), reports a study published in the 2014 issue of Neurology.
Is oatmeal good for MS?
Eat More Whole Grains
Foods such as barley, brown rice, oatmeal, and whole-wheat bread, and pasta are not only rich in fiber but also in nutrients like selenium, an antioxidant that some studies suggest is lower among those with MS.
Is yogurt bad for MS?
Low-fat yogurt is a smart snack option for people with MS for a number of reasons. First, yogurt is a bone-health power food: It’s high in calcium, and some brands are fortified with vitamin D. In addition, probiotics — good-for-you bacteria found in most yogurts — help with digestive problems, a common MS woe.
Are oranges bad for MS?
According to Harvard Women’s Health Watch, an anti-inflammatory diet should include foods like tomatoes, leafy greens such as spinach and kale, and fruits like strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges. There’s some evidence that consuming these foods could be beneficial for MS.
Is peanut butter good for MS?
Peanut butter and other nut butter are rich sources of healthy, unsaturated fats and protein, while bananas are a good source of potassium and also provide fiber. And a whole wheat tortilla provides both protein and fiber — but be sure to look for tortillas with low or no saturated fat.
Is tea bad for MS?
Green tea is rich in antioxidants as well as epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a compound that may boost the immune system as well as brain cells. Although studies of the benefits of green tea in people with MS have yet to yield conclusive results, small amounts are perfectly safe and may help you feel better.
Can probiotics help MS?
Tankou and her Harvard associates just published a small study showing that probiotics can make a difference in the health of people living with multiple sclerosis (MS).Previous studies have shown the connection between gut bacteria and MS disease severity.
What is end-stage MS?

When a patient with multiple sclerosis begins to experience more pronounced complications, this is considered end-stage MS. Some of the end-stage MS symptoms patients may experience include: Limited Mobility – Patients may no longer be able to perform daily activities without assistance.

Benefits of Massage for Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Are massages good for MS patients?
Many people with multiple sclerosis (MS) use massage for prevention or relief of the following symptoms: Spasticity — Massage can help relax muscles and enhance range of motion exercises. Pain — Massage is useful in any condition in which a reduction in swelling or mobilization of tissues leads to pain relief.
Is foot massage good for MS?
Reflexologists believe stimulating these points can encourage natural healing. As well as providing the calming effects of touch, reflexology can promote relaxation and improve wellbeing. According to a survey, reflexology is one of the most popular complementary therapies used by people with MS.
What therapy is good for MS?
Specialist fatigue management courses or therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), can also help some people with MS cope with their fatigue.
Can massage make MS symptoms worse?
Many people with MS find massage helps relieve spasticity. But spasticity is tricky; too much massage can exacerbate the symptom.
How do physiotherapists help with MS?
A physiotherapist works with people with MS to assess physical difficulties and help improve movement and other functions of the body. Exercise is one of the key ways in which they do this. Physiotherapy can be useful to help you find exercises that meet your specific needs and abilities.
Is exercise good for MS?
People with MS can benefit from at least 30 minutes of physical activity at least three days a week. For someone with MS, exercise that’s too aggressive can bring on severe fatigue and injury and exacerbate symptoms.
Can acupuncture help MS symptoms?
Acupuncture may provide relief for some MS-related symptoms, including pain, spasticity, numbness and tingling, bladder problems, and depression. There is no evidence, however, that acupuncture can reduce the frequency of MS exacerbations or slow the progression of disability.
Can a chiropractor help with MS?
Chiropractic care cannot treat MS or its symptoms, but it may be able to relieve pain and discomfort related to MS. Chiropractic is a form of complementary medicine that helps to manage the musculoskeletal system which may help to treat patients with MS.

Massage therapy can’t cure MS or change the course of the disease. But for some people with MS, massage therapy can be helpful in easing certain symptoms and improving the overall quality of life.

MS is different for each person who has it. The potential benefits of massage therapy will also vary from person to person.

Some MS symptoms that might improve with massage are:

  • spasticity
  • pain
  • fatigue
  • poor circulation
  • stress
  • anxiety
  • depression

It can also help prevent pressure sores, boost your mood, and improve physical and social functioning.

In 2016, a small study found that massage therapy was safe and beneficial in managing pain and fatigue in people with MS. Participants were given massage therapy once a week for six weeks. The study authors said that decreasing pain and fatigue may help to improve quality of life.

Another small study published in 2014 concluded that massage was safe and may help people with MS manage the stress of their symptoms. Participants reported that they felt an improvement in their overall well-being due to massage. The authors noted that this benefit could be from pain relief, the social interaction involved with massage, or a combination of both.

A small 2013 study of people with MS indicated that massage therapy could be more effective than exercise therapy in reducing pain. And combining massage therapy with exercise therapy maybe even more helpful.

While these studies are all promising, they’ve all been very small. Larger long-term studies are needed to fully understand the benefits of massage for MS. But none of these studies have found any major risks, so it’s worth trying if you’re interested.

Overworking the tissues can leave a person with MS feeling bruised and fatigued. Also, many massage therapists use hydrotherapy applications, such as hot packs, and this may not be appropriate for a person with MS.

MS symptoms and response to massage therapy treatment may be different from person to person, and even within the same individual from time to time. It’s important to see a massage therapist who can assess your needs and responses, and adjust accordingly.

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*Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider.
Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.
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