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Symptoms

Symptoms

People who have MS may experience a range of both physical and emotional symptoms.

Each person's experience of MS is different and unique, so are the symptoms they experience.

AREAS OF THE BODY THAT COULD BE AFFECTED BY MS

General

  • Dizziness1
    Including vertigo, which is a feeling that surroundings are spinning.
  • Fatigue1
    An overwhelming sense of exhaustion.
  • Muscle spasms1
    Muscles contracting tightly and painfully.
  • Numbness1
    Loss of physical feeling in parts of the body.
  • Pain1
    Can be musculoskeletal pain, or sensations caused by nervous system damage including feelings of burning or pins and needles.
  • Tingling1
    Slight prickling or stinging sensation.
  • Weakness1
    Feeling frail or fragile.

Head

  • Cognitive problems1
    Having trouble remembering, learning new things, concentrating or making decisions.
  • Dysarthria 1
    Speech that has become slurred or difficult to understand.
  • Dysphagia1
    Problems swallowing food or liquids.
  • Hearing problems2
    Can include tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
  • Lhermitte’s sign3
    A buzzing sensation in neck.
  • Nystagmus 4
    Constant eye movement.
  • Pseudobulbar affect5
    Uncontrollable laughing or crying.
  • Visual problems 1
    Including optic neuritis (inflammation of the optic nerve), temporary loss of vision, double vision, colour blindness, eye pain, or flashes of light when moving the eye.

Chest

  • MS Hug6
    A ‘tight band’ feeling across the chest which causes pain.

Pelvis

  • Erectile dysfunction1
    Finding it harder to obtain or maintain an erection.
  • Incontinence 1
    A sudden urge to urinate, which can lead to unintentionally passing urine.
  • Urinary tract infections 1
    A common infection that affects the bladder.

Foot

  • Foot drop 7
    Weakness in front of the foot.

BEYOND THE PHYSICAL IMPACT

For many with MS it is the impact of physical symptoms on their everyday life which is the biggest concern.8

    1. 1. NHS Choices. Multiple Sclerosis – symptoms. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Multiple-sclerosis/Pages/Symptoms.aspx#fatigue. Accessed November 2017.
    2. 2. MS Trust. A-Z Hearing problems. Available at: https://www.mstrust.org.uk/a-z/hearing-problems. Accessed November 2017.
    3. 3. MS Trust. A-Z Lhermitte’s sign. Available at: https://www.mstrust.org.uk/a-z/lhermittes-sign. Accessed November 2017.
    4. 4. MS Trust. A-Z nystagmus. Available at: https://www.mstrust.org.uk/a-z/nystagmus. Accessed November 2017.
    5. 5. MS Trust. A-Z Pseudobulbar affect (pathological laughing and crying). Available at: https://www.mstrust.org.uk/a-z/pseudobulbar-affect-pathological-laughing-and-crying. Accessed November 2017.
    6. 6. MS Trust. A-Z MS Hug. Available at: https://www.mstrust.org.uk/a-z/ms-hug. Accessed November 2017.
    7. 7. MS Trust. A-Z Foot Drop. Available at: https://www.mstrust.org.uk/a-z/foot-drop. Accessed November 2017.
    8. 8. Sanofi Genzyme data on file, November 2017.
Trishna Bharadia

Disability to me means both physical and mental symptoms and both visible and hidden symptoms that can have a severe impact on how you can carry out day to day living and tasks.

Trishna Bharadia, MS Campaigner and Blogger

The missing pieces report

Download the "Missing Pieces" report which aims to identify the gaps or ‘missing pieces’ in knowledge, awareness, treatment pathways and care plans, which are preventing people with MS from accessing the right treatment. It has explored the attitudes of people with MS and their healthcare providers towards treatment in the UK and underlines the need to challenge our thinking around treatment goals and end-points.

report