Editor’s note: Tamara Sellman continues her occasional series on the “MS alphabet” with this column referencing terms starting with the letter “S.” Third in a series of five.
Symptoms of MS
Many people with MS experience a wide array of sensory problems caused by nerve damage to the organs of the body that process sensory input: skin, eyes, ears, nose, and mouth.
There are three kinds of sensory problems: pain sensation, abnormal sensation, and loss of sensation.
• Skin sensations such as pins and needles, tingling, crawling skin
• Itching, also referred to as neurological pruritus
• Heat or cold intolerance
• Hypersensitivity to any kind of sensory stimuli (visual disarray, or loud, sudden noises, for example)
• Vision problems (blurring, nystagmus, optic neuritis)
• Hearing problems (tinnitus, or “ringing ears”)
• Changes in sense of taste or smell
• Hypersensitivity to touch or light, leading to discomfort
• Burning sensations in the feet and hands
• The “MS hug,” a neurological spasm that tightens the ribcage
• Lhermitte’s sign, a neurological phenomenon in which the bending of the neck produces a sharp electrical pain down the back and arms
• Headache and migraine.
Loss of sensation
• Loss of sense of taste or smell.
Note: These lists by no means describe all of the possible sensory problems someone with MS might experience.
SNRS (Scripps Neurologic Rating Scale)
Developed in the early 1980s, the SNRS is a test designed to measure and summarize the neurological health status of MS patients.
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