multiple sclerosis symptoms

An autoimmune disease, multiple sclerosis (MS) results when the body’s immune system starts to attack and destroy myelin, the protecting coating on nerve fibers in the brain and/or spinal cord of the central nervous system. Attacks on the myelin sheath cause it to become inflamed in small patches (called plaques or lesions), and the inflammation disrupts messages traveling along the nerves, slowing and even blocking them. This loss of effective nerve communication leads to disease symptoms.

While a number of symptoms are common to MS patients, their severity and nature can vary widely.  Each MS patient is believed to be affected differently.

The most common symptoms of multiple sclerosis include:

Fatigue, an intense feeling of tiredness often accompanied by a loss of the urge and ability to work or do daily tasks. This is a major reason for the long-term employment difficulties reported by people with MS. Fatigue is a common multiple sclerosis symptom, found in 80% of all cases.

Numbness and tingling of the face, body, arms and legs.  Numbness is often an early MS symptom, often reported prior to an MS diagnosis. Facial muscle twitching and trigeminal neuralgia have also been reported in patients.

Muscle spasms, causing stiffness in muscles of the limbs and most involuntary muscles.

Walking difficulties are a result of fatigue, spasticity (muscle tightness and resistance to movement), loss of the sense of balance, and a deficit in sensory nerve impulses.

Bladder problems are also found in almost 80% of MS patients. Bladder dysfunction in MS can range from frequent urination to urinary incontinence, an inability to fully empty the bladder, and urinary infections.

Lightheadedness, dizziness, and vertigo.

Bowel problems. Constipation is the most common symptom here, and bladder incontinence, while less common, is associated with constipation.

Pain, either neuropathic or musculoskeletal, has been reported by patients. One study found 50% to 55% of patients had either “clinically significant” chronic or occasional pain as a result of the disease.

Vision problems can also be an early disease symptom, and include blurred vision, double vision, temporary loss of vision, eye pain (especially when moving the eye), or color blindness. (Optical neuritis, due to damage to the optic nerve, is a complication of MS.)

Cognitive changes, such as problems with thinking or reasoning, learning, problem-solving, and planning, are among the range of high-level brain functions affected by the disease.

Sexual problems, including erectile dysfunction in men.

Emotional changes, including depression, anxiety, and mood swings.

Some of the less common symptoms of MS include slurred or slow speech, tremors (uncontrolled shaking) , dysphagia (swallowing problems), uncontrolled itching (sensations of being stabbed or pricked by needles), hearing loss, and headache.

Multiple sclerosis is a lifelong condition, but it is possible in most cases to address symptoms with treatments that range from medications to physical therapy or assisted therapy. Again, disease symptoms and their severity vary widely among people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

Read more about multiple sclerosis diagnosis.

Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

31 comments

  1. John Kerry says:

    Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease in which the protective myelin sheath of the nerves is damaged, affecting the transmission of messages to and from brain and spinal cord. This is a progressive and debilitating disease that results in nerve deterioration which is, unfortunately, an irreversible process. In this disease, the body’s own immune system attacks the nerves and affects a number of functions like coordination, vision and balance. This is one of the most common causes of neurological disability and it starts during middle ages. The actual cause of the disease is not known yet.
    As multiple sclerosis affects nerves, the symptoms may occur in different parts of the body. The symptoms usually begin in between the ages of 20-years-old and 40-years-old during which time it is mild and often remain unnoticed. The symptoms depend on the types of nerves that are affected and also on the amount of damage caused. The type of symptoms may vary from one person to another.

      • T Rico says:

        Meclizine aka Dramamine 25mg 2-3 times daily is prescribed for my chronic severe vertigo. I also take hydrochlorithizide 25mg to remove excess salt from my body. I have been to three different Drs all agree on these meds. I also take a Valium 5mg at night.
        Please see a dr if you dizziness becomes bad, severe or scary. Vertigo is a symptom of MS.
        Please take care. Hope you feel better.

  2. Elena Wright says:

    I have more of these symptoms than I would like. I don’t know if I should try to talk to a doctor, or wait.

  3. Reinaldo Colón says:

    I was diagnosed in 1986 back then I was in college studying electrelectrical engineering. Finally graduated in 1989. At this time I was walking like anybody else. After using a cane, then a Walker I use a wheel chair to work. At home I’m using a Walker in my home first and second floor. I have a lifter to go from first to second floor. Now I’m married with 3 kids. As my MS progressed today I’m working 9 hours a day. Using Ampyra and Tecfidera for many years. At night an in the morning I’m having tremors for which my doctor prescribed Tizanidine 2 caps at bed time.

    • Alex says:

      Tizanidine is the only way I get any sleep. I suffer from leg tremors, and RLS + Insomnia. All from MS. I refuse to use a cane or walker, I just slowly get up and steady myself until I feel good enough to move and the tremor has subsided. Also an ADHD sufferer, I take Concerta 36mg daily, It helps with the fog/concentration issues which became so severe 15 cups of coffee by noon did nothing.

  4. Donna says:

    Hi guys don’t know if you can help in anyway .i have been getting extreme pins and needles in my hands and feet and numbness too and twitching a lot and it’s been going on for I’d say nearly hitting 2 years go to the doctors and just gives me pain relief getting really frustrated .any feedback would be appreciated thank you.xxx

  5. Crystal Johnson says:

    I was hit in my head, millimeters from my right eye, with a rock in a boys hand! He tried to kill me after I beat up he and his cousin. I am a female and we were 9 years old. I am an only child and had to protect myself. I did not get any medical treatment. I lost my vision and was diagnosed with MS in 2008.
    I never related the two now!
    It makes so much sense. I recall reading that it could be something that happened to you as a child!
    I think I’ve just figured out why I have this Mess called MS. Can you’ll reply?

    Thanks

  6. Tom says:

    Im currently suffering with many of symptoms above body spasms, fatigue, joint pain, numbness/tingling in feet & hand morning & night. Ive had many tests over past 2 months blood tests , mri,ct scans, everything has came back fine. Ive had to go private currently waiting for results back from a nerve conduction test.

    Does anyone else suffer woth chronic fatigue symdrome as that is what theyve said it at moment but i feel with all other symptoms i have it just dosent add up and my health is definitely getting worse even on medication (baclofen & vertigo tablets)

    • Kim says:

      I have the same issue. People want to blame ot on stress, anxiety, or fatigue, but I dont feel that way. Wondering if lessions are just too small to show on the MRi since they have only begun a few months ago.

  7. Kalie says:

    Same symtpoms. Started out at vertigo and now right hand dual achy pain. Pins and needle feelings, cold feet/hands, muscle twitches all day/night. Shortness of breath at times. Anxiety is an all time high. Ct was normal along with normal blood work but i was referred to a neuro specialist.

  8. Jessica says:

    Hello, I have been having all over body twitching specially in my legs and glutes for a few months now. Sometimes I am in pain because of the tension and restlessness. My joints hurt, back aches, and my right foot has numbness in two toes only when I move them. I have already seen a neurologist and he thinks it’s benign fasciculation syndrome but I feel they are missing something. I am always tired and generally feel weak and just not right. I am 28 years old and I fear ALS. However, looking at these symptoms list MS might be more possible.

    • Blarz says:

      Depression and anxiety brings about all these symptoms . Peri menopause and menopause cause many issues as well (dizziness, vertigo, itchy, high anxiety , and especially joint pain ) do your due diligence on all these subjects and you will be surprised.

  9. Megan says:

    I’d like to attempt to get some direction of the possibility of MS for my significant other. He has been experiencing progressive muscle spasms/jerking in his legs, arms, and occasionally other body parts. They have been getting consistently worse over the past 4 months. His vision is also getting worse progressively. He is having to see a specialist because his eye doctor said his eye muscles were not working properly. He gets cold very easily-often wearing gloves inside the house. He sometimes displays a depressed mood and has difficulty communicating with others at time (slow processing, etc).
    The muscle spasms/jerking and decreasing vision are what worry me the most.

    • Char says:

      Was dx with White Matter Disease….precursor to MS. My head is always hot! If you feel my forehead and top of skull, it’s like a fever, but take my temp and no fever. My feet and hands are always cold. I wish I could balance out the temps.

  10. Tricia says:

    Hello; I have had genetically high blood pressure that I’ve been treating for 5 years. Any symptoms I have, I immediately relate to my heart. But after some tests, I have to consider other causes. I am 35 years old. For the last month I have had unusual symptoms. Heart burn, mild headaches, intermittent difficulties with swallowing (right after I initiate swallowing.. it’s like it get’s caught right in the top of my throat, and happens infrequently.) One episode with full head and face tingling and one episode with just jaw area tingling. One blood test did show results of SLIGHTLY low blood sugar. I ama alight build with no diabetes in my family. I do, however have an Uncle with MS and my great grandmother had MS. We do not know any further than that because my Grandpa was in foster care and only had information about his mother. Anyone else start with symptoms like this?

  11. Cortney says:

    I was diagnosed 12yrs ago w/this dreaded disease and have been put thru the ringer with all that comes along w/MS. Pain throughout my entire body, head to toe, double vision, numbness, headache, my attitude is complete s**t sometime, fatigue, memory, speech, bladder issues, ED, balance, the list goes on. I work everyday and just try and hide all of my flaws but on occasion get caught up. I deal w/a team of neurologists in OKC ok who have been a great help throughout my journey as an MS patient. Of all the different things that i have tried to help myself thru this i’ve found that medical marijuana has been quite a life change to some of my symptoms and i encourage you to try, step out your box and see the difference it could possibly make for you.

  12. Jennifer says:

    I can’t take it anymore my whole body painfully jerks legs twist kick have feeling like I’m being bitten all over itch dizziness vision issues (depth) sometimes people can’t understand what I’m saying other times I know what I want to say but can’t I get a feeling like I’m lost or I’m awake but no one’s home I’m tired I can’t sleep due to twitching itching and pain and swelling. Please I have state medical and the last 4 yrs they have just messed with me getting me hooked in pain pills but no relief besides the effect of the pills I recently attempted suicide was found eyes open but unable to speak I’m told just smiled alot then went into a coma I can’t handle this the pain in every joint is enough to drive someone nuts then add jerking all night and let’s top it with itching and the feeling of being bitten OMG I’m a person 2 I was in the Navy for 15 yes I’m sorry I need help but man I have kids this has changed me taken me from my family n friends please please someone give me some sort of direction oh I also can’t seem to get on the ball I lag know what needs done just don’t and that’s not me at all and I loosing my mind or was the Dr whom told me I had ms at 30 and military medical insurance correct 2 bad I lost that insurance 30 days later prior to getting anywhere with this as far as test etc

    • Christa says:

      I’m so sorry to hear of everything you’re going through, but I beg you Please not to give up! Your kids and family need you. You need you!! Know that your not alone in your pain and suffering. Have you heard of the book Medical Medium? In it the author describes how you can begin to heal by the foods you choose to eat and by taking certain vitamins or health supplement s based on your symptoms. A lot of people have said his protocol has worked miracles. Check him out, Anthony Williams on Instagram and read his book. Start by drinking pure celery juice every morning. Give it a try, what can it hurt? You are what you eat. It will take time, but I truly believe you can heal from this. Don’t let it defeat you. It’s time to make a change. You got this and remember you’re not alone. Hang in there! Xoxo

    • Cristina E Scala says:

      Want to first say thank you for your service! Multiple chemical sensitivity can cause a lot of your symptoms. Try to eat clean foods and get rid of chemicals and electromagnetic charges.. let’s hope it helps some

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *