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Multiple Sclerosis Health Center

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How to Manage Your Multiple Sclerosis Pain

Each person with multiple sclerosis has a different pain story. Some don’t have any at all. Or you might feel a tingle, stab, or spasm.

One out of two people with the condition hurt for a long time. But there are several ways to get relief.

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Our expert answers questions about multiple sclerosis symptoms, diagnosis and treatments. Click here to read and participate. Ask WebMD's Multiple Sclerosis Expert

Read the Finding Help for Multiple Sclerosis article > >

Origins of the Ouch

The pain you feel from MS can come from different places in your body. It can be due to the damage to the neurons in your brain and spine. Or it can stem from your bones, joints, and muscles.

Lots of things affect what you feel, including how long you’ve had the condition, how old you are, and how active you are.

If You Have All-Over Pain

You may feel sensations of burning and aching on your feet, legs, and arms. In the early stages of the disease you might feel a “tight hug” around your belly or chest that gets worse at night, after exercise, or after changes in temperature. It might make surprising things uncomfortable, such as the feel of your bed covers or getting dressed.

Treatment: Your doctor will consider what kind of medicine you need. You might take a pain reliever, such as acetaminophen. Or you may use a skin gel with a pain reliever like lidocaine. Or you may do well with drugs that counter seizures or depression, which affect how the central nervous system reacts to pain. You can also try warm compresses or pressure gloves. They help change the pain into warmth.

On Your Face

It can feel like a terrible toothache, or like a stabbing pain in your eye, cheek, or jaw. It’s not a dental issue. Instead, it’s the result of nerve damage. It happens when your chew, talk, or brush your teeth, and can last from a few seconds to a few minutes.

Treatment: Your doctor may prescribe anti-seizure drugs. If your case is severe and medicine doesn’t help, you may need a minor surgical procedure to block those pain pathways.

In Your Neck

It feels like a brief shock when you nod your head forward. The shock can also travel down your spine, into your arms and legs.

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