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Multiple Sclerosis Health Center

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Multiple Sclerosis (MS) - Symptoms

The symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) vary from person to person depending on which parts of the brain or spinal cord (central nervous system) are damaged. The loss of myelin and scarring caused by MS can affect any part of the central nervous system. Myelin is the insulating coating around a nerve.

Symptoms may come and go or become more or less severe from day to day or, in rare cases, from hour to hour. Symptoms may become worse with increased body temperature or after a viral infection.

Recommended Related to Multiple Sclerosis

Lhermitte’s Sign: What Is It? How Do You Treat It?

It lasts just a few seconds, but it can be startling: An intense burst of pain like an electric shock that runs down your back into your arms and legs when you move your neck. It’s called Lhermitte’s sign, or barber chair sign, and it’s often one of the symptoms that people mention when they’re first diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The problem can be painful, but it’s not life-threatening. With time or with treatment, some people stop having Lhermitte’s sign.

Read the Lhermitte’s Sign: What Is It? How Do You Treat It? article > >

Early symptoms

Common early symptoms of MS include:

  • Muscle or motor symptoms, such as weakness, leg dragging, stiffness, a tendency to drop things, a feeling of heaviness, clumsiness, or a lack of coordination (ataxia).
  • Visual symptoms, such as blurred, foggy, or hazy vision, eyeball pain (especially when you move your eyes), blindness, or double vision. Optic neuritis-sudden loss of vision that is often painful-is a fairly common first symptom. It occurs in up to 25 out of 100 people who have MS.
  • Sensory symptoms, such as tingling, a pins-and-needles sensation, numbness, a band of tightness around the trunk or legs, or electrical sensations moving down the back and legs.

Advanced symptoms

As MS progresses, symptoms may become more severe and may include:

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: September 11, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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