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
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.
As MS progresses, symptoms may
become more severe and may include:
Worse muscle problems, and stiff,
mechanical movements (spasticity) or
uncontrollable shaking (tremor). These problems may make walking
difficult. A wheelchair may be needed some or all of the time.
and other sensory symptoms.
Bladder symptoms, such as an inability to hold urine (urinary incontinence) or to completely empty the bladder, or a loss of bladder sensation.