10 Common Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a condition where your immune system basically devours the protective covering of your nerves. This nerve damage interrupts how your brain communicates with the rest of your body.
Physical therapy and medications, such as transfusions, subdue your immune system to help manage symptoms and slow progression of the condition. The severity and duration of symptoms vary. Some may not experience symptoms most of their lives, but others have severe, chronic symptoms that don’t go away.
Symptom 1: Trouble with Vision
Are you having trouble seeing as well as you used to? Do you have double vision? Vision loss? Blurred vision?
Issues with your vision are usually one of the first symptoms of MS. Your optic nerve can become inflamed and cause eye problems and pain. Also, lesions on nerve pathways that control eye movements and visual coordination can be affected by MS.
Symptom 2: Loss of Balance
Do you have issues keeping your balance? Difficulty walking – even when you are not drunk? Unable to rapidly change motions? Think you are just clumsy?
As MS progresses, you may need to use a cane, wheelchair, or other walking device.
Symptom 3: Fatigue
MS causes two types of fatigue. Either you’re always feeling tired, despite getting several hours of sleep. Or, your muscles tire easily. You may begin to drag one of your legs or become unsteady.
To battle against fatigue, try exercising regularly, but conserve energy, as well. Do not plan to do everything in one day.
Symptom 4: Pain
Do you randomly have spasms and feel pain? Do you feel pain when you nod your head? Or move your eyes?
With MS, you may experience muscle stiffness or spasms and painful jerking movements of your arms, legs, and other extremities.
Symptom 5: Numb Limbs
Do your hands, feet, legs, or arms feel numb? Tingling? Burning? Such sensations are due to nerve damage from MS.
In some cases, MS makes you unable to use certain limbs and can lead to paralysis.
Symptom 6: Weakness
Nerve damage from MS can make your muscles stiff and weak – making it difficult to perform everyday tasks. Muscle weakness can occur anywhere in your body, especially because of reduced activity and inability to exercise.
According to Multiple Sclerosis News Today, one patient stated: “Sometimes walking, even with an assistance device, can be very challenging because of the extreme muscle weakness that I experience. The slow, off-balanced gait that has been my constant companion for many years prior to my 2010 multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis is definitely on the decline.”
Symptom 7: Tremors
Do you have tremors, muscle spasms, shaking, or overactive reflexes in your hands or legs? Or other involuntary movements? They may be mild or severe and debilitating. Tremors are usually caused by lesions, as well as damage to nerves and myelin from MS.
According to everyday Health, “The tremor can affect your hands, arms, legs, or even your head and vocal cord muscles."
Symptom 8: Cramping
Do your muscles feel tight? Painful? Muscle spasms and cramps are possible with MS.
To manage cramping, try eating foods high in potassium; stay hydrated and drink teas; and stretch and exercise regularly. On MultipleSclerosis.net, one patient stated: “I just have to put my foot, of the limb that’s cramping flat, and stretch.”
Symptom 9: Dizziness/Vertigo
Due to MS, lesions in your brain and damaged nerve pathways that coordinate visual, spatial, and other communication to the brain affect your equilibrium. Your balance is affected, and you may have dizziness and vertigo.
With MS, whether sitting or standing, you may feel lightheaded and unbalanced – increasing your risk of falling.
Symptom 10: Urination
Do you urinate more often at night? Do you have a persistent urge to urinate?
MS makes your bladder unable to hold a normal amount of urine and makes it more difficult to properly empty your bladder.