Multiple Sclerosis is a progressive disease of the central nervous system that causes the protective coverings of nerve cells to be damaged. This can result in a vast variety of symptoms, many of are often misidentified in early cases of MS. The symptoms reveal themselves in issues related to the brain and spinal cord, causing everything from numbness to paralysis to vision loss.
Some people experience zero symptoms before a major one -- like partial facial paralysis -- occurs and sends them straight to the hospital. In hindsight, many patients recognize other, smaller symptoms they may previously have written off as unrelated.
If you are wondering if you might have MS, or think your symptoms could be related, check out the list below:
Vision Problems Visual problems are one of the most common symptoms of MS. Inflammation affects the optic nerve and disrupts central vision. This can cause blurred vision, double vision, or loss of vision. You may not notice the vision problems immediately, as degeneration of clear vision can be slow. Pain when you look up or to one side also can accompany vision loss. There are variety of ways to cope with MS-related vision changes.
Tingling and Numbness MS affects nerves in the brain and spinal cord (the body’s message center). This means it can send conflicting signals around the body. Sometimes, no signals are sent. This results in numbness. Tingling sensations and numbness are one of the most common warning signs of MS. Common sites of numbness include the face, arms, legs, and fingers.
Pain and Spasms Chronic pain and involuntary muscle spasms are also common with MS. One study, according to the National MS Society, showed that half of people with MS had chronic pain. Muscle stiffness or spasms (spasticity) are also common. You might experience stiff muscles or joints as well as uncontrollable, painful jerking movements of the extremities. The legs are most often affected, but back pain is also common.