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This is an MS blog, run by an ageing MSer named Stephen Walker. Stephen was diagnosed, formally, with Multiple Sclerosis in 1994 at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. This diagnosis was made after undergoing an MRI scan and a lumbar puncture.

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

MS is a demyelinating condition where the patient’s own immune system attacks the protein in myelin. The protective coating surrounding the nerves of the Central Nervous System (CNS) is myelin.

Multiple Sclerosis is considered to be an autoimmune disease with no known cure.

Stephen claims to have been diagnosed in 1994 but, after living with MS for over 25 years he now believes that he was born with this disease. It took a bad dose of ‘flu to trigger multiple sclerosis in, roughly, 1992.

Prior to this, there had been mild symptoms which could only be ascribed to MS with the extensive experience he now has.

Multiple sclerosis symptoms

Because MS affects the central nervous system, multiple sclerosis symptoms can affect any part of the body. The most common MS symptoms are numbness and tingling in hands, arms or face. Fatigue, Muscle spasms, pain and vision problems.

The most visible symptom will be the inability to walk properly. Difficulty with speech may also be fairly evident.

walking with the help of walker
surgeon holding tools performing surgery

Multiple Sclerosis treatment

There is, currently, no cure for Multiple Sclerosis so, your medical specialist can only treat the symptoms. Steris may be prescribed in an attempt to speed the recovery from a relapse.

Disease-Modifying Drugs or DMDs may be used to try and reduce the frequency of relapses.

However, you will have an MS Support team of specialists to assist with your treatment, including a neurologist, a physiotherapist and a speech and language therapist.

What is scleros

The Skleros were a Byzantine noble family. Otherwise, it is assumed that scleros is a mis-spelling of sclerosis. The word Sclerosis is derived from the Greek language.

It implies a stiffening of tissue, usually with tissue replacement by connecting tissue. You may be more familiar with the word scar.

Furthermore, there is a great deal of misunderstanding surrounding multiple sclerosis. So, I hope this doesn’t add to it.

physical therapy helping a patient learn to walk
doctor looking at x-ray

Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis

A neurologist will assess your muscle strength, eye movement and vision as well as your balance and coordination.

An MRI scan will probably be performed to look for lesions in your brain or in your spinal cord. And a lumbar puncture will be used to test your spinal fluid for abnormalities.

There are a number of evoked potential tests to assess your abilities although, most commonly,brainwaves are measured in response to being shown light patterns.

MSer Life Expectancy

A Norwegian study has shown that MS patients have a shorter lifespan and higher mortality than those without multiple sclerosis.

MSers are expected to live for seven to fourteen years less than non MSers with patients People with PPMS (Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis) have a 10% higher mortality.

But, on the plus side, my mother has had MS since she was in her 30s. She is currently 85 and still going out for a walk every day.

Woman Experiencing Headache

What causes multiple sclerosis

Nobody knows why someone develops MS. It is not anything you have done, or not done.

What has been established is that it involves a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

However, genes you inherit pass the susceptibility and environmental factors trigger or activate the disease. A lack of sunlight and thereby vitamin D may play a part in the disease. Smoking and teenage obesity greatly increase your risk of developing multiple sclerosis.

What are usually the first signs of MS

The first signs of MS are as varied as the ongoing symptoms. Healthline lists the following five symptoms as early indicators:

  • vision problems.
  • tingling and numbness.
  • pains and spasms.
  • weakness or fatigue.
  • balance problems or dizziness.

Personally, I started with the numbness and tingling in my hands and arms followed shortly thereafter by muscle weakness also in my hands and arms.

Furthermore, I went on to develop all of these symptoms and more in my first 10 years of living with multiple sclerosis.

Pushing a person in a wheelchair
stress test exercise electrocardiogram treadmill test ECG

Multiple Sclerosis pathophysiology

The inflammatory demyelination process is triggered by a T & B cell response to myelin self-antigens. The autoimmune response triggers peripheral activation of CD4+ T-cells and CD8+ T-cells that can cross the blood=brain barrier. Once in the brain parenchyma CD4+ T-cells attach to antigens on myelin basic protein.

Once the inflammatory complement cascade is activated, it causes additional release of cytokines and chemokines, recruitment of inflammatory cells including T cells, monocytes, and B cells.

MS neck pain

Pain is a regular symptom of Multiple Sclerosis. Neck pain can be common because the demyelinated nerves could be triggering pain signals as a direct reult of the nerve damage or the pain could be muscular in nature because the head may not be supported correctly straining the muscles.

In addition, the nerve damage could cause the meck muscles to go into spasm, producing pain.

Doctor Giving Patient a Flu Shot
nurse holding patient chart in hand

Can you live a normal life with MS

People with multiple sclerosis can be, largely, symptom-free for many years. However, as symptoms develop, constant fatigue can limit “normal” life and cognitive impairment can prevent you from holding down a job.

But, if your speech becomes impaired or your eyesight starts failing, an active life could be very difficult.

Furthermore, two-thirds of MSers, after living with multiple sclerosis for many years, are still able to walk with relative ease..

I have mobility issues and have a powered wheelchair and a mobility scooter. However, I can still walk around the house without using a walking aid.

Hand tremors MS

A common symptom of multiple sclerosis (MS) is tremor. A shaking that you can’t control. This usually develops five or more years into your MS Journey. The severity of the termors can range from barely perceptible to violent shaking that interferes with daily tasks.

MS Health Blog

However, these tremors are involuntary muscle contractions that cause a rhythmic rocking movement od the affected body part. Most often, these tremors are in the hands, feet or legs. But, can impact the vocal cords or jaw.

Furthermore, there are two types of tremor that generally affect the MSer:

  • Intention Tremor when you reach for something, you hand will start to shake. As you get close to the target object, the shaking will worsen. This is the most common MS Tremor
  • Postural Tremor happens when you are sitting or standing and trying to hold your body in position.

If the tremor is in your jaw, lip or tongue you may have trouble swallowing (dysphagia) or difficulty speaking clearly (dysarthria)

In most cases, these tremors are mildly annoying and slightly embarrassing. However, an unlucky few will have tremors so severely that everyday tasks are impossible. Eating and drinking can be messy and embarrassing which leads me onto the delicacy of having to request assistance with dressing.

MS weird feeling in head

This suggested weird feeling in head had me perplexed. So, I did some extensive Googling to see what I could find.

I could not relate a weird feeling in head to any MS symptom I have experienced. All of the online mentions I found were about a sharp pain ir weirde electric shock when the head is tilted forward.

The is classic Lhermitte’s Sign or Lhermitte’s Symptom and is a potential indicator of Multiple Sclerosis.

Child Using an Asthma Inhaler
Optician Pointing To Eye Exam

How often do MS relapses occur

An MS Relapse is a period where new symptoms appear or existing symptoms worsen. Relapse go by a number of different names including attacks, flares, episodes, blips and exacerbations.

For a relapse to be considered genuine, existing symptoms must be significantly worse, new symptoms must appear and should last for at least 24 hours.

The preceding remission must have been over 30 days ago. And the symptoms should have no other plausible cause.

Patients with RRMS have, on average, a relapse every two years according to a UK survey in 2012. Relapses are more likely in the early years of your MS. And patients with SPMS or PPMS will have far fewer if any relapses.

What is Advanced MS

MS is a progressive disease meaning that it is likely to get worse over time. It is possible that you become severely affected by MS.

Symptoms are so severe that you are visibly disabled and need to use a wheelchair and may need constant care. This can take many years and you are said to have Advanced MS is you have to make major changes to your life to accommodate the disability.

four vials of blood samples with labels
psychiatrist with patient on couch

Multiple Sclerosis Introduction

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic neurological condition resulting from damage to the myelin in the Central Nervous System (CNS). MS usually begins in early adulthood and is 2-3 times more common in women than in men.

Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic condition with no known cure. The symptoms vary hugely in variety and severity.

MS vs RA

On the face of it, Multiple Sclerosis and Rheumatoid Arthritis would appear to have nothing in common.

But, both conditions are considered to be autoimmune diseases and both are characterised with inflammation.

The conditions do not share any aymptoms.

However, there are overlapping pathophysiological similarities of T cell and tumour necrosis factor α (TNFα) in both diseases.

boy taking an x ray
surgeon holding tools performing surgery

Is Tysabri multiple sclerosis

Tysabri (natalizumab) is a disease-modifying drug given to patients with very active Relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) showing two or more relapses per year.

This drug is available on the NHS in the UK. But, must be prescribed by a neurologist.

Tysabri is a very effective (category 2.0) DMD; and has been shown to reduce relapses by as much as 70%

However, treatment with Tysabri can increase the risk of an uncommon brain infection called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML).

While very uncommon, progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy can lead to severe disability or even death.

Can an epidural cause MS

An epidural is pain relief given by injection into the spine. It involves injecting a small amount of anesthetic into the epidural space of the spine. The epidural space is filled with fluid and surrounds the spinal cord.

This where lesions can form in patients with MS. So, it may be logical to make a connection.

But, there is no written confirmation that this procedure can cause Multiple Sclerosis. Indeed, MS New Today reported that it does not increase the risk of relapses.

man with a backache
kid holding stethoscope and medical box

Multiple Sclerosis anatomy

MS causes gradual destruction of myelin (demyelination) and transection of neuron axons in patches throughout the brain and spinal cord. The name multiple sclerosis refers to the multiple scars (or scleroses) on the myelin sheaths.


Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms NHS
MS Life Expectancy MS News Today
Early Symptoms Healthline
Pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment of Multiple Sclerosis Ohio State University
MS (Multiple Sclerosis) Neck Pain Natural MS Treatment
Tremor as a Symptom of Multiple Sclerosis VerywellHealth
MS weird sensation in Head MS Society Blog
Managing MS Relapses MS Trust
Tysabri (natalizumab) MS Trust
Pregnancy and Epidurals in MS MS ResearchPain Treatment During Pregnancy Does Not Increase Risk of MS Relapses MS News Today

Related Posts

What causes this condition
Beating the Brain Fog
Early Signs of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) First Symptoms

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