What is multiple sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis is a disease affecting your brain and spinal cord, which together make up your central nervous system. Because your central nervous system controls all of your bodily actions, multiple sclerosis can cause a number of difficulties and impair your function significantly.
What causes multiple sclerosis?
The cause of multiple sclerosis isn't known, but researchers do know that it occurs when your immune system attacks your central nervous system.
This causes severe damage to the myelin sheath that insulates your brain and spinal cord, which disrupts your nerve signaling to cause a variety of symptoms.
Medical experts believe that a combination of genetics and environmental factors may be the original trigger that starts the immune system attack.
How does multiple sclerosis progress?
Multiple sclerosis progression is different for every person who has it. At diagnosis, about 90% of people with multiple sclerosis have relapsing-remitting MS, characterized by periods of relapses and remissions.
Some people eventually stop having relapses and remissions. If, after having relapses and remissions for a long time, you have symptoms without remission, it's called secondary progression MS.
Approximately 10-15% of people with multiple sclerosis have primary progressive MS, in which they have a slow but steady worsening of their disease without remissions.
What are the symptoms of multiple sclerosis?
Just as each person's disease progression is unique, symptoms may be different for everyone. Some of the many possible symptoms of multiple sclerosis include:
- Fatigue, which occurs in 80% of people with MS
- Numbness in the face, body, arms, or legs
- Weakness - typically on one side of your body
- MS hug - squeezing feeling in your trunk area
- Coordination problems
- Walking difficulties
- Involuntary muscle spasms
- Lhermitte sign - shock-like sensations when you flex your neck
- Vision problems - blurry eyesight, double vision, or vision loss in one eye
- Tingling sensations
More than half of people with multiple sclerosis also experience significant pain, which is chronic in most cases.
What is the treatment for multiple sclerosis?
Ventura Neuroscience Center can prescribe customized strategies and treatments to relieve MS-associated symptoms, slow disease progression, and return you to remission faster after relapses.
Some common MS treatments include oral medications, injections, or infusions to manage symptoms, prevent relapse, and slow disease progression.
Physical therapy can be extremely helpful in increasing your mobility, as well. Lifestyle modifications, like establishing a good sleep routine, avoiding heat, and healthy eating, can also support your treatments to help you feel your best.