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Types of Pain and Problems

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease that affects the spinal cord and brain. It is believed to be an autoimmune disease (where one’s immune system attacks its own body). This disease attacks the myelin (basically, the insulation/protective cover surrounding nerves). This can attack nerves anywhere in the body, leading to the name “multiple” sclerosis. The exact cause is unknown. Patients may suffer from a one-time episode or multiple relapses. Signs and symptoms can vary from person to person and vary widely. Some symptoms may include: paresthesias (abnormal skin sensations), optic neuritis, limb weakness, double-vision, nystagmus, unsteady gait, difficulty with speech, tremors, clumsiness, etc. Many patients with MS suffer from chronic pain that is usually defined as “central pain”. Treatment options are usually a multi-modal approach focusing on establishing comfort and function. Treatment options include medication management with anti-depressants, opioids, and/or anti-convulsants, and use of local anesthetics and/or possible deep brain stimulation. Peripheral stimulation (TENS unit) may be very helpful.