Home About Us Government Relations and Advocacy Media Contact Us Site Map Privacy Français  
Multiple Sclerosis Society of CanadaSociété canadienne de la sclérose en plaquesfinding a cure - enhancing quality of life
About Multiple Sclerosis Living with Multiple Sclerosis Research Treatments Donate Now Get Involved Special Events


About Multiple Sclerosis
     share +

Managing MS Symptoms

photo of a woman taking someone's blood pressureSymptoms of MS are unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person and from time to time in the same person.

MS attacks the protective covering — myelin — of the brain and spinal cord, causing inflammation and often damaging the myelin in patches. When this happens, the usual flow of nerve impulses along nerve fibres (axons) is interrupted or distorted. The result may be the wide variety of MS symptoms, depending upon what part or parts of the central nervous system are affected.

The damaged parts of myelin are often called “lesions” or “plaques”. There is also evidence that permanent damage to nerve fibres may occur in association with the attack on myelin.

While the following list of symptoms can seem daunting, particularly to people who are newly diagnosed, there are treatments to help manage most of these symptoms. Please keep in mind, not all people with MS will experience all symptoms and often the symptoms will improve during periods of remission.

Symptoms may include:

» Balance and Dizziness

» Bladder dysfunction

» Bowel Constipation, Diarrhea and Incontinence

» Cognitive Impairment

» Depression

» Dry Mouth

» Dysarthria, or difficulty speaking

» Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)

» Fatigue and Fatigability

» Gait (difficulty in walking)

» Hormonal Influences for women with MS

» Inappropriate Affect (also known as pseudo bulbar affect, emotional incontinence, involuntary emotional expression disorder-IEED)

» Incoordination

» L’hermitte's (Electric shock sensation radiating down spine with neck flexion)

» Mood Lability / Bipolar Affective Disorder

» Optic neuritis (inflammation of the optic nerve)

» Pain

» Paroxysmal Symptoms

» Sensory Impairment, Numbness / Tingling

» Spasms

» Spasticity

» Tremor

» Uhthoff's Phenomena (Heat Intolerance)

» Useless Hand Syndrome (of Oppenheimer)

» Weakness


For further information on these subjects and more, visit our Resource Library.

To find out about current research into the cause and possible treatment of MS symptoms, visit our Research section.

Back to top

Charitable registration
10774 6174 RR0001
Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada
Toll free to reach the nearest regional office: 1 800 268-7582

To locate the MS Society office near you, please select your region:

E-mail: info@mssociety.ca
(Please provide your town and province in your e-mail)

Multiple Sclerosis   Living with MS   Research   Treatments   Donate Now   Get Involved    Special Events

Home    About Us    Advocacy    Media    Contact Us    Site Map    Privacy    Français