Multiple sclerosis, sometimes referred to as MS, is an unpredictable condition that can affect any region of the body. At RightPath Pain & Spine Centers in Davenport, FL, we strongly believe that nobody should face struggles with pain and dependence on others due to this condition. Moreover, we understand how important it is to get treatment for this condition early. Today, we’re taking a closer look at this condition’s symptoms so you can know when to see a doctor.
What Are the Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis?
Each person who suffers from multiple sclerosis has unique symptoms. In some cases, symptoms are mild. In other cases, symptoms are severe and affect multiple regions of the body. Some of the most common symptoms of this condition include fatigue, difficulty walking, and vision problems.
Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of MS. If you feel overwhelmingly exhausted regardless of how much you sleep, completing all of your daily tasks can be impossible. Unfortunately, this problem compounds. If you suffer from MS, you may notice that you feel even more tired than usual when you’re ill, you’ve just exercised, it’s hot outside, or the day is drawing to a close.
Vision problems are associated with roughly 25% of MS cases. Optic neuritis, a condition affecting only one eye, is the most common vision problem associated with MS. If you suffer from optic neuritis, you may notice color blindness, light flashes when you move your eye, and eye pain that worsens when you move your eye. You also may experience temporary loss of vision in one eye that can last anywhere from days to weeks.
Other problems that can occur due to optic neuritis include double vision and involuntary eye muscle spasms. The latter problem can make it seem like stationary objects are jumping around. This can impede your ability to drive safely, severely limiting your independence. On rare occasions, this condition can affect both eyes.
Experiencing abnormal sensations is common in the early stages of MS. At first, you may notice tingling or numbness in your arms, legs, or trunk. However, the sensation of pins and needles usually spreads after just a few days.
Muscle and Mobility Problems
You also should not be surprised if you have muscle or mobility problems if you suffer from MS. This condition can make your muscles feel weak or cause spasticity or spasms. When you have muscle spasms, your muscles may contract so tightly that you feel a moderate or severe amount of pain. If you are having spasticity problems, your muscles may become so stiff that you have trouble walking or doing other daily tasks.
Even if you aren’t struggling with muscle spasticity or physical fatigue, you may have mobility problems if you suffer from MS. For example, people with this condition often experience such symptoms as ataxia, clumsiness, vertigo, and tremors.
MS can bring up two types of pain. Neuropathic pain along your nervous system is caused by MS itself. If you have neuropathic pain, you may experience such feelings as stabbing sensations in your face and squeezing sensations in your trunk and limbs. People who suffer from MS also may suffer from musculoskeletal pain in the back, neck, and joints. Typically, this pain occurs in the hips and lower back when people struggle to walk.
MS can also cause cognitive problems, like difficulty learning and forming short-term memories. People who suffer from MS also may have a shortened attention span and have difficulty recalling words while having a conversation. However, besides recalling certain words, long-term memory is rarely affected by MS. People who suffer from MS also commonly struggle to process and understand visual information, like maps.
You also may discover that you have trouble planning and solving problems if you suffer from MS. Other cognitive problems you may have include reasoning problems, like solving puzzles or understanding the laws of mathematics.
Mental Health Problems
You also may develop mental health problems, like major depressive disorder, if you suffer from MS. It is not yet known whether the stress of living with the chronic condition leads to mental health problems or multiple sclerosis itself causes depression. Anxiety is another mental health problem commonly associated with this condition.
It is thought that this condition causes anxiety due to its unpredictable nature. Sometimes, people who suffer from MS also suffer from severe, rapid mood swings. For example, you may be laughing one moment and crying hysterically or shouting angrily the next moment for seemingly no reason.
MS is also known to cause sexual dysfunction in both men and women. Men with this condition often struggle to become erect or maintain an erection. They also may notice that it takes them a lot longer to ejaculate when masturbating or have sex. Other men lose the ability to ejaculate completely.
Women who suffer from sexual dysfunction due to MS may struggle to orgasm due to decreased sensation. Furthermore, sex may become painful because vaginal lubrication may decrease. Men and women who suffer from MS-related sexual dysfunction may also notice that they are no longer interested in sex as often as they used to be.
Multiple sclerosis can also result in bladder problems. Needing to urinate more frequently is one of the most common bladder problems to arise. However, people with MS may also have other bladder problems, like an inability to empty the bladder completely when urinating. Urge incontinence, with or without accidentally passing urine, is another very common bladder problem associated with MS.
People who suffer from MS also may suffer from such bladder problems as excessive nighttime urination and recurrent UTIs. Urinary tract infections may be caused by the inability to empty the bladder completely.
You also may experience chronic bowel problems if you suffer from MS. Most commonly, people who suffer from MS pass stool less frequently than they used to. It is also common for people with MS to struggle to pass stools. However, bowel incontinence can occur as a result of multiple sclerosis. For example, if you have a stuck stool, the bowel wall can become so irritated that mucus and other fluid leaks out of your anus.
MS can also result in such problems as dysphagia and dysarthria. Dysphagia is a condition that causes difficulty swallowing or chewing. Dysarthria is a particularly difficult condition to live with because it makes your speech slurred. You may feel frustrated if people can’t understand you when you speak.
When Should I See a Doctor?
You should schedule an appointment with a pain specialist if you are experiencing one or more of the aforementioned symptoms. If you don’t have MS, a medical expert can diagnose you quickly and accurately and put you on a treatment plan that will be safe and effective for you. If you have MS, the sooner you come in for an appointment, the more likely it is that you will not suffer from complications of the condition.
What Complications Should I Be Aware of?
Severe sensory impairment is an MS complication you should be aware of. It is very important that you schedule a doctor’s appointment if you have numbness or tingling in your trunk or limbs. If you don’t start treatment shortly, you may develop dysesthesia. This condition can result in burning, aching, and severe tightness. Another serious MS complication you should be aware of is the MS hug. This chest tightness can make you feel like you’re suffocating.
MS also increases the risk of developing VTE 2.6 times. VTE, or venous thromboembolism, is a condition that occurs when a blood clot causes a blockage in a vessel after traveling through the bloodstream. In part, this is because people with MS usually have several risk factors of VTE, like steroid use, muscle stiffness, and limited mobility.
Can Corticosteroids Treat My MS?
Oral corticosteroids may be an effective treatment method for MS, but it may not be the best idea. It is not considered a long-term solution, and short-term problems can arise.
Get in Touch
Multiple sclerosis symptoms vary significantly on a case-by-case basis because the condition can affect any area of the body. Some of the most common symptoms include fatigue, vision problems, and difficulty walking. If you suspect you suffer from MS, we can help. Schedule an appointment with us today at RightPath Pain & Spine Centers in Davenport, FL.