Symptoms of multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is a disease with a wide-ranging line of symptoms, which manifest themselves differently in every patient. The most common symptom is the fatigue, which most patients experience from time to time, if not chronically.


In MS the immune system attacks the central nervous system, which controls all of your body's actions. When you get an attack, it is therefore impossible to say which symptom will surface. It could be anything from a numb toe, to a blurry vision or a severe disability, depending on where the CNS has been attacked. In general there are two ways in which symptoms appear.

  • In relapses; the symptoms surface for a limited amount of time, it could be days or months, but eventually they will remit and most often disappear (relapsing-remitting and secondary-progressive MS)

  • In a steady progress; Though slowly, this type constantly progresses and worsens the symptoms (primary-progressive and progressive-relapsing MS)

MS symptoms are different for every patient. Some experience mild symptoms and some experience very severe symptoms. Generally MS progresses with time and as it progresses, relapses may become more frequent and more difficult to recover from. It is important to note that even during remission periods, the disease may still be active and “silently” progresses. As with everything else in MS though, the silent progression also varies from person to person.

Most common symptoms of MS

Each symptom affects patients differently in frequency, severity and outcome and most patients only experience a few symptoms. It is quite unlikely that a patient would experience all symptoms. The most common MS symptoms are:

- Extreme tiredness (known as fatigue)

- Numbness and tingling

- Problems with disabilities

- Muscle weakness

- Cognitive problems (memory, communicative ability, focus)

- Sensory problems (pain, vision problems and other sensory issues)

- Tremors (uncontrollable shaking, can occur in various parts of the body)

As some of the most common symptoms are fatigue, balance problems and weakness, many patients eventually experience difficulties walking on their own. While they may still be able to walk, they might need an aid such as a cane or crutches.


- MS Active Source

Last updated: 23/10/2019

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