Pain is common for multiple sclerosis with 48% of patients experiencing chronic pain and 55% having experienced “clinically significant pain” according to the National MS Society. Women suffer chronic pain twice as much as men and factors of “age at onset, length of time with MS, or degree of disability” did not make a difference in who was pain-free and who was not. Up to 25% of MS patients experience limited function due to pain. (Cleveland Clinic)
Lhermitte’s Sign (stabbing, electric feeling when head is bent), trigeminal neuralgia (facial pain syndrome or dental area), dysesthesias (girdling burning or aching), pins & needles, spasticity, back, neck, optical, burning pain in the legs, and even emotional pain begin the list of types of pain one can experience with multiple sclerosis. So where is this pain coming from? Many times it is nerve pain. Sometimes demyelination of the brain causes sensory signals issues in the spinal cord. Other times joints are damaged from steroid use. Depression, fatigue, lack of sleep can all make pain worse.
“Pain can be a major cause of reduced function, decreased sense of well-being, and an important target for treatment.” (Cleveland Clinic) “Pain appears to result from ‘short circuits’ in the pathways that carry sensory impulses between the brain and spinal cord.” (MS LifeLines) The level of pain one experiences does not determine the path MS will take in the future.
MSLifeLines.com has a short but helpful list of acute & chronic types of multiple sclerosis pain at: http://www.mslifelines.com/pages/what-is-ms/symptom_detail_pain. Image from: http://fromyourdoctor.com/Condition_Centers/Multiple_Sclerosis_Basics_Center.