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Thursday, July 4, 2013

The ABCs of Pain Management for Multiple Sclerosis

About two-thirds of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) experience pain at some point during their illness. If you’re among them, getting your pain under control is a top priority. When your pain is well managed, you’ll feel more upbeat and ready to take on other challenges.

Causes of MS Pain

MS pain can take many forms, depending on the cause. There are three main sources:
  • Nerve pain is caused by problems with the nerves that carry sensation. Depending on which nerves are affected, it may feel like a stabbing pain in your face or a burning, throbbing, aching, or prickling pain around your body. Another form of nerve pain is Lhermitte’s sign—a shock-like sensation that runs from the back of your head down your spine when you bend your neck forward.
  • Muscle spasm pain occurs when a malfunction in nerve pathways makes your muscles squeeze and spasm painfully. Tightening of muscles around your joints may also lead to aching there.
  • Other muscle and joint pain results when MS keeps you from moving or standing normally. Limping, twisting awkwardly, or using mobility aids incorrectly puts stress on muscles and joints, which may lead to aching or stabbing pain.
Because MS pain is a complex problem, there is no simple solution. That can be frustrating, especially when you’re suffering. But don’t give up. There are many different treatment options available. By working closely with your doctor, you can develop an effective pain management plan. Often, the journey to pain relief follows an ABC path.

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