Some people with MS describe it as like having bags of sand attached to their legs. This muscle weakness combined with MS fatigue can be upsetting. Weakness in your legs can cause balance and walking difficulties and you may be more likely to fall.
Numbness & Tingling: It usually affects your legs. You might feel: An electric shock-like feeling when you move your head or neck. It may travel down your spine or into your arms or legs.
Numbness or Tingling
A lack of feeling or a pins-and-needles sensation can be the first sign of the nerve damage from MS. It usually happens in the face, arms, or legs, and on one side of the body. It also tends to go away on its own.
Tightness or stiffness of the muscles, called spasticity, is caused directly by MS. Spasticity, will alter walking and cause pulling on the joints. This can result in pain typically in the ankles, knees, hips and back.
People living with MS can experience different types of pain in the limbs (legs or arms), the most common of which are neuropathic or musculoskeletal in origin. Neuropathic pain in MS is frequently caused by lesions in the spinal cord and is characterized by sensory changes.
Itchy sensations can occur virtually anywhere on your body, usually involving both sides. For example, both arms, legs, or both sides of your face might be involved. Occasionally, though, the itchiness may be confined to a single location, usually an arm or leg.
Pain of Any Type Can Awaken You
“MS pain that commonly interferes with sleep is neuropathic pain — often described as burning, shooting, searing, or deeply aching. This pain can be relentless and is often worse at night.”
A lot of people with MS experience pain at some time. It varies from person to person and over time, but drug treatments and other therapies can help you cope. Pain can be associated with stiffness or spasms in muscles, or symptoms like Lhermitte's sign, trigeminal neuralgia or optic neuritis.
It is also common for people and doctors to misattribute the initial symptoms of MS to something more benign, such as a pinched nerve or muscle strain. Sometimes a person may have the symptoms of MS for many years before he or she seeks medical attention and receives a correct diagnosis.
These include fibromyalgia and vitamin B12 deficiency, muscular dystrophy (MD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease), migraine, hypo-thyroidism, hypertension, Beçhets, Arnold-Chiari deformity, and mitochondrial disorders, although your neurologist can usually rule them out quite easily.
Performing a multiple sclerosis (MS) self-assessment cannot diagnose the condition, but it may help a person understand their symptoms and know when to contact a doctor. An MS self-assessment can include paying attention to energy levels, physical sensations, vision problems, and more.
Foot drop, or dropped foot, is a symptom of multiple sclerosis caused by weakness in the ankle or disruption in the nerve pathway between the legs and the brain. This disruption means it is difficult to lift the front of the foot to the correct angle during walking.
While there is no definitive blood test for MS, blood tests can rule out other conditions that cause symptoms similar to those of MS, including lupus erythematosis, Sjogren's, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, some infections, and rare hereditary diseases.
The muscle weakness that you are feeling can be directly linked to MS because the damage to your nerves can disrupt signals to the muscles. This nerve damage makes it hard to move your muscles and leads to a heavy feeling in your legs (or other areas of your body).
The takeaway. It's easy to mistake sciatica as a symptom or related condition of MS, which often causes neuropathic pain. But while the two do coexist, sciatica isn't caused by MS. It's caused by strain on the sciatic nerve.
Signs and Symptoms
MS can cause a wide variety of neurologic symptoms since it can affect numerous areas of the brain, optic nerve, and spinal cord (Figure 3). Characteristic lesions are located in the periventricular and juxtacortical regions, in addition to the brainstem, cerebellum, spinal cord, and optic nerve.
You may feel the sensation of your limb being “asleep” with a pins and needles sensation. Numbness of the face, body or extremities (arms and legs) is one of the most common symptoms of MS. It may be the first MS symptom you experienced.
Spasticity is a common symptom in MS. It is a tightness or stiffness of the muscles – occurring typically in the legs (calf or thigh), groin, and buttocks. Although less common, some individuals may experience spasticity in their back. These are all muscles that help people to stand and balance in an upright position.
If you're experiencing numbness and tingling, the following at-home treatments can help ease or prevent your symptoms: Be active. Moving the affected area may help reduce numbness and tingling in some cases.
Joint pain, specifically in the knees and hips, is very common in people with multiple sclerosis (MS). It is usually due to a nerve-related or muscle-related manifestation of MS rather than degeneration of cartilage or inflammation of the joints, as seen in rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, or lupus.
Spasticity is one of the most common MS symptoms, and often feels worse at night. This is because it can be aggravated by reduced movement, tight muscles and pain from other symptoms.
You might feel the dull ache of stiff muscles, or a sharper pain if they spasm. Muscle problems can also interfere with good posture, causing back pain, for example. If pain is an issue for you, let your doctor or MS nurse know.
People with MS Are More Likely to Have Restless Legs Syndrome, Says New Study. Nearly one quarter of people with MS involved in a new study experienced restless legs syndrome, compared with less than 4% in people without the disease. Restless legs syndrome causes an urgent need to move the legs due to discomfort.
It's also common for people with MS to gain weight due to their symptoms. It's important to try and reach a moderate weight and maintain it. Being overweight or underweight can worsen MS symptoms.