Understanding Multiple Sclerosis

MS Awareness Week is an opportunity to spread awareness, take action, and gather a better understanding including what symptoms to look out for to how to help manage Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

MS has such a wide variety of different symptoms, but often some feel easier to talk about than others. Have you ever felt embarrassed by issues like bladder control or sexual dysfunction? Well, it’s important to know that these symptoms are normal when it comes to something like MS, and it’s important to talk about.

Key Symptoms

This blog is an opportunity to learn some key symptoms when looking out for MS and a few tips on how to look after yourself and others when diagnosed. These are just a few things that may help when dealing with MS however, if you are concerned about your symptoms then always seek a professional opinion.

Depression: Almost half of the people with MS might experience depression at some point, this symptom is often misunderstood and can be hard to recognize. However, there are always ways to work on improving how you feel.

Vertigo: Both vertigo and dizziness can occur in MS when the condition affects the brain stem and cerebellum, which are parts of the brain that play a major role in balance.

Cognitive Dysfunction: Cognitive Dysfunction is a common symptom of MS, affecting approximately 40% to 60% of a person’s time dealing with MS. This may include your memory, attention, information-processing, speed, executive functions, and visuospatial perception.

Pain: Pain from MS can be associated with stiffness and spasms in muscles. It may also include symptoms affecting the sense that is not thought of as ‘pain’ like numbness, pins and needles or tightness in the chest.

Fatigue: Fatigue is an overwhelming feeling of tiredness and is one of the most hidden symptoms when it comes to MS. Primary Fatigue is caused by damage to both the spinal cord and brain. It’s suggested that passing messages around the nerve damage takes extra time causing fatigue. Secondary Fatigue may be caused by other symptoms such as pain and uncomfortableness.

How To Help Manage MS

Once you have been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) there are some things you can do to help manage this;

Getting Adequate Sleep: Getting adequate sleep is important to help maintain overall health and well-being. Lack of sleep can cause daytime drowsiness and make some MS symptoms feel a lot worse.

Taking Treatments:  Treatments for MS may include medication, therapies such as; physiotherapy, and self-management techniques. If you think a treatment may help, then make sure you consult a professional about the right treatment for you.

Exercise Regularly: Although MS fatigue and stiffness may make you feel like exercise is the last thing you’d like to do, physical activity may help you cope with some of your symptoms.

Physical activity does not have to be intense or last for a long time. If possible, you may also incorporate activities like:

  • Dancing
  • Walking
  • Water aerobics
  • Doing household chores
  • Playing with your pets
  • Practicing yoga
  • Practicing tai chi


A diet that is rich in fiber and low in saturated fat: A balanced diet may help your body function better meaning you can then manage your MS more effectively.

Some examples of nutrient-dense foods you may want to incorporate include:

  • Garlic
  • Eggs
  • Kale
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Berries and other fresh fruits
  • Salmon

These are just a few examples that could help an individual manage MS, however, each individual will find their own personal methods that work better than others.

Overall, we hope this blog has been useful to learn more about Multiple Sclerosis, however, if you are worried about yourself or a loved one then always seek professional advice. Further information can be found on the NHS website here.

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