Forever Pain Is MS Pain
Last updated: March 2022
Everyone deals with pain from time to time. So, what’s the big deal just take a pain-relief tablet and be done with it. Oh, MSers with MS pain wish it was that easy to make the pain go away! Let’s look at what causes MS pain, potential treatment, and I’ll share my MS pain experience.
Types of MS pain
MS pain can develop in six forms causing unique feelings in different areas of your body. Types of pain can be musculoskeletal, paroxysmal, Lhermitte's sign, neurogenic, paraesthesia, dysesthesia, and optic neuritis. Let’s look at each type:1
*Note: The below does not include every available treatment option. Speak with your healthcare providers regarding the best treatment option for your personal situation.
Musculoskeletal causes are associated with spasticity typically while sleeping, as well as continual muscle weakness. It most often impacts your legs, hips, arms, and back due to bad posture. In my case leg spasticity happens nightly and is most painful due to the intensity. Treatment options can include physical therapy and anti-inflammation medication.
Paroxysmal is rare and like PPMS, affects only 10 to 15 percent of those with MS. This type creates facial pain due to the trigeminal nerve. The areas this nerve impacts are the eye, cheek, jaw, and typically only one side of the face. The pain is an intense shooting, jabbing, or electrical shock-type feeling. The typical medication prescribed is sodium channel blocker carbamazepine.
Lhermitte's sign is a stabbing pain in your neck while moving your head forward or to the side. This one I deal with daily and it is extremely painful with no relief. The only change for me is the intensity of the pain. There is no proven medication, although amitriptyline, duloxetine, gabapentin, or Lyrica may help (as prescribed).
Neurogenic mainly impacts your legs and feet and is a common pain for most people with MS. It is a consistent burning and tingling feeling. Again, one I deal with from my knees down to my feet. Anticonvulsant and antidepressant drugs can be prescribed or over-the-counter Aleve and Motrin.
Paraesthesia is similar to neurogenic, yet not as intense. It creates the pins and needles feeling as well as burning, tingling, pressure, and skin sensitivity. The pain level is throbbing, shooting, tingling, tightness, and numbness. To ease the pain, people typically use a cold compress or over-the-counter pain medications.
Dysesthesia is a neurological type of pain that creates a burning, tingling and girdling feeling. It's also known as the MS hug. I have not experienced the hug although those who have shared the feeling, experience extreme pain. This form of pain can be treated with antidepressants prescribed by a doctor.
Optic neuritis, or ON, impacts the optic eye neve and is an early sign of MS. Pain occurs during eye movement and resolves in about a week. ON was one of the original signs for me, although I did not feel severe pain nor lose my vision temporarily. There is no current treatment for ON.
My MS pain experience
I always wondered how MS pain might feel and boy did I find out. A year ago, after coming home from the gym, I felt muscle pain in my neck. I thought I had pulled a muscle and a day of rest was needed. The next day my neck pain moved into my shoulders and hands. The pain was a consistent burning and aching.
On day 3 I still had the burning in my neck, shoulders, hands, and it now had moved into my back area. On day 4 it progressed into my knees and on day 5, into my ankles as well as my feet. The pain was from my neck to my toes. On day 5 I decided my normal “block the pain out of my mind” wasn’t going to work. I gave up and took a pain-relief tablet to ease my pain and it didn’t work. The pain stuck around for 7 days and then eased up as strange as it showed up. Unlike others, my pain is mild although consistent every day.
Let’s have a little laugh and ops sorry!
I bet most of us MSers have enjoyed the moment of “what was I trying to say”. It happens to me a lot during a conversation. Trying to think of that word or name, and it just doesn’t come to you. Silence, then I tell the person I’m talking with, 'I’ll remember later'. Then it pops into my mind, I yell out the word, or name, and scare to death the person I am talking to! Oh, the look of shock on their face is priceless.
I appreciate your time and look forward to hearing your thoughts and future topics we should cover. I ask each of you to help change the world with an act of kindness. We together can make the world better one person at a time. Until next time, be safe.
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