Photo: Man with MS at home looking sad

Pain

About a third of people affected by 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. It may also include symptoms affecting the senses that are not always thought of as ‘pain’, like numbness or pins and needles, or a tightness in the chest known as the 'MS hug' or 'MS girdle'.

Pain can be one of the most difficult 'invisible’ symptoms to describe and manage. Only the person experiencing it knows how it feels. It has an emotional element – it can cause distress, fear, anger and frustration, which in turn affect how you deal with it.

Pain can be exhausting, can affect your mood and your ability to do everyday activities.

About pain in MS

Treating and managing pain

It’s not always immediately obvious how best to treat pain, and you may need to try a number of therapies and drugs to find one effective for you.

It can be a frustrating process, but it’s important to persevere as people do manage to control and live with pain every day.

These tips might help:

  • Talk to a health professional so you can begin investigating the causes
  • Discuss your personal coping strategies with your doctor – these may be causing other difficulties, or some (for example relaxation techniques) may be helpful as part of a management programme
  • Mention any triggers that you are aware of

Remember, your circumstances and mood, both positive and negative, can affect the way you deal with pain.

Treatment and management options

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