How Long Do People Live With Ms – Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disorder in which the immune system mistakenly launches an attack that damages the central nervous system, which includes the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. Abnormal physical sensations, called dysesthesias, are MS symptoms that result from this neurological damage.
Dysesthesia is often experienced as a pain or burning sensation in the skin. It is considered a type of neuropathic pain, which is pain caused by damage to nerve fibers.
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Dysesthesia in MS occurs as a result of nerve damage that disrupts normal communication between the brain and other parts of the body. It is considered a paroxysmal symptom of the disease, which is usually a neurological symptom (or group of symptoms) that appears suddenly, lasts a few seconds or minutes, and then disappears.
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This condition can take many forms in MS, presenting as unpleasant sensations such as pain, numbness, itching, burning or tingling sensations. These unusual sensations usually affect the arms, legs, face or chest, but can also appear in other areas such as the genitals.
The two most common forms of dysesthesia experienced by people with multiple sclerosis are MS Hogg’s and Lermitte’s sign. Itching, known as pruritus, as well as hot feet – a burning sensation – or MS leg pain are other types of dysesthesias reported by these patients.
Dysesthesia includes symptoms such as burning or stinging, pins and needles, electrical sensations, itching, discomfort, or pain. Patients describe it as a burning sensation on the skin, or as if the body is burning. These symptoms can vary in intensity from person to person and over time.
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MS Hugging, sometimes called banding or girdling, is characterized by a feeling of pressure or pain around the chest—like someone is giving you a tight hug, hence the name.
Although this sensation usually affects parts of the body between the waist and neck, the exact symptoms vary from person to person, with some patients experiencing similar sensations in their arms or legs. Others may experience a “hug” on only one side of their body. The sensation can be so tight that the person has difficulty breathing.
Lhermitte’s sign, on the other hand, is a sudden sensation that feels like an electric shock running from the neck down the spine, sometimes radiating to the arms and legs. This type of dysesthesia is called “barber chair syndrome” because it is usually caused by neck movements that mimic the tilting of the head forward while getting a haircut.
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Although most symptoms of dysesthesia are felt on the skin, these sensations have a neurological origin. In MS, dysesthesia is caused by nerve damage in the central nervous system, which leads to the loss of myelin—a protective, fatty layer that surrounds nerve fibers and helps them transmit electrical signals.
Loss of myelin can interfere with normal nerve function, causing some nerves to become overactive and fire too many electrical signals. As a result, abnormal sensations can be felt.
It is important to note that the sensations associated with dysesthesia are not caused by damage to the tissues that are felt, but by damage to the nerves that connect the brain to those specific areas of the body.
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Regardless of the type of dysesthesia, episodes of these unusual sensations often begin and end suddenly, lasting a few seconds or minutes, typical of paroxysmal symptoms. However, these symptoms are unpredictable and can occur several times a day.
Also, MS hug-like forms can last for a few hours or even a few days in some patients.
Other MS symptoms such as dysesthesia may come and go. But some dysesthesias can be chronic, lasting for a certain time (chronic pain).
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Although dysesthesias can be uncomfortable, they usually disappear over time without the need for treatment. Avoiding or minimizing specific triggers, such as sudden temperature changes or wearing tight clothing, can help in some cases.
Other management approaches include applying warm or cold compresses to affected areas, exercising (eg, walking, stretching, yoga, light swimming), and practicing relaxation techniques including meditation, deep breathing, and mindfulness.
Additional approaches include physical therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (pain psychology), and the use of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) units to block abnormal nerve impulses. TENS units use a low-voltage electrical current that promotes pain relief: electrical pulses relax muscles and reduce potential pain signals.
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Treatment with specific medications may be considered if the dysesthesia is painful or interferes with the person’s daily activities.
Neuropathic pain is treated differently than other types of pain. This is true with drugs capable of controlling overactive nerves. According to the National MS Society, two types of medications may be prescribed:
Notably, however, these drugs are not approved in the US to treat neuropathic pain. Instead, they are used off-label for this meaning.
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Health care providers also note that chest pain — similar to that felt in MS, but especially if it’s new and/or unexplained — can also be a sign of a heart attack or other serious problem. Therefore, it is important that patients discuss their chest pain with any healthcare professional.
The terms dysesthesia and paresthesia refer to abnormal nerve sensations. The main difference is in the severity of these sensations.
Dysesthesia is an abnormal sensation that can be intense and/or painful. In contrast, paresthesia refers to altered sensations that are usually painless and temporary, including numbness, tingling, or “pins and needles” sensations.
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Paresthesia is usually caused by constant pressure on the nerve, and symptoms subside as the pressure is relieved. However, chronic paresthesia may be a symptom of nerve damage or an underlying neurological disease such as MS.
Multiple Sclerosis News Today is a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider regarding any medical condition you may have. Never ignore or delay seeking professional medical advice because of something you read on this website.
These unusual sensations are not dangerous. But dysesthesia can be uncomfortable, sometimes painful, and even scary if a person first experiences MS seizure-like symptoms.
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Dysesthesia is not life-threatening, but it can interfere with a person’s daily activities, disrupt sleep, and reduce quality of life.
Like other paroxysmal symptoms — those that appear suddenly, last a few seconds or minutes, and then disappear — dysesthesia can come and go. Some types of dysesthesia can be chronic (chronic neuropathic pain), lasting for a certain period of time.
Anxiety and stress can act as triggers for dysesthesia or exacerbate its symptoms. In some cases, chronic anxiety and stress can increase nerve firing and cause dysesthesia-like symptoms without actual nerve damage.
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Dysesthesia is a type of neuropathic pain, or pain resulting from damage to the nervous system. Therefore, neurologists are the most trained doctors to treat these abnormal sensations. A primary care physician may be a person’s first point of contact to discuss dysesthesia symptoms, but if they are severe or interfere with daily life, the patient should be seen by a neurologist. MS is a chronic disease with no known cure. However, a diagnosis is not a death sentence. There are ways to manage situations so that you can live a meaningful and fulfilling life.
Not knowing your situation can make you feel like you’ve lost control. The more you know, the more in control you’ll feel. Learn about symptoms, changes to expect, and how MS affects your physical, mental, and emotional health. By doing this, you can get the support you need to live with MS without compromising your comfort and happiness.
Eating a healthy diet can have significant benefits for patients with MS. Fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and fatty fish can help prevent other health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. These conditions can make you worse and even affect your MS. Healthy foods have anti-inflammatory effects, which can reduce the pain and discomfort associated with MS.
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Having MS doesn’t mean you have to live without physical activity and exercise. There is a lot of research showing the benefits of aerobic activity for MS patients. Exercise helps improve blood circulation in the body and reduces the risk of other health conditions such as cholesterol and blood sugar. Exercise can also improve functions affected by MS, such as bladder and bowel function. Yoga, tai-chi, and physical therapy exercises are some examples of activities that can benefit people with MS. Finally, exercise can help your emotional and mental health, so you can truly be in control and live an active and enjoyable lifestyle without MS.
The first thing you should do when you receive an MS diagnosis is to see an experienced and high-quality doctor and physiotherapist.
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