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Can MS Come On Suddenly?

MS is a chronic disease of nerve tissues marked by slow deterioration of the myelin sheath of the nerve fibers. Myelin sheath acts as a protective layer of the nerves and insulator agent. MS is caused by over exaggerated immune system that damages its own nerve fibers. It affects nerve fibers of the brain and spinal cord. MS can come and go on their own. The symptoms disappear in the remission period. When the disease relapses back, the symptoms may come suddenly and usually go away soon in a few weeks or months. There is no cure for this disease. But its symptoms can be efficiently managed with treatment options available in modern medicine.

Can MS Come On Suddenly?

Can MS Come On Suddenly?

MS or multiple sclerosis is a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by the affections of the central nervous system. It is marked by demyelination of the nerve tissues. Myelin sheath is the covering of the nerve tissues that protects the nerves from damage and shock. In this condition, the immune system of the body considers healthy nerve tissues as foreign intruders and destroys them. It involves the brain, spinal cord and other nerve fibers of the body. It results in the improper or faulty flow of impulses or signals from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body. It causes problems related to vision, hearing, body balance, muscle control, and other normal functions.

The symptoms of multiple sclerosis develop slowly over a course of time but in some cases, it may appear suddenly. It may last up to a few minutes, a few hours and go quickly. These symptoms are often referred to as paroxysmal. The appearance of symptoms may happen in cycles in a course of hours or days. The paroxysmal symptoms appear in few cases and are troublesome in this time period. The patients of MS are otherwise are fine.

The sudden onset of symptoms of MS suggests that the relapse of the disease is strong and progressing.

Multiple sclerosis is caused due to autoimmunity. In this condition, the immune system considers nerve fibers as foreign bodies and progressively damages the protective layer of the nerves. It damages are often irreversible. This protective layer of nerve fibers is called the myelin sheath. Its main function is to insulate the nerve fibers. Due to progressive damage to the nerves, the nerves become more vulnerable to get exposed to the triggering agents. The sensitivity of the nerves is increased relatively.

Even the touch of the clothes, temperature, humidity, stress or slight fatigue may trigger paroxysmal symptoms. When MS gets a flare-up, it may set the sudden onset of its symptoms.

According to current studies, 3% of people with MS are reported to develop paroxysmal symptoms. These symptoms have a different course in different individuals. In some people, it is sudden in onset and subsides over a period of time. In some people, these symptoms are persistent. However, scientists do not consider them an indication of relapse of the disease until they are persistent.

Types of paroxysmal symptoms are-

  • Pin and needle sensation on the face and extremities (paresthesia)
  • The weakness of eyes leading to double vision or diplopia
  • Pain in the lower part of the face while chewing, speaking (trigeminal neuralgia)
  • Sudden lack of coordination of the extremities (episodic ataxia)
  • The electric shock felt in the spine when the head is bent forward (Lhermitte’s sign)
  • Generalized or localized itching (pruritus)
  • The inability to speak properly resulting in alterations in volume, pace, and rhythms of the speech (Dysarthria and dysphonia)
  • Constant muscular spasms or reduced ability to control voluntary muscles (dystonia)
  • Problems related to swallowing (dysphagia)


MS is a chronic disorder that develops slowly and affects the myelin sheath of nerve fibers. It can appear and disappear after the remission period. It develops in the body slowly, but its symptoms can return back suddenly. Actually, MS does not come suddenly; its symptoms can relapse back suddenly.

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:November 29, 2023

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