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Can MS Numbness Come And Go?

Multiple sclerosis or MS is a slow and chronic autoimmune disease characterized by erosion of the protective layer (myelin sheath) of the nerve fibers. It causes distortion of impulses from the brain and spinal cord to the nerve fibers. It can be mild or severe in its symptoms manifestation. Its symptoms include abnormal sensations such as tingling, burning, weakness, numbness, and sometimes pain. It can contribute to disabilities. However, this process is slow and progressive and may take years for this. There is no cure for the disease but its symptoms can be managed with medicines.

Can MS Numbness Come And Go?

Can MS Numbness Come And Go?

Numbness is a primary symptom of multiple sclerosis. It affects optic nerve initially that causes eye symptoms such as blurred vision, double vision, distortion of color, etc. Numbness is an abnormal sensation or loss of sensation in the affected area. It is caused due to damage to the myelin sheath of the nerve fibers. It leads to an improper transfer of impulses from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body.

Numbness often leads to weakness and tingling sensation in the affected area. It is often associated with pain, touch, temperature, light, and vibration. It can cause partial numbness or complete numbness. It may cause difficulty while walking, lack of coordination and muscle control resulting in fear of falling. It may lead to a slow and delayed reaction to deep cuts, hot temperatures, etc. It can be dangerous.

Numbness can come and go in MS. It comes back after remission period. It can come back suddenly and usually go in a short period.

MS causes an alteration in the sensory in formations in the nerve pathways. It happens in the MS because autoimmune reactions occur in MS that considers nerve fibers as foreign bodies. The overactive immune system attacks the myelin sheath of the nerve fibers and erodes them. Myelin sheath protects the nerve fibers from damage and shock and also insulates them. Due to depleting myelin sheath, nerve fibers are exposed and are more likely to respond to slightest stimulation. It also affects the travel of sensory information from the brain and spinal cord to the nerve fibers in its entire pathway. This disruption of information can happen anywhere in the pathway. It ultimately causes numbness and other sensory alterations like tingling, burning, etc. The damage to the myelin sheath can be permanent. So after exposure to slightest stimuli like touch, hot temperature, etc, numbness can return back. It shows that MS numbness can come and go.

Types Of Numbness In MS

Numbness is of four types-

  • Anesthesia– this type of MS is characterized by a complete loss of sensation. The affected person is unable to feel or perceive touch, pain or temperature changes. It is a rare type of numbness that a patient of MS can feel.
  • Dysesthesia– it is marked by burning sensation across the course of the nerve. It leads to alterations in perceiving the sense of touch and pressure. It can cause pain.
  • Paraesthesia– it is represented by abnormal sensations that are felt in the affected areas. The patient feels that he is pricked by pins or needles. He also has a sensation of tingling, crawling or buzzing on the affected areas.
  • Hyperpathia– this is a type of MS that causes increased sensitivity towards pain.
  • Dysesthesia, paraesthesia, and hyperpathia are quite common in the patients of MS. They develop in different people at different times in different degrees.
  • Allodynia is a condition of numbness when slightest stimulation such as the touch of cloth which normally do not affect us, can cause pain.


Numbness is an initial symptom of Multiple sclerosis. It initially affects optic nerves. It is caused due to demyelination of nerve fibers that may result in irreversible damage to the myelin sheath and nerve fibers are exposed. Even slightest stimulation like touch can trigger numbness. Thus, MS numbness can come and go.

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Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Sheetal DeCaria, M.D. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:November 29, 2023

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