Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks its own nerve fibers considering them as invaders. It impacts the supply of impulses from the brain to various parts of the body. Numbness is the most common symptom of multiple sclerosis (MS). It means loss of sensation in the affected part of the body. It can be accompanied by itching, tingling, buzzing, throbbing, and sometimes pain in the affected area. It can affect any part of the body. It affects the normal functioning of the part that is being affected by MS.

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What Does MS Numbness Feel Like?

MS or multiple sclerosis is a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by the affections of the central nervous system. 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. This results in the improper or faulty flow of impulses or signals from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body. This causes problems related to vision, hearing, body balance, muscle control, and other normal functions. The course of the disease is different in different persons.

Numbness is one of the most common symptoms of MS. It is one of the first symptoms of the disease that establish the diagnosis of the disease. It is usually not alarming or harmful symptom as other motor symptoms but it has the potential to affect the normal activities of the affected person. It is most commonly felt in the face, arms or legs. It can be mild or severe.

Numbness in MS is represented by the loss of sensation or abnormal sensations in the affected part. People feel nothing in the affected part for example cold or heat sensation, pain or other sensations. In some people, numbness is associated with sensations like pricking with pins or needles, extreme itching, vibrating, tingling or throbbing sensations. These sensations are often painful.

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Numbness can be present for a short period of time or it lasts for a long time. It causes sensory disturbances that may or may not cause discomfort in normal life. It can develop in any part of the body. It affects the body in a band like fashion. It creates problems that appear due to its presence depend on the location where it develops. For example, if it affects eyes, it results in vision problems. If it affects lower limbs, it causes problems related to walking.

Types Of Numbness In MS

Numbness in MS is of four types-

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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.

Paresthesia- 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 the sensation of tingling, crawling or buzzing on the affected areas.

Hyperpathia- this is a type of MS that causes increased sensitivity towards pain.

Dysesthesia, paresthesia, and hyperpathia is quite common in the patients of MS. They develop in a different manner in different people.

The symptoms of numbness come and go on its own. They have a good prognosis and does not become permanent. Numbness is not always the indication of MS as it can be seen in other diseases like carpal tunnel syndrome, anemia, diabetes, etc.

Conclusion

Multiple sclerosis is represented by a common symptom namely numbness. It is characterized by the abnormal sensation in the affected areas like a sensation of pins and needles, tingling, burning, crawling or buzzing or complete loss of sensation in the affected areas.

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References

https://mymsaa.org/ms-information/symptoms/numbness/

https://www.nationalmssociety.org/Symptoms-Diagnosis/MS-Symptoms/Numbness

Sheetal DeCaria MD

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

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Last Modified On: April 2, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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