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Numbness

From The MS Information Sourcebook, produced by the National MS Society.

Numbness of the face, body, or extremities (arms and legs) is one of the most common symptoms of MS, and is often the first symptom experienced by those eventually diagnosed as having MS. The numbness may be mild or so severe that it interferes with the ability to use the affected body part. For example, a person with very numb feet may have difficulty walking. Numb hands may prevent writing, dressing, or holding objects safely.

Caution Advised Regarding Eating and Hot Objects
Persons with MS who have severe facial numbness should be very careful when eating or chewing, as they may unwittingly bite the inside of their mouth or tongue. People with numbness over other parts of the body should be especially careful around fires, hot water and other sources of heat, as they may suffer a burn without realizing it.

There are no medications to relieve numbness. Fortunately, however, most instances of numbness are not disabling, and tend to remit on their own. In very severe cases, the neurologist may prescribe a brief course of corticosteroids, which is often useful in temporarily restoring sensation.

See also...

Sourcebook

Books

Kalb R. (ed.) Multiple Sclerosis: The Questions You Have; The Answers You Need (3rd ed.). New York: Demos Medical Publishing, 2004.
—Ch. 2 Neurology

Schapiro R. Managing the Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (5th ed.). New York: Demos Medical Publishing, 2007.
—Ch. 4 Sensory Disturbances

 

 

   
 

Last updated February 2006

 
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