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Living with MS

You CAN...
Learn to manage your pain!

MS pain has several different sources:

  • Neurological pain—prickling, burning, or throbbing, due to “short circuiting” of the nerves that carry sensation
  • Musculoskeletal pain—aching and stabling, due to movement “dysfunction”. It is often caused by limping or twisting when limbs don’t move easily
  • Spasticity—spasms and muscle tightness, common when nerve pathways don’t function well



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Pain is often a frustrating and sometimes difficult symptom because there may be no one simple answer. You CAN manage pain using a multidisciplinary approach. Start by talking to your nurse or physician. Ask for an assessment—to determine the sources of your pain: nerves, muscle and bone, or spasticity.

MS and Pain
Detailed information on pain, what it is and ways to manage this symptom.

  • Speak with your physician about medications. Medications commonly used for nerve pain are anti-depressants and anti-convulsants. Anti-spasticity medications are available. Muscle pain usually requires physical therapy.
  • Consult a physical or occupational therapist to learn about the ‘mechanics’ of your movements which may contribute to your pain. You may learn stretching and strengthening to improve your mechanics and keep painful areas moving.
  • Learning to use assistive equipment (such as a cane or brace) can help correct movement abnormalities and minimize the pain they cause
  • Ask if applications of cold or heat or massage are good for you.
  • Ask about biofeedback, breathing techniques, hypnosis, and meditation to help you manage stubborn pain
  • Surgical procedures can be used for certain kinds of pain but only if other treatments are not effective




These tips brought to you by The Heuga Center, promoting health and creating hope for people with MS for 20 years, and by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Contributing editors: Brian Hutchinson, PT, President, The Heuga Center; InsideMS Magazine.


You CAN! is brought to you with the help of The Heuga Center as a reminder that despite the challenges MS may bring, you have a whole life to live.

We encourage you to visit You CAN! regularly. Topics change every other month.


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