Studies have shown that pain can affect mood, behaviors and activities. It can increase stress, fatigue and exacerbates diseases. Emotions, stress, fatigue, increased sensitivity, previous pain and trauma can increase our pain perception. Can Multiple Sclerosis cause pain? If so, what are the locations and what can I do to decrease these painful symptoms?
What is MS?
As you know multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease. This disease attracts the myelin sheath the cover to the spinal cord and nerve endings, causing lesion or open areas to occur. These exposed areas cause miscommunication between the brain and other parts of the body, which creates numerous symptoms, including pain throughout your body. Although pain can occur anywhere, there are a few common areas.
Is This Multiple Sclerosis Pain?
Trigeminal neuralgia is caused by multiple sclerosis. It is a sharp stabbing pain in the side of the face, generally occurs on the cheek. This severe pain only last for a brief time, but can reappear numerous times throughout the day. Things as harmless as a gentle breeze, or a light touch can cause it to resurface.
Doctors generally treat it with medicines like Lyrica, carbamazepine, Neurontin, phenytoin and lamotrigine. They decrease nerve sensitivity in that area. Sometimes electrical stimulation, radiation therapy, or other treatments to numb the nerve ending may be needed
People who suffer with multiple sclerosis might also have a burning type of pain. Usually this occurs in their lower extremities, but can travel to anywhere in the body. This constant pain seems to intensify at night.
A slight touch seems to increase the pain. If this pain occurs in the legs, the extremity will feel cold to the touch. This is thought to be the result of miscommunication caused from the open lessons.
Doctors usually treat this type of pain with a combination of antidepressants like nortriptyline and anti-seizure medicines like Duloxetine hydrochloride, gabapentin or carbamazepine. The doctor might prescribe tramadol or lidocaine patches to help with the pain. Some people find that stretching and exercising helps decrease the burning sensation.
Back pain and neck pain is often seen in people who have multiple sclerosis. This type of pain is generally an ache type pain. It could make a person’s muscles feel stiff and sore and it’s thought that it’s caused by lack of mobility.
This pain can become extremely painful at times so the doctors will often want to rule out other possible causes of the pain, to make sure he isn’t overlooking other issues that might be occurring.
This type of pain is usually treated with anti-inflammatory medicines. Exercises, stretching water aerobics and physical therapy may also be helpful.
People with MS often experience pain in their hip or shoulder. This is thought to be the result of steroid use that has decreased the blood supply to this area. This decreased blood flow causes a decline in essential nutrition and other fluids, which eventually will cause joint damage to occur.
The doctor will do an MRI to determine if this is the cause and then construct a plan of care accordingly. If there is substantial damage, the doctor may suggest surgery to repair or replace that joint. If no damage is present, the doctor will want to do some tests to find the cause of this pain.
The Best Ways to Stop Pain
Stretching and exercising is important when it comes to pain reduction. It also decreases stress and fatigue which can increase pain levels. There are a few precautions that you should follow in order to get the full benefit, without over taxing your body.
The first and foremost thing is to check with your doctor to make sure it is safe for you to exercise. He might suggest better exercise alternatives for you.
- Be sure to warm up before you start and have a cool down time at the end. This will decrease your chances of having sore stiff muscles.
- When you exercise, or stretch, start slow and do not overdo it. Your body is already in a lot of stress and overworking will only increase your stress and fatigue. If you start hurting, or you start to feel sick, weak stop immediately.
- Make sure your workout area is safe. Check for proper flooring and lighting. Make sure the area is clear of obstacles that might cause you to trip and fall.
- Sometimes a person with MS has difficulty with their balance. If this is the case work out in an area where you can grab a hold of something for support, or designate someone to be your spotter. You could also try sitting exercises.
- Try exercises that you’ll enjoy. This will help you stick with the program. Some suggestions might include; tai chi, yoga, water aerobics and swimming.
- If you choose to work out in the water the ideal temperature is between 82- 84 degrees. Be on the lookout for wet, slippery surfaces.
- When you work out, try not to become overheated. This will also increase stress and fatigue.
- When you exercise be sure to drink plenty of fluids.
- If you are exercising outside do so in the early morning, or later in the evening when it’s cooler outside. Try to avoid strenuous activities between the times of 10 am to 2 pm.
- If you start having new or worsening symptoms, slow down your exercises, or stop until the symptoms subside.
What is a Good MS DIET?
– It’s suggested to eat a balanced diet from each of the food groups. This includes 2cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables, 2 ½ cups of nuts, seeds, legumes 3 cups of dairy and 3 servings of whole grain. You should drink 8 glasses of water a day.
– You should limit the Tran fat, saturated fats, and salt. This would include processed foods store bought baked goods and regular cooking oils.