Back to News


Understanding Multiple Sclerosis


Multiple sclerosis is a chronic illness involving your central nervous system. The immune system attacks myelin, which is the protective layer around nerve fibers. This causes inflammation and scar tissue, or lesions. 

 

Symptoms Include

Difficulty walking, numbness in your legs or feet, difficulty balancing, muscle weakness, muscle spasticity, difficulty with vision, acute or chronic pain, tremor, cognitive issues involving concentration, memory, and word-finding difficulty.

 

How MS Is Diagnosed

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. Using a contrast dye with the MRI allows your doctor to detect active and inactive lesions throughout your brain and spinal cord.

 

Spinal tap (lumbar puncture). Your doctor may order a spinal tap to find abnormalities in your spinal fluid. This test can help rule out infectious diseases and can also be used to look for oligoclonal bands (OCBs), which can be used

to make an early diagnosis of MS.

 

Blood tests. Doctors order blood tests to help eliminate other conditions with similar symptoms.

 

Visual evoked potentials (VEP) test. This test requires the stimulation of nerve pathways to analyze electrical activity in your brain. In the past, brain stem auditory and sensory-evoked potential tests were also used to diagnose MS.