Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a complex condition that can produce various symptoms. Unfortunately, the chronic pain that accompanies it is often overlooked as physicians strive to treat other symptoms that impact a patient’s quality of life and independence.
However, pain management for MS is a major concern for patients and their loved ones, as most of those diagnosed with multiple sclerosis will encounter some form of chronic discomfort due to their condition.
Below, we explore the various causes of chronic pain in MS patients and outline interventions that can potentially ease discomfort and improve quality of life.
Causes of MS-Related Chronic Pain
Often, clinicians and patients tend to become fixated on neuropathic pain. This is understandable, as neuropathic pain is a common symptom caused by neurodegenerative conditions. However, it is only one of three main types of pain that MS sufferers may experience.
Neuropathic pain occurs when inflammatory processes damage nerve fibers. This pain can manifest as one of many different sensations and presents in unique ways in each patient.
In addition to neuropathic pain, most MS patients will likely experience spasticity-related discomfort as their condition progresses. Spasticity is a form of stiffness that often affects MS patients. Generally speaking, spasticity can cause tightness, aches, cramps, and muscle spasms.
The third type of discomfort that MS sufferers typically encounter is muscle fatigue and immobility. This discomfort occurs as multiple sclerosis progresses, which causes patients to compensate for losses in mobility by overtaxing certain muscle groups, such as their lower back.
To effectively help MS patients live a more comfortable life post-diagnosis, clinicians must address all three sources of pain.
How Chronic MS Pain Can Be Treated
Generally, neuropathic MS pain is treated using oral medications, such as antidepressants or seizure medications. Spasticity can be treated with oral medications as well, but severe cases may need more invasive interventions, such as Botox injections. Fatigue and joint pain is typically treated with over-the-counter medications, like ibuprofen.
In addition to oral medications, many physicians recommend physical therapy for their MS patients. Physical therapy can slow disease progression and may alleviate some feelings of pain or immobility. However, neither physical therapy nor oral medications can serve as long-term solutions in most cases.
Fortunately, advancements in medical technologies have made regenerative medicine, also known as stem cell therapy, much more accessible than it once was. While the efficacy of stem cells is still being researched, some MS patients have experienced pain management benefits from this innovative treatment option.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with MS and struggles with chronic pain, stem cell therapy may be a treatment option you should explore.
This post was written by a medical professional at Stemedix Inc. At Stemedix we provide access to Regenerative Medicine for multiple sclerosis, also known as stem cell for multiple sclerosis. Regenerative medicine has the natural potential to help improve symptoms sometimes lost from the progression of many conditions.