Understanding MS

Understanding MS

Symptoms aren't always visible. Watch MS Australia's animation, talking through many of the different invisible symptoms that people with MS may experience every day.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, degenerative neurological condition affecting the central nervous system, the brain and spinal cord.

MS is thought to be an auto-immune condition. An auto-immune condition is where the body’s own immune system attacks healthy organs and tissues. In MS, the immune system attacks the myelin, a fatty protective sheath which surrounds the nerves in the brain, spinal cord and the optic nerves. When the myelin sheath is damaged (a process called demyelination) and nerve impulses slow down or even stop.

An MS attack results in inflammation and the development of one or more lesions, resulting in scarring or sclerotic plaques, forming on the nerves. These lesions interfere with the nerve messages sent back and forth through the brain, and spinal cord.

Every person diagnosed with MS will experience slightly different symptoms, depending on the location, size and number of lesions formed, and the type of MS.

Symptoms of MS

Symptoms affecting sensation and function

  • Dizziness
  • Heat intolerance
  • Numbness
  • Optic neuritis
  • Pain
  • Pins and needles
  • Sexual difficulties
  • Visual/spatial difficulties

Symptoms affecting movement and strength

  • Balance
  • Bowel and bladder
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle weakness
  • Spasms
  • Spasticity
  • Speech problems
  • Swallowing problems
  • Tremors

Symptoms affecting thinking and feeling

  • Anxiety
  • Concentration
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Information processing
  • Memory

MSWA Supports people living with Multiple Sclerosis

Visit our Support and Services section to see how we can assist you.

Visit Support and Services