What is MS?

Multiple Sclerosis is a progressive, degenerative disorder of the central nervous system (CNS), including the brain, optic nerve and spinal cord. Each nerve fiber in the white matter of the CNS is surrounded and insulated by a protective layer called myelin. Nerve signals travel along the myelin between the brain and the rest of the body.

The cause is as yet unknown, but in MS these myelin pathways are damaged causing scattered patches of de-myelination thus making it difficult or impossible for messages to move over these hard, damaged areas. (“Multiple Sclerosis” means “many scars”) In short this is why your movement, feeling and co-ordination will be affected depending on the location of the “plaques” or scars in the brain and/or spinal cord.

And this must prove to be the most frustrating thing about MS! Each individual will present a different set of symptoms depending on which portion or portions of the nervous system are most affected! And to further the frustration, most or some of these symptoms may come and go, some symptoms will never appear again, other symptoms may get worse in time. The course of the illness and the variety of symptoms presented in each individual is unpredictable.