Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease of the central nervous system and it is thought to be an autoimmune disorder. It is an unpredictable condition that can be relatively benign, disabling, or devastating. Some individuals with MS may be mildly affected while others may lose their ability to write, speak, or walk - when communication between the brain and other parts of the body becomes disrupted.

Myelin is a fatty tissue that surrounds and protects the nerve fibres. Myelin is lost in multiple areas with MS. This loss of myelin forms scar tissue called sclerosis. these areas are also called plaques or lesions. When damaged in this way, the nerves are unable to conduct electrical impulses to and from the brain.

The symptoms of MS are erratic. They may be mild or severe, of long duration or short. They may appear in various combinations, depending on the area of the nervous system affected. The following are the most common symptoms of MS. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently.

Initial symptoms of MS:

  • Blurred or double vision

  • Red-green colour distortion

  • Pain and loss of vision due to optic neuritis, an inflammation of the optic nerve

  • Difficulty walking

  • Paraesthesia - abnormal sensation, or pain, such as numbness, prickling, or "pins and needles."


Throughout the course of the illness, an individual may experience any/all of the following symptoms, to a varying degree:

  • Muscle weakness in the extremities

  • Difficulty with coordination (impaired walking or standing may result; partial or complete paralysis is possible)

  • Spasticity - the involuntary increased tone of muscles leading to stiffness and spasms.

  • Fatigue (this may be triggered by physical activity, but may subside with rest; constant, persistent fatigue is possible)

  • Loss of sensation

  • Speech impediments

  • Tremor

  • Dizziness

  • Hearing loss

  • Bowel and bladder disturbances

  • Depression

  • Changes in sexual function



With today's medicine, there is no definitive test available to diagnose multiple sclerosis. However, a probable diagnosis can be made by following a careful process which demonstrates findings that are consistent with MS, that also rule out other causes and diseases. There is no cure yet for MS. However, there are strategies to modify the disease course, treat exacerbations, manage symptoms, and improve function and mobility.


If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with suspects MS and are looking for a specialist neurologist, please feel free to contact Synapse Neurology for a consultation on 03) 8582 6945.