Pain and MS

Approximately 60 percent of people with MS experience pain that troubles them or interferes with their daily activities. Given that most MS-related pain is chronic it is important for people with MS to develop an effective management strategy.

Pain experienced with MS can be caused by the MS disease itself – due to damage or changes to the central nervous system, bones, muscles or soft tissues – or by unrelated causes, such as an injury or other illness.

Pain in multiple sclerosis

MS-related pain comes from two main sources in the body:


Also referred to as neurogenic or central pain, this is caused by MS-related damage to the brain, spinal cord and nerves. Neurological pain can feel unusual – tingling, pins and needles, tight bands, burning and stabbing are common ways to describe this pain.


Also referred to as nociceptive pain, this is caused by damage or changes to the body’s bones, muscles and soft tissues. Examples include pain due to muscle spasms and pain as a result of inactivity or altered posture.

Pain can be chronic, lasting for more than 3 months, or acute, lasting for a shorter period of time. Acute pain is usually related to injury or a short term illness.

Managing pain

Watch our educational webinar on Managing Pain with MS Nurse – Tim O’Maley.

This webinar explains the types of pain that MS may cause and explore both short term and long term management strategies.
Watch the webinar


There are a number of strategies that can be used to help manage MS pain:

Getting help

General practitioners (GP) can help people with MS to manage their pain on a daily basis and assist with sudden or severe pain. They can also establish if the pain may be caused by something other than MS. People with MS should also consult their neurologist about any new pain, changes in their pain or unusual sensations.

Contact our NeuroAssist Team

Here to help you understand MS and answer your questions.

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Download the MSQ Managing Pain fact sheet

Includes information, resources and tips to help you manage pain.

Download here

Book a Neurophysio consultation

Find out how Neurological Physiotherapy and exercise can help with the management of pain.

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Find a support group

Offering friendship, support and self-help in your local area.

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