Last week we cleared the way to understanding brain fog in the MS world. And of course, we kicked off this series in understanding fatigue in the MS world. Now it’s time to ease the struggle to understanding next invisible symptom of MS: pain.
Aches. Pains. Ouch! If you have a physical body, you’ve experienced some painful experiences over the year.
What people think it feels like
It’s estimated that more than 80 percent of Americans will experience an episode of low back pain at some point in their lives. Virtually everyone has experienced a headache or sore feet from a lot of walking. Depending upon your lifestyle, your body can take a beating and create some aches and pains. So how is this any different from MS pain?
What it actually feels like
A stabbing, electric shock in the face or running the length of the spine. Hot, prickling pain around the waist. A CONSTANT dull, achy feeling. Your body no longer feels like home, it can feel like a torture chamber.
Why it’s different
MS gets on our nerves – literally! Multiple Sclerosis attacks the coating of the nerves. Need I say more? That’s known as neuropathic pain and it’s only half the story. The other type of pain in MS is musculoskeletal pain. This is caused by damage to muscles, tendons, ligaments and soft tissue. And if that’s not enough, chances are there’s some painful side effects to some of the disease modifying treatments. (Another reason I chose to not just rely on the medication alone.)
Less Pharm More Table in Action
- Yoga, meditation or prayer. Check it out – this one popped up again. Not only is this great for fatigue, it’s also amazing for pain management too because each practice can help “turn on” the parasympathetic nervous system – the one that creates relaxation and ease in the body. Yes please!
- Get dirty! Spend a time in nature. Being the Jersey girl I am, it’s hard to deny that spending time down the shore, breathing in the salt water air and digging my toes in the sand, doesn’t heal my body on a level that no medicine could touch. For you, maybe is a stroll through a park or quiet time by a lake, whatever your preference may be spend time in the elements of nature.
- Acupuncture. This is one of my fav ways to manage MS and really my health as a whole. I take what I call a “needle nap” as I rest on the table and let the acupuncture needles do their work! The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has reviewed multiple studies on acupuncture – sadly none directly regarding MS – to prove if it’s scientifically legit. They consider it to be a “reasonable treatment option.” In my opinion, it’s worth it!
Hopefully this series has shed some light on what it feels like to experience the invisible but very real symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
So, what to do with this information now?
If you know someone struggling with MS or someone who doesn’t have a diagnosis but simply struggles to understand this unseen disease – let’s spread the word.
Share a copy of this article with them or really let your voice be heard and share a link on social media.
The goal is to help bring understanding, compassion and support to all the MSIndependents of the world.