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Vertigo and Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease that affects the body’s central nervous system, wreaking havoc with the nerve impulses transmitted to the brain and spinal cord. The most common symptoms and side effects of MS include motor function, pain, weakness in muscles, depression, and severe vertigo.

Vertigo makes it difficult for people to stand and walk and can lead to falls that cause injury. In MS patients, when it is already difficult enough to move around, these bouts of vertigo can be very harmful. Common symptoms of vertigo, amplified greater in those who have multiple sclerosis, include:

  • The ground feels as if it is rushing upwards.
  • A feeling of the world around you continually spinning.
  • The ground below your feet feels as if it’s moving at a different speed than you are.
  • Dealing with vertigo with an entirely healthy body and fully functioning motor skills is difficult enough, but for those battling MS, it can become a nightmare. It creates an intense sensation of unsteadiness, recurring all the time consistently or come shockingly out of nowhere. 20% of people with MS deal with this terrifying brand of vertigo.

The primary cause of vertigo as it pertains to those with MS is found in the brain lesions found in the cerebellum. Existing lesions can become bigger and new lesions can form, a likely result of damage to the nerves that control the vestibular functions of the ear in the brain stem. Thankfully vertigo is not a permanent fixture for most, but in others, it can take weeks or even months to subside.

 

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