Back Pain and MS

Back pain is something that the majority of people will have in some form or another at some time in their lives. And when you have MS, you may also have other types of pain, whether it's from the MS or from something else. So, unfortunately, you have a double whammy - so to speak.

There are several types of pain that can be caused by multiple sclerosis. Spasms, spasticity, neuropathic pain, trigeminal neuralgia to name a few.

Back Pain - Adreanna Moya Photography

Therapy for back pain

Your doctor can refer you to a physical and/or occupational therapist. They may be able to tell you what you're doing “wrong” that may be causing your pain. Your pain may be caused by your limited mobility. In other words, you may unintentionally over compensate in one area at the expense of another. This can cause muscles to tighten up, which in turn can cause spasticity.

Unfortunately, MS also causes spasticity, which feels like tightness or cramping. Neuropathic pain can feel like a burning sensation. Trigeminal neuralgia can feel like sudden or intermittent bursts of pain. Sometimes pain happens and you have no idea whether it's caused by MS or something entirely unrelated.

Causes

One cause of the pain, as I said earlier, can be caused by an irregular walking gait. Because of balance problems, you just may not walk as well as you used to. Years of walking incorrectly can cause any number of things to happen.

The muscles in your back can react to the irregularity by going into spasms or you may experience sharp, stabbing, pains. In this case, physical therapy or medications,may help to relieve the pain. Whatever the cause, most back pain is treatable. 

Surgery

Surgery?

Sometimes surgery is necessary, or at least warranted. Most times it's up to you to make the decision. And several factors can come into play as to whether or not you decide to have the surgery. If you can tolerate the pain or manage it with medication and/or therapy, then you may opt against having the surgery.

If you have the surgery and it doesn't work, there are still things you can do. More therapy or medication may be in order. Or you can explore possibilities like pain blockers, a TENs Unit or eventually a Spinal Cord Stimulator.

Most of these can be used instead of surgery if you just don't want to go that route, or after surgery has failed. Hopefully after talking with your doctor, you can both come up with something that works to alleviate your pain, whether it's due to MS or something else.

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