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Dysesthesia

First, how to pronounce this word – dysesthesia – (dis-uhs-thee-zhuh). Now that that's settled, what exactly is it? According to the dictionary it's an impairment of the senses – especially touch. Even a very light touch can cause pain.

It's derived from two Greek words – “dys” – which means “not normal”. “Aesthesias” means sensation. Together they mean abnormal sensation. It can be an unpleasant touch that is sometimes described as painful.

These sensations are caused by lesions in either the central nervous system in the case of MS or the peripheral nervous system. These sensations can be either spontaneous or evoked. What do you feel when you have these sensations? You can feel the following:

  • burning
  • wetness
  • itching
  • electric shock
  • pins and needles

This type of pain can be unbearable at times. Any temperature change, can cause the level of pain associated with this symptom to become worse. It can either be spontaneous, meaning there is no physical touch that causes it. Or it can be evoked by a very light touch.

This light touch can be as light as clothing touching the skin. This type of MS pain can lead to severe depression because the Mser is constantly trying to avoid it at all costs. So much that this is all s/he thinks about. It is usually treated with anti-convulsants. And occasionally anti-depressants are used to treat this symptom.

Video about dysesthesia

Here's a really short video that illustrates how this symptom feels.

Sometimes called “phantom pains” because they're similar to feeling pain in a limb that has been amputated. In other words, the touch doesn't fit the sensation.

If you suffer from this symptom, let your doctor know. Together you can determine a treatment that will help you deal with it.

Go back to MS Symptoms 

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