Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Multiple Sclerosis And Nerve Pain

Today's post from (see link below) is refreshing in a way that sometimes only personal bloggers can be because they write truthfully, from their own experience and with enough humour to keep it light hearted. In this case, the writer has MS or multiple sclerosis, which is another form of neuropathy that may not always spring to mind when we talk about nerve damage but is nevertheless a source of constant pain and frustration for people living with the disease. What Is MS? Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Sound familiar? Of course it does because it sums up what the majority of neuropathy patients are suffering from, yet it falls under another label and has another set of unique rules. Little wonder that neuropathy has doctors scratching their heads at times to find solutions - identifying the problem in the first place can be like finding your way through an impenetrable maze. This article is enormously relatable, because of all the common ground with other neuropathic conditions and for that reason it's worth a read, if only to show us that we're not alone but part of an enormous community of nerve damage patients, all searching for that needle 'cure' in the haystack.

Nerve pain feels like coming apart at the seams Linda Ann Nickerson Monday January 2017

A multiple sclerosis warrior might feel like a bundle of nerves, but wonder how this can be possible. After all, doesn’t MS diminish or destroy our ability to feel sensations? So how can nerve pain be part of life with MS?

Alas, the MS MonSter wields a two-edged sword. And one of his favorite attacks is nerve pain. That’s the wacky and inexplicable and seemingly spontaneous, yet often excruciating, agony that strikes without warning.

MS can make us numb, but it can also bring a remarkable amount of particularly frustrating pain.

Nerve pain (also known as neuropathic pain) isn’t limited to MS, either. It’s also a frequent feature of such conditions as advanced alcoholism, cancer, chemotherapy, diabetes, drug addiction withdrawal, fibromyalgia, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, heart disease, herpes (and cold sores), HIV, Lyme disease, repetitive stress, shingles, and more. Nerve pain can also come along after a serious physical injury or burn.

How does nerve pain feel?

That’s a tricky question. Neuropathic pain does not feel the same way in each person, or even in each instance. Sufferers report such sensations as aching, burning, buzzing, freezing, itching, pinching, pounding, pricking, pulsing, quaking, reeling, sharp, shooting, sparking, stabbing, stinging, throbbing, tingling, and zapping. This variation of frequent feelings makes nerve pain particularly difficult to explain or manage.

Nerve pain ranges in intensity (from nagging discomfort to total torture), and it may affect a single part of the body or cause all-over agony. In lots of people, nerve pain may also lead to anxiety, depression, and sleeping problems.

Why do MSers experience nerve pain?

In multiple sclerosis, the myelin covering on our nerves can become damaged. (OK, we knew that.) This destruction can render the nerves incapable of transmitting sensation, but it can also make them particularly sensitive. A slight breeze, a light brush with a sleeve or collar or pant leg, or even seemingly nothing at all can register as painful. This picture can grow even worse, if we are tired or stressed or otherwise compromised.

Can nerve pain be treated?

Often, doctors aim to identify and treat the condition that is causing neuropathic pain. At the same time, the symptoms of this strange discomfort may respond to over-the-counter painkillers, topical applications, and natural treatments (such as acupuncture and vitamin supplements). In the worst cases, prescription medications may be advised. Physicians have even prescribed anti-seizure drugs for nerve pain.

Eliminating known triggers can help, too. But the MS MonSter’s nerve pain is pretty persistent. It can be chronic.

Personally, I could swear this nasty nerve pain crops up quickly after I eat anything containing monosodium glutamate (MSG). Sure, neuropathy pain enters the picture at other times, but this one has grown obvious. I’ve become a devoted food label reader, but sometimes I eat it by mistake. Suppose I’m in a restaurant or a guest in another home. The MSG after-effects show up pretty fast. Within an hour (or even minutes), the burning, buzzing, reeling, sparking pain starts.

Not long afterwards, the aura and MSG migraine are sure to follow. I can tie similar symptoms to aspartame (NutraSweet). This may not be true for everyone, but it sure is for me.

Whee. What a party.

No wonder MSers sometimes feel as if we are coming apart at the seams – even when we’re not.

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