MS Injuries to the Spine: Connection, Diagnosis, and Treatment (2023)

Multiple sclerosis (MS) causes damage, called lesions, to parts of the central nervous system, including the spine.

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MS is a neurological disease. It causes the immune system to attack and destroy myelin, the protective fatty tissue that surrounds nerve cells.

This process, calleddemyelinationforms lesions in areas ofcentral nervous system, including parts of the brain and spinal cord.

This article examines the connection betweenMultiple sclerosisand spinal injuries.

MS is an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system. It causes the immune system to attack the protective layer of fat called the myelin sheath that surrounds nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.

This slows down nerve impulses and causes symptoms that get steadily worse (known as progressive) or come and go (known as relapsing remission).

The body may never fully repair the damage it can cause.


. Damaged areas, called lesions, may appear on patches of skinBrainand spine.

Some people with MS are stable, others have symptoms that get worse quickly, while some have symptoms that go away on their own.

A person living with MScould trya wide range of symptoms depending on the number, location and severity of damage caused by the injuries. They can include vision problems, cognitive impairments, sensory issues and mobility issues.

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Doctors use a variety of techniques to diagnose MS, includingMRT-Scansand neurological examinations.

SheoftenLocate MS lesions in the periventricular white matter of the brain, optic nerves, or spinal cord.

a contrastMRIIt can help doctors determine whether there are active lesions. these types ofTrialcan help them determine whether the lesions meet the criteria for a diagnosis of MS.

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By itself, no symptoms, physical findings, or laboratory tests can indicate MS.

For a doctor to diagnose the disease,you have to find:

  • Evidence of damage to at least two areas of the central nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord, or optic nerves
  • Evidence that damage occurred in different areas at different times
  • There is no indication that other problems, such as an infection or stroke, caused the injuries.

In some cases, a person may have damage to the brain or spinal cord before the diagnosis of MS. Both radiologically isolated syndrome (RIS) andclinically isolated syndrome(CIS) may involve brain or spinal cord lesions similar to MS.

RIScausedInjuries to the brain or spinal cord. CIScausednumerous MS-like neurological symptoms, which in many cases are precursors to the development of full-blown MS.

One50%of people diagnosed with RIS will develop MS within 10 years. RIS has no symptoms and is not considered a cause of MS by doctors.

On the contrary, about6080%of people diagnosed with CIS who have brain damage develop MS. Unlike RIS, CIS is a cause of MS and a neurological symptom due to central nervous system inflammation.

What do MS lesions look like on MRI?

MS lesions canto appearsuch as gray, white, or black speckled areas on aMRI, depending on whether they are new or old. Lesions are usually oval or frame-shaped.

A doctor will examine all areas of the brain, as lesions can appear in the white or gray matter.

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To see the lesions better, the doctor may use gadolinium, which is a contrast agent. The dye helps the doctor detect the presence of active inflammation orincreasethe sensitivity and specificity of magnetic resonance imaging.

Learn more about MRI and MS here.

What is MS spinal injury like?

after a2019study, it can be difficult to image the spinal cord because movements, such as B. breathing, are possible. Lesions occur in both gray and white matter or gray matter only.

Like lesions found in the brain, they can appear as light or dark dotted areas on the spinal cord.

Was it Optical Nuromyelite?

neuromyelitis optica, thedeva disease, is another demyelinating disease of the spine and optic nerve. in hisearly stages, can easily be confused with MS due to similar symptoms. Both conditions can cause: myelitis: swelling and inflammation in the spinal cord; and optic neuritis: inflammation of the optic nerve that affects vision.

Doctors can use features of neuromyelitis optica to rule out multiple sclerosis or vice versa. Signs of vision loss or other symptoms that could be a result of neuromyelitis optica include:

  • Swelling of the spinal cord and optic nerve that is more severe
  • a normal MRI of the brain
  • Visual impairment that affects both eyes (in MS, only one eye is usually affected)
  • Proteins called oligoclonal bands that are not present in the cerebrospinal fluid (they are usually present in cases of MS)

Injuries to the spine and brain indicate damage to myelin, which protects nerve cells. This is a sign of MS.

One function of myelin is to help nerves send impulses. Without myelin, nerve impulses travel more slowly.

on a2018In the study, the researchers looked at patterns of damage in the central nervous system of people with relapsing or relapsing MS.

They showed that people with primary progressive MS have more lesions in the spinal cord than in the brain. The researchers also found that those with more spinal cord injuries had greater physical disability.

Furthermore, the results suggest that spinal cord involvement predicts worse neurological outcomes. Researchers have also observed impaired repair mechanisms and recurrent demyelination in spinal injuries.

A person's symptoms depend on where the MS lesions develop.

According toNational Multiple Sclerosis Society, Symptoms of MS include:

  • pain and itch
  • numbness or tingling
  • weakness
  • fatigue
  • dizzinessdizziness
  • sexual dysfunction
  • walking problems
  • spasticity
  • eye problems
  • bladder problems
  • intestinal problem
  • behavioral and learning difficulties
  • Depression

Less common symptoms include difficulty speaking, swallowing and breathing.

Additionally, some people living with MS experience electrical sensations coursing through their spine and extremities.

No two people have the same combination of MS symptoms. Also, a person's symptoms may change from day to day or from outbreak to outbreak.

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Doctors can prescribe steroidsHelpreduceinflammation, which can relieve symptoms. However, this is not a cure and cannot prevent symptoms from recurring.

Another goal of treating MS is to prevent further damage to nerve cells. Injectable, oral, and intravenous medications can help slow the progression of the disease.

Some injectable treatments include interferon beta-1a, interferon beta-1b, andglatiramer acetate. Oral treatments include teriflunomide, fingolimod, and siponimod. Infusion medications include Tysabri, Ocrevus, and Lemtrada.

when to the doctor

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Anyone who thinks they have symptoms of MS should see a doctor. Early symptoms may include unexplained weakness and sensory changes.

Early treatment can slow the progression of MS.

people who have experienceLichtOutbreaks may not require medical attention because the symptoms may go away without treatment. However, those with more severe symptoms should see a doctor.

Below you will find answers to some frequently asked questions.

Can you have MS without spinal injuries?

A person should not have any spinal or brain injuries during the initial diagnosis. However, the longer a person goes without injury, the more important it is for the doctor to rule out other medical conditions.

What are the symptoms of MS lesions in the cervical spine?

The cervical region is the upper part of the spine, located in the neck. MS lesions in the cervical spinecan causeSimilar symptoms to other areas such as numbness, weakness and balance problems.

In addition, they can cause loss of sensation in the shoulders and arms. For some, cervical spine injuries can lead to paralysis of all extremities.

What Causes MS Lesions?

MS causes the immune systemattackthe myelin sheath that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. Over time, the inflammation can lead to damage and scarring. Doctors refer to areas of damage in the spine or brain as multiple sclerosis lesions or lesions.

Can you have MS lesions in the brain but not the spine?

A person diagnosed with MS may have damage to the brain but not the spine. The opposite is also true. To avoid misdiagnosis, consult a person's doctorwill have to followClinical guidelines for the diagnosis of MS.

Multiple sclerosis is a complex disease in which the immune system attacks the protective covering of the nerves and forms areas of damage called lesions.

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A person living with MS may have damage to parts of the brain, spinal cord, or optic nerve. Limited research suggests that these spinal injuries may lead to worse neurological outcomes than MS.

MS symptoms can vary from person to person and from day to day. Several medications can help slow the progression of the disease, but there is still no cure for MS.


What happens when MS attacks the spine? ›

Many with spinal cord problems and MS have numbness on one side of the body and weakness on the opposite side. They may lose standing balance or have a gait problem characterized by ataxia, such as the inability to walk a straight line. Paralysis and loss of sensation of part of the body are common.

How is MS diagnosed in the spine? ›

Diagnosing MS through spine and brain lesions

The most effective and non-invasive way to determine if a person has MS is to scan for brain and spinal cord lesions using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Lesions are usually the most telling symptom of an MS diagnosis.

What is the treatment for sclerosis of the spine? ›

Unfortunately, there is no medical treatment for spinal sclerosis that will make it go away. What occurs if you have this condition is the bones are going to thicken. The thickening is the result of excessive amounts of calcium deposits.

What does your spine feel like with MS? ›

Some people with MS experience a brief, electric shock-type sensation that goes from the back of the neck down the spine (and may continue to radiate to the ribs) when they bend their neck. This type of pain is known as Lhermitte's sign.

Can MS be seen on spine MRI? ›

MS lesions are present throughout the spinal cord, and spinal cord MRI may play an important role in the diagnosis and follow-up of MS patients.


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