Various forms of pain are associated with the progression of multiple sclerosis. MS lower back pain is one of them. Many patients who experience multiple sclerosis lower back pain can associate it with the musculoskeletal changes their bodies endure as a result of the disease.
The various forms of pain endured by sufferers of multiple sclerosis can often be directly or indirectly tied to the damage wrought by multiple sclerosis. They may result directly from lesions and inflammation in the nervous tissue. They may also result when various bodily organs or systems are undermined by a damaged nervous system. Muscles may weaken and atrophy, for example, resulting in pain when patients try to walk or to sit up for long stretches of time. Pain may also result when patients’ react to their medication and experience pain as a side effect.
Some Causes of MS Lower Back Pain
MS lower back pain typically presents as a musculoskeletal pain. Musculoskeletal pains are generally pains that affect the musculoskeletal system- the system of muscles and bones that makes up the framework of the human body and that is responsible for movement. Musculoskeletal pain is persistent rather than acute. It often results from muscle weakness and exhaustion, imbalance and spasticity.
All of these symptoms follow from the demyelination and inflammation of neural tissue and the consequent interruption of normal signal transmission from the nervous system to the individual muscles. The muscles, tendons and other parts of the musculoskeletal system are no longer able to function normally. Thus, they may overcompensate to make up for the abnormalities, resulting in exhaustion and pain. It may also prove so difficult for a multiple sclerosis patient to engage in any form of activity that he or she chooses to minimize movement. As a result, the muscles, ligaments and tendons may remain out of use for long. The result tends to be the weakening and atrophying of muscles. This ultimately results in pain when one tries to use them.
When multiple sclerosis patients suffering from the problems described above try to walk or to sit up, they often have problems with their posture. They lose their previous sense of balance, developing an abnormal gait instead or may have to adopt improper posture while sitting. The cumulative effect of these experiences is to develop multiple sclerosis lower back pain.
There is a neuropathic pain associated with MS that may be felt in part of the lower back, but is not limited to this area. It is called Lhermitte’s sign, and it feels like an electric shock. This pain originates in the back of the head and moves downwards through the spine. Afterwards, it often moves into the trunk, the arms or the legs. This pain results, not so much from muscular weakness, exhaustion or spasticity, but rather from injury and inflammation in the area of the cervical spine.