Last reply 1 year ago
Back pain as an MS Symptom?

So my experience with MS has been various symptoms, not pain so much. Today I went to the dr because for the past 6-8 months I am hurting, my hips and low back hurt a lot. I have a job where I sit all day I think it has become hard on me. Anyway I noticed a post where someone said their ms caused stiffness and pain in their legs. Is MS known for causing pain that feels like severe arthritis? And if plaques typically don’t go as low as lumbar spine, I wonder how is causes pain and symptoms in the legs? I just guess I have a lot of questions. I’m learning! If anyone would like to share…

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1 year ago

@angieh , it sounds like you need an assessment by a good Neuro-physio.

MS doesn’t directly cause physical pain, but it can make us adopt bad posture/gait as we compensate for MS weaknesses. This puts unnatural pressure on muscles and joints.

A good assessment should be able to identify any problems you have in this respect and prescribe simple exercises to address any “imbalances”.

1 year ago

Hi @angieh,
MS and back and hip pain have gone hand in hand for me. I had a relapse last year with a cervical spine lesion that caused spasticity in my hips as well as the muscles in my legs becoming very weak. I also get severe back pain that wraps itself around the whole lumber spine and into the front like a giant band. Pain has been my worst MS symptom – far worse than when I needed to use a wheelchair!

There are a few things I would suggest. As MS can cause weak muscles, unless we work to strengthen our core regularly every weak, we lose muscle tone quickly in this area and as the core muscles support the spine, weak muscles from MS in this area can lead to instability in the spine and can flare up any back problems that were hiding in the wings, so it could be worth getting your Dr to refer you for an MRI of the lumbar spine to rule out any non-MS causes. While MS may weaken the muscles, the pain could be caused from a secondary source if that makes sense!

Secondly, my consultant said to me that while a lot of my pain can be described as severe muscular pain that some may say is not MS-related, your brain and spinal cord control your muscles and damage in these areas affects the signals going to the muscles, leading to them tightening/weakening/going into spasm and causing pain.

Hope some of that is of help. Things I’ve found very useful are physio groups with my local MS branch to strengthen my muscles and this has improved the pain. Regular stretching, particularly stretching the hips, every single morning and when pain flares up during the day. Dry needling – great for initially releasing tight areas and has done wonders for me. And then as Stumbler says, a neuro physio assessment is very important to make sure there’s no imbalances. My first step though would be that MRI to rule out any non-MS causes first. Best of luck 🙂

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