The London Brain Centre

Conditions | Treatments | Multiple Sclerosis

What is Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?

MS is a condition of the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord), which controls the body's actions and activities, such as movement and balance.

Multiple sclerosis is the most common neurological condition among young adults in the UK, affecting approximately 85,000 people.

Each nerve fibre in the central nervous system is surrounded by a substance called myelin. Myelin helps the messages from the brain travel quickly and smoothly to the rest of the body. In MS, the myelin becomes damaged, disrupting the transfer of these messages.

There are four main types of MS: benign MS, relapsing remitting MS, secondary progressive MS and primary progressive MS.

The symptoms of the condition are numerous and unpredictable, and they affect each person differently. Some of the most common conditions include problems with mobility and balance, pain, muscle spasms and muscle tightness.

Who is affected?
It is possible for MS to occur at any age, but in most cases symptoms are first seen between the ages of 20 and 40. Women are almost twice as likely to develop MS as men.

What causes Multiple Sclerosis?
The exact cause of MS is not fully understood, although there is some evidence to suggest that it is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

What treatments are available?
There is no known cure for MS, but research is continuing into the condition and its causes. However, there are many treatments for MS, which aim to improve the symptoms and make them easier to live with. Treatments include medication and physiotherapy. MS is a life-long condition, but it is not terminal. People with MS can expect to live as long as anyone else.

The importance of seeking advice from a Consultant Neurologist with a specialist interest in this disease cannot therefore be over emphasised. In addition the London Brain Centre has a wealth of additional professionals in treating Multiple Sclerosis available, involving specialist nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, all who make up our specialist neurological rehabilitation team.