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Living with MS can feel like you are learning a new language! It can feel overwhelming at times, but getting to grip with the words can be helpful when it comes to having open conversations with your MS specialist, neurologist, GP or MS nurse.

In addition, if your healthcare team use complicated language during appointments, it is completely fine to ask them to explain, that is what they are there for! 

See below for our handy MS dictionary:

Loss of taste function on the tongue.

Central pain sensitisation following non-painful stimulation.

Lack of coordination and unsteadiness on your feet.

Conditions in which the immune system attacks and destroys healthy cells and tissues.

The part of the neuron along which messages travel to be transferred to another part of the body. 

A foot reflex stimulation to test for MS.

The different measures used by medical professionals to evaluate certain processes happening in the body. 

Protecting your brain from viruses and harm. 

Controls most functions of the body and mind. 

The large part of the brain that contains the cerebral cortex.

The first episode of neurological symptoms lasting at least 24 hours. 

Cognitive fog means changes in cognition or cognitive impairment.

An X-ray scan of the body used as a diagnostic test in MS. 

The name for health conditions that worsen over time. 

The technical term for double vision.

A group of treatments to help slow MS disease activity.

The slurring of speech caused by the damage to the central nervous system.

An unpleasant sensation caused by damage to the nerves. 

A lack of coordination of movement. 

Trouble swallowing food, water or saliva. 

Problems co-ordinating throat and mouth muscles. 

A common virus that causes glandular fever. 

A neurological exam to help assess the level of disability.

Term used to describe an overall feeling of tiredness and lack of energy. 

Muscular weakness that makes it difficult to lift the front part of your foot and toes.

A medical compound to help identify new lesions or scarring.

A major component of the central nervous system, consisting of nerve cell bodies.

Questionnaires to help measure quality of life (QoL) with MS.

A group of proteins which help the immune system spot the differences between foreign invaders and the body’s own tissue.

The suppression of the immune system response. 

An “electrical” sensation running through the neck and spine, travelling to the legs and arms.

An area of damage on tissue caused by injury or disease. 

A common procedure to help diagnose MS.

The key tool used to diagnose MS and monitor MS lesion activity.

Band of pain around the middle of your body. 

A chronic neurological disorder affecting the central nervous system. 

A thick coating to protect the nerve cell axon and allows messages to be transmitted quickly and efficiently.

A way for doctors to evaluate MS activity and disease progression.

Neurons, or nerve cells, carry messages between the central nervous system and the rest of the body. 

‘Bands’ of antibodies that show the presence of disease activity.

The optic nerve becomes inflamed.  

A spontaneous sensation with no apparent physical cause. 

 A rare viral disease of the brain. 

With this type of MS it is very rare to experience relapses and remissions. Instead, symptoms get progressively worse. 

A relapse is a flare up of new MS symptoms, or the return of old ones. Remission is the temporary or permanent disappearance of MS symptoms.

Relapsing remitting MS (RRMS) is the most common form of MS.

Phase of MS in which disability and symptoms gradually worsen over time.

Involuntary muscle spasms, usually in the legs. 

The feeling of acute pain in the face.

The worsening of MS symptoms due to increased body temperature. 

UK | July 2020 | MUL20-C021