Multiple sclerosis (MS)

M.S., secondary progressive MS (SPMS), primary progressive MS (PPMS), relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), clinically isolated syndrome (CIS)

What is Multiple sclerosis (MS)?

MS is an autoimmune condition that causes the immune system to attack the brain or spinal cord.

What causes MS?

MS is caused when the body’s immune system attacks the central nervous system. This can damage and destroy the fatty substance that coats and protects nerve fibres, known as myelin, affecting nerve transmission.

The reasons why people develop MS are not known. It is believed to be triggered by a combination of factors, which could include the body’s own cells and immune system, low vitamin D levels, some viruses and bacteria, smoking, obesity and genetic risk.

What are the symptoms of MS?

Symptoms of MS may include:

  • Difficulty walking
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle stiffness and spasms
  • Vision problems
  • Issues with balance and coordination

The symptoms experienced vary from person to person and may come and go.

If you think you may be displaying early signs of MS, seek the advice of your GP.

Are you affected by Multiple sclerosis (MS)?

If you’re affected by MS, The Brain Charity can support you.

We are the only charity in the UK to be here for every one of the more than 600 different neurological conditions in existence. Individually, many are rare, but combined, they affect 1 in 6 people.

We provide practical help on all aspects of living with MS, emotional support such as counselling, phone befriending and group therapy and social activities to people with MS from all over the UK from our centre in Liverpool.

Looking to talk to someone?

Phone us

Contact The Brain Charity now

Our friendly Information & Advice Officers are here to help. We endeavour to respond to all enquiries within 10 working days.

0800 008 6417

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Caring for someone affected by Multiple sclerosis (MS)

Although there is no cure for MS, there are various medications which can help control the condition. If you, or your loved one, have been diagnosed with MS, it is also important to take care of your general health, including healthy eating and exercise.

We support carers, friends and family too

Are you a carer for or relative of someone with MS? It’s just as important for you to look after your own physical and mental wellbeing too.

The Brain Charity provides free support for carers, friends and family of people with any form of neurological condition, including multiple sclerosis, from anywhere in the UK.

We also run an additional carers advocacy service for all carers in Liverpool, regardless of which type of condition the person they care for has.

You don’t need to be a formal or registered carer

We can help you even if you don’t view yourself as a formal carer or claim Carer’s Allowance. Find out some of the ways we support carers below.

Other resources

The Brain Charity's library

The library at The Brain Charity has a range of resources on MS and on many other disability-related issues

Support groups

Support groups at The Brain Charity

Are you interested in setting up an MS support group, or do you already run one? Email info@thebraincharity.org.uk to let us know.

Alternatively, you can check out our list of related support groups here.

Other charities

MS Society (charity providing support and working to stop MS)

Helpline: 0808 800 8000
Website: www.mssociety.org.uk

Multiple Sclerosis Trust (charity supporting everyone affected by MS)

Phone: 01462 476700
Freephone information service: 0800 032 3839
Website: www.mstrust.org.uk

MS-UK (charity supporting those affected by MS)

Helpline: 0800 783 0518
Website: www.ms-uk.org

Multiple Sclerosis National Therapy Centres (there are more than 50 centres in Britain and Ireland, including the Neuro Therapy Centre in Cheshire)