Multiple Sclerosis

What is multiple sclerosis (MS)?
MS is a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system, which is made up of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. At this time, believed by medical experts to be an autoimmune disease.

According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society the symptoms may be mild, such as numbness in the limbs. In other cases, it could be severe such as paralysis or loss of vision.

The progress or severity varies from person to person and is unpredictable.

What are some of the common symptoms of MS in children?
According to some symptoms of MS in children can be erratic and mild to severe.  Some of the symptoms may include:

  • Problems with bladder or bowel control
  • Weakness
  • Problems with walking
  • Vision changes
  • Muscle spasms
  • Sensory changes, tingling or numbness
  • Tremors
  • Children may also experience seizures and lethargy

Did you know the following acts about MS?

  • It is the most common progressive and disabling neurological condition in young adults.
  • Approximately 2.5 million individuals worldwide have MS.
  • Approximately 400,00 individuals in the United States have multiple sclerosis.
  • The average clinical onset is 30-33 years of age.
  • Although MS occurs most commonly in adults, it is increasingly being diagnosed in children and teenagers.
  • Of the 400,000 diagnosed in the U.S. with MS, 8,000 to 10,000 are in children up to 18 years old.

What is treatment for children with MS?
There is no cure to date for MS; however, there are several treatments that can improve the quality of life for children with MS. The three main goals of the treatments are treating attacks, preventing future attacks and to relieve the symptoms.

Corticosteroid medications are used to reduce inflammation in the brain and spinal cord during attacks. Some physicians prescribe an oral corticosteroid for short time following the IV medication.

Although corticosteroids can ease attacks, they do not prevent them. Doctors may prescribe other types of medication for that purpose.

Medications for MS are not approved by the FDA for treatment in patients younger than 18.

To relieve fatigue, muscle tightening or stiffness, tingling or other symptoms, many effective treatments include physical and occupational therapy and counseling.

For more information on multiple sclerosis, contact the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America at or call 1-800-532-7667.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society may be reached at or call 1-800-344-4867.