Multiple sclerosis as a painful disease.

Int Rev Neurobiol. 2007;79:303-21.
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Multiple sclerosis as a painful disease.

Kenner M, Menon U, Elliott DG.

Department of Neurology, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Shreveport, Louisiana 71103, USA.

Pain is a common problem of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and may be due to central/neuropathic or peripheral/somatic pathology. Rarely MS may present with pain, or pain may herald an MS exacerbation, such as in painful tonic spasms or Lhermitte’s sign. In other patients, pain may become chronic as a long-term sequela of damage to nerve root entry zones (trigeminal neuralgia) or structures in central sensory pathways. Migraine headache may develop as a consequence of MS, and headache can also be a side effect of interferon treatment. The pathophysiology of pain in MS may be linked to certain plaque locations which disrupt the spinothalamic and quintothalamic pathways, abnormal impulses through motor axons, development of an acquired channelopathy in affected nerves, or involve glial cell inflammatory immune mechanisms. At this time, the treatment of pain in MS employs the use of antiepileptic drugs, muscle relaxers/antispasmodic agents, anti-inflammatory drugs, and nonpharmacological measures. Research concerning cannabis-based treatments shows promising results, and substances which block microglial or astrocytic involvement in pain processing are also under investigation.

PMID: 17531847 [PubMed – in process]