Understanding and Managing Multiple Sclerosis Attacks

MS Attacks, Relapses and Flare-Ups

Most forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) involve stretches of time when you feel good and other times when your symptoms act up. You might hear those worse periods called:

  • Attacks
  • Relapses
  • Flare-ups
  • Episodes
  • Exacerbations

What is an MS attack?

An MS exacerbation causes new symptoms or the worsening of old symptoms. It can be very mild, or severe enough to interfere with a person’s ability to function at home and at work. No two exacerbations are alike, and MS attack symptoms vary from person to person and from one exacerbation to another.

Some relapses produce only one symptom (related to inflammation in a single area of the central nervous system), while other relapses cause two or more symptoms at the same time (related to inflammation in more than one area of the central nervous system). To be a true exacerbation, the attack must last at least 24 hours and be separated from the previous attack by at least 30 days.

Most MS exacerbations last from a few days to several weeks or even months. For more information about MS, visit our MS FAQs page

MS Attack Symptoms

During an MS attack, a person may experience new or worsening common MS symptoms. However, each person may experience slightly different or unique symptoms. Common MS flare symptoms can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Problems with balance and coordination
  • Trouble with your vision
  • Issues with your bladder
  • Numb or tingling feelings (pins and needles)
  • Problems with your memory
  • Trouble concentrating

MS Flare-Up Treatment

There is no cure for multiple sclerosis. MS flare-up treatment focuses on quickening recovery from attacks, managing symptoms and slowing the disease progression. Treatment options may include:

  • Corticosteroids to reduce nerve inflammation
  • Plasma exchange (plasmapheresis)
  • Infusion treatments
  • Oral treatments
  • Injectable treatments
  • Physical therapy
  • Muscle relaxants

At Shepherd Center, multiple sclerosis treatment is specific to the individual’s needs and goals.

MS Institute Information and Appointments

Submit a request for more information about the MS Institute at Shepherd Center to learn about our MS treatment and services.

Call us directly to get specific information, schedule an appointment, or plan a visit:

Phone: 404-352-2020
Hours: Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

New patients may also download a form, complete it and follow the instructions on the form for submitting it to the MS Institute.

Download New Patient Referral Form