Approximately half of those with multiple sclerosis (48%) are reported to experience chronic pain in association with their condition. Severe, chronic fatigue is reported by 75% of those with multiple sclerosis.
Multiple sclerosis is characterized by areas of demyelination (lesions) in the central nervous system (CNS: the brain and spinal cord.) It is believed that lesions in the CNS result when auto-antibodies specific to myelin attack and destroy the protective covering that surrounds the nerve fibers in the CNS.
The presence of CNS lesions can account for many of the unique symptoms of multiple sclerosis, but in many instances cannot explain the pain experienced by individuals. CNS lesions cannot explain the fatigue that is a common and often debilitating symptom of multiple sclerosis.
Does the pain and fatigue of multiple sclerosis result from the same process that leads to demyelination?