Symptoms VS relapses

Hi All,

I wanted to see what peoples views were on a symptoms vs relapses. Are they one and the same? Or can you have on-going symptoms that aren’t related to a relapse? How do you differentiate between the two?

I’m quite keen to understand the above to help how I support my other half. I know fatigue, numbness / tingling / pins & needles, etc are all symptoms from MS, but are they related to an attack? By understanding this, I think it helps in how you approch MS, and how you try to live your life day to day.

I’m trying to persuade my OH to get to the gym more, nothing too strenuous - but I know trying to maintain a reasonable level of fitness is good for everything, not just dealing with MS.

It’d be good to get other peoples opinions!


A relapse is new symptoms OR a resurgence of old symptoms (i.e. ones that had got better) that persists for more than 24 hours, and isn’t accounted for by any other cause, such as an infection.

Many people - probably the majority, I think - do have ongoing symptoms between relapses, because the damage from relapses is often repaired imperfectly, which means function is not 100% as it was before. Over time, this damage mounts up, which means people can accumulate more and more symptoms and disability, even when they’re not in an active relapse.

I’m not sure trying to persuade your OH to go to the gym more is the right tack, to be honest. I’m not saying the gym is a bad thing, and it’s good they’re going at all. But it’s very much down to the individual to manage their own levels of fatigue, and only they can know that, and what activity levels they’re comfortable with. Trying to persuade someone who suffers badly from fatigue to take on additional activity may be counter-productive, as there is a fine line between a beneficial amount of exercise, and overdoing it to the point of feeling worse. This line won’t be the same for everyone with MS, and your OH will know better than you where theirs is.

So if they feel they’re doing enough gym already, they probably are. It’s important, with MS, to listen to what your body tells you about how much is too much, and to respect that. Anything that feels alright is OK. If it doesn’t feel alright, and leaves you having to rest up for two days, that was too much. Unfortunately, sometimes you only find out too late that something was too much, but with experience, you do get better at judging. Still doesn’t stop the odd mistake though.


I agree with Tina.

Support and understanding from nearest and dearest are invaluable, no question, and such loving support is a real blessing.

One of the most helpful things that people can do for a person with a condition like MS is to do more listening and less telling - if you listen carefully, you will likely get all the cues you need from your OH in terms of how you can best support her.

(hint: this is highly likely to NOT include telling her what you think she should do/eat etc… )

On the relapse/symptom side, the main part of the MS Society site gives very good information and is worth a look, I would suggest.