Understanding Relapses


MS is characterised by repeated bouts of nervous system symptoms that reflect inflammation within the CNS. These bouts are typically called attacks, flare-ups, or relapses. The symptoms of relapses vary from person to person. 1

Common symptoms of relapses 1

  • Problems with walking
  • Numbness
  • Vision problems
  • Imbalance

While symptoms of a relapse may disappear completely, in some cases they remain, at least partially, after the relapse is over. This form of disease is called relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS).1

In some cases, people with relapsing MS find that their symptoms gradually increase between relapses. When this occurs, people are said to be transitioning to another form of MS (secondary-progressive MS).2

1. Exacerbations. National Multiple Sclerosis Society Web site. http://www.nationalmssociety.org/about-multiple-sclerosis/what-we-know-about-ms/treatments/exacerbations/index.aspx. Accessed on 8 April 2011.
2. Four Disease Courses of MS. National Multiple Sclerosis Society Web site. http://www.nationalmssociety.org/about-multiple-sclerosis/what-we-know-about-ms/what-is-ms/four-disease-courses-of-ms/index.aspx. Accessed on 8 April 2011.