Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms and Causes

The Multiple Sclerosis Center at North Shore-LIJ Health System’s Cushing Neuroscience Institute employs a multidisciplinary clinical staff whose focus is on the treatment and rehabilitation of patients with multiple sclerosis. We offer a comprehensive care approach that concentrates on understanding the symptoms and causes of multiple sclerosis in order to promote quality of life for patients and their families

Multiple Sclerosis Causes
It is still not understood what exactly causes multiple sclerosis, though there are a few possibilities under investigation. Some possible causes of multiple sclerosis include the following:

  • Viruses microscopic organisms consisting of genetic material (RNA or DNA) surrounded by a protein, lipid (fat), or glycoprotein coat
  • Autoimmune disorders – conditions which occur when the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy body tissue
  • Environmental factors – factors relating to the impact of environment
  • Genetic factors – factors relating to the impact of genetics

Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms
Symptoms of multiple sclerosis are erratic and may be mild or severe. It is common to have an attack followed by a period of recovery. These attacks are called exacerbations and remissions. Other times, symptoms are progressive and may appear in various combinations, depending on the area of the nervous system affected.

Initial symptoms of multiple sclerosis may include:

  • Blurred or double vision
  • Red-green color distortion
  • Pain and loss of vision due to optic neuritis (inflammation of the optic nerve)
  • Difficulty walking
  • Paresthesia (abnormal sensation or pain, such as numbness, prickling, or "pins and needles")

Other symptoms of multiple sclerosis may include any or all of the following:

  • Muscle weakness in the extremities
  • Difficulty with coordination – impaired walking or standing may result; partial or complete paralysis is possible
  • Spasticity – increased muscle tone leading to stiffness and spasms
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of sensation
  • Speech problems
  • Tremors
  • Dizziness
  • Hearing loss

Many people with multiple sclerosis experience cognitive impairments related to their disease. The effects of these impairments may be mild or severe and may include difficulty with any of the following:

  • Concentration
  • Attention
  • Memory
  • Judgment

To make an appointment at the Multiple Sclerosis Center:
Cushing Neuroscience Institute’s Multiple Sclerosis Center makes it easy for you to take the first steps in ensuring the best neurological and neurosurgical care for yourself or your family. Simply email us at or call us at (516) 393-8936 or 844-56Neuro (844-566-3876). You may also fill out our Request an Appointment form