Being diagnosed with MS is hard enough—but learning a whole new vocabulary to understand it can be even more overwhelming. Don't worry: we're here to help. Hover over the words in the heart to define MS symptoms and decode lingo patients sometimes use to describe their symptoms. Now you're one step closer to getting a better grasp on your MS.

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MS can make it difficult to remember things, pay attention or concentrate, process information, and find the words to speak fluently. According to the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation, cognitive problems affect about half of those with MS.

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For many people, vision problems are the first signs of MS. Inflammation of the optic nerve can cause blurred vision, eye pain, blind spots, and colors may appear dimmer than normal. Other common eye problems include double vision and involuntary eye movement.

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Refers to shooting pains. Also called:

  • brain dart
  • brain zap

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Refers to shooting pains. Also called:

  • Zinger
  • brain zap

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Refers to shooting pains. Also called:

  • Zinger
  • brain dart

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Chronic or acute pain is now considered a major MS symptom. Shooting pains are usually acute, meaning they come on suddenly and intensely, and then disappear. Lhermitte's sign is a type of shooting pain that originates in the back of the neck and often "shoots" down the spine, and sometimes out to the legs and arms. Many people describe the sensation as an electric shock.

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Describes weaving from side to side as you walk. When you have MS, sometimes your legs become wobbly, weak, and tired. You may lose control of them, causing you to "bounce" from one side of the hallway to another, like a pinball in a pinball machine.

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Describes feeling tired and as if you were drunk.

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Refers to stiffness in legs.

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Slurred speech are often caused by the loss of coordination of the tongue, lip, cheek, and mouth muscles. Along with slurred speech, people with MS may also have trouble speaking and swallowing.

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Describes when thoughts are cloudy and you can't think clearly. Everything seems surreal and fuzzy. Also called:

  • MS brain
  • cog fog
  • cotton brain

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Describes when thoughts are cloudy and you can't think clearly. Everything seems surreal and fuzzy. Also called:

  • brain fog
  • cog fog
  • cotton brain

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Describes when thoughts are cloudy and you can't think clearly. Everything seems surreal and fuzzy. Also called:

  • brain fog
  • MS brain
  • cotton brain

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Describes when thoughts are cloudy and you can't think clearly. Everything seems surreal and fuzzy. Also called:

  • brain fog
  • MS brain
  • cog fog

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Describes a constricting pressure around the chest or waist area. The pain level can range from annoying to extreme, and is often accompanied by a burning sensation. This feeling is caused by spasms of the muscles between your ribs. Also called:

  • MS girdle
  • Banding

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Spasticity is a common symptom of MS. It can occur in any area of the body, but usually affects the legs. Your muscles may simply feel tight, or it can be intensely painful. There are two types of spasticity:

  • flexor: affects the back of the leg (hamstrings) and the upper thigh (hip flexors)
  • extensor: affects the front of the upper thigh (quadriceps) and inside of the upper leg (abductors)

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Refers to spasticity, a common symptom of MS. It can occur in any area of the body, but usually affects the legs. Your muscles may simply feel tight, or it can be intensely painful.

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Describes twitching from spasticity.

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When legs aren't working correctly, like being drunk. Also referred to as "jelly legs."

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When legs aren't working correctly, like being drunk. Also referred to as "tipsy."

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Because MS affects the central nervous system, an overall “pins and needles” feeling is quite common. This sensation is generally felt in the limbs.

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One of the most common and prominent symptoms that, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, affects about 80 percent of people with MS.

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