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Leg and Hip Pain Associated with Multiple Sclerosis

written by: R. Elizabeth C. Kitchen • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 5/26/2009

This article discusses the two main types of leg and hip associated with multiple sclerosis. It describes the pain and also discusses how to cope with the pain.

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    Multiple sclerosis can cause two major types of pain in the hips and legs. The musculoskeletal pain can affect the entire body, but the hips and legs seem to be affected most often. Chronic neurogenic pain is the most common type of pain in multiple sclerosis patients and typically occurs in the legs.

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    Musculoskeletal Pain

    This type of pain is due to imbalance, spasticity and muscle weakness caused by multiple sclerosis. This type of leg and hip pain is quite common in multiple sclerosis patients and musculoskeletal pain most commonly affects the legs, hips and arms. This type of pain often results from limited use and immobility. When a muscle is not being used or is rarely used, the muscle becomes stiff, wasted and inflexible.

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    Coping with and Preventing Musculoskeletal Leg and Hip Pain

    Exercise is invaluable to multiple sclerosis patients. Without exercise the pain and causes of the pain will get worse and could lead to complete immobility. When a patient's movement is heavily restricted due to multiple sclerosis it is even more important to get moving. The patient will need to work twice as hard to maintain their mobility. Multiple sclerosis patients need to perform a variety of exercises to stay as mobile and pain free as possible. They will need to perform cardiovascular exercise, strength training exercises and flexibility exercises regularly. Stretching can also be used as a leg and hip pain relief method. If their legs or hips are particularly stiff, stretching the associated muscles can help to relieve stiffness and spasticity.

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    Chronic Neurogenic Pain

    This is the most common type of pain that affects multiple sclerosis patients. It typically occurs in the legs and can affect the hips as well. Paraesthesias can include pressure, pins and needles, increased sensitivity to touch, tingling, burning and shivering. This type of pain is typically described as intensely tingling, constant, burning and boring. The leg and hip pain is often described as aching, numb, throbbing, tightness, stabbing, tingling, gnawing and shooting. This type of pain can also be described as girdling or crushing.

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    Coping with and Preventing Chronic Neurogenic Leg and Hip Pain

    Multiple sclerosis patients often struggle with endurance so sufficient amounts of cardiovascular exercise can be difficult to obtain. It is important that they perform cardiovascular exercise as often as possible. Even walking on a treadmill for ten minutes, two to three times a day will help greatly in reducing their pain and the causes of their pain. It is especially important to stretch regularly and thoroughly to help alleviate flexor spasms. Strength training is also important and can help to decrease spasticity. All exercise can help to alleviate leg and hip pain and soreness as well as help to alleviate the cause.

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    Resources

    Unknown. (2004). Multiple Sclerosis. Retrieved on May 23, 2009 from Website: http://www.arthritis-treatment-and-relief.com/intractable-hip-and-leg-pain.html