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4 Ways to Reduce Your MS Numbness

By Daryl H. Bryant (749 words)
Posted in Living with MS on February 5, 2015

There are (19) comments permalink

4 Ways to Reduce Your MS Numbness

Numbness is one of the most common symptoms those with MS experience. The numbness can manifest in a myriad of ways. Some will experience a tingling of pins and needles across their body, others may feel burning sensations, and still others may lose complete sensation of one or more parts of their body.

There is no way to predict how numbness will affect you, and there is no treatment proven to eliminate the numbness completely. However, there are many ways you can cope with and reduce your numbness. The following approaches can help you reduce your MS numbness, restore sensation, and may even reduce the likelihood of your numbing symptoms flaring up again.


Acupuncture is a very popular, holistic approach to chronic pain and numbness. Many often seek acupuncture to reduce migraines, anxiety, and arthritis pain. For those with MS, acupuncture is a popular alternative therapy for MS patients, because it can restore sensation to the specific areas of numbness. This is because acupuncture stimulates circulation and influences the behavior of the brain’s neurotransmitters through its use of specifically placed needles. This is especially important for those with MS.

While MS causes neurotransmitters to misfire and miscommunicate, acupuncture can return normal communication between the nervous system and the rest of the body and restore sensation to the affected areas.  While the effects of acupuncture are rarely long term, continued visits and proper discussion between you, your doctor, and your acupuncturist can provide much needed relief.

Hot and Cold

Quick changes in temperature, when focused on the particular area of numbness, can provide quick relief, especially among those who experience the burning numbness or the tingling of cold numbness.

For those with Dyesthesia, or burning numbness, applying cold packs or submerging the body part in cold water can greatly relieve the sensation for a period of time. Even cold hardwood or tiled floors can provide relief for burning feet, so consider walking barefoot along these types of surfaces if you are experiencing this kind of numbness.

For those with Paresthesia, or tingling numbness, warming packs are great for reducing symptoms. You can purchase heating wraps that can be heated in the microwave. They are made of beads that retain the heat and can be worn across the feet, along the shoulders, on the back, or wherever you are experiencing numbness.

Modify Your Diet

Sometimes your symptoms are caused by an outlier that is affecting your nervous system, causing them to manifest in a numbing sensation across a certain part of your body. Often, this outlier is in your diet. Many patients with MS pinpoint wheat gluten as a cause to many of their symptom outbreaks, and once they remove it from their diets, they notice a drastic decrease in their symptoms. Eating gluten-free and anti-inflammatory foods can help you better manage your MS symptoms.

Try eliminating key ingredients from your daily meal plans, like gluten, dairy, and sugar, and note if there are any changes in your symptoms. It is important to make these changes slowly, removing one ingredient at a time. This will not only help you narrow down the possible influences over your symptoms, but it will also reduce the stress on your body. Dietary changes can throw off the balance of your body and cause new symptom outbreaks, so discuss with your doctor the best way to approach a new diet and implement it healthily.

Prescription Drugs

Finally, there are medications on the market that your physician can prescribe to reduce your MS numbness. Many of these medications focus on the vitamin deficiencies that can influence outbreaks, especially vitamin B12. You will need to discuss these side effects with your doctor and communicate your specific needs before you pursue a prescription.

In conclusion

Unfortunately, there is no outright cure for MS or for its symptoms. Although numbness rarely affects large areas of the body and is usually minimal in its discomforts, there are still many ways you can approach your MS numbness and reduce it significantly. Holistic approaches like acupuncture or simple changes to your diet can have amazing results. Additionally, if you are among the small population of patients who experience severe MS numbness, prescription drugs can greatly reduce your symptoms.

However, finding the right approach is entirely up to you. Talk with your doctor and others in the MS community in order to find the approach that’s right for you. Only you know how your body will respond to certain behaviors, and this is important when deciding how you will reduce your MS numbness. 

Comments (19)

Dorothy Brown posted on: February 5, 2015

was so excited to see an article about numbness, and then so disappointed. Acupuncture, maybe, but the numbness assoc with MS hasn't been linked to eating gluten free or lack of B12(which may lead to each other as a good lot of B12 is in grains). Encouraging people to eat the much more expensive gluten free diet for no real reason is irresponsible, and so few of us are deficient in B12 that's also out of normal advice.
It's important not to give bad advice in a format like this. Please check your science.

Daryl posted on: February 6, 2015

Dorothy, thank you for your note but I respectfully disagree with your statement. There has been significant evidence to show that a diet that is free of dairy, gluten, legumes, and other grains can help to alleviate symptoms associated with MS. Increased B12 and actually D3 is also shown to add value for MS patients when managing their symptoms. I myself have eliminated my symptoms from eating a Paleo-based diet and increasing my B12 and D3 intake every day. To me, the increased cost to eat a cleaner diet that helps my symptoms, far out ways the negative effects i was having when not on this type of diet. This has been my experience and what I am sharing to the world.

Dee Rush posted on: February 7, 2015

I have been eating gluten free for only three weeks, I also eat very little sugar and dairy. I have already noticed a big differents in not having the inflamation in my body! My muscles feel better, not as stiff! I have more energy and a much clearer mind set! It may noy be for everyone but it has helped me! I am going to get stem cells and this is what they suggest to stop putting in your body!I had 8 of the 9 sympoms of gluten intolerants, 1 in less then 10 people have it!

Mirelle posted on: February 7, 2015

Thank you, Daryl. Indeed, B12 can be taken way over what blood results show as "normal" and does help very much, plus getting that wonderful Vit D. I highly recommend OMS diet/lifestyle as it has been miraculous for me. A big step was deleting dairy from my diet and decreasing saturated fats. Noticed results within two weeks of cutting out dairy (but, oh, do I still crave cheese). Good luck with your journey, Daryl.

Daryl posted on: February 9, 2015

Dee and Mirelle. I'm so happy to hear that you both have found a diet that works for you and your MS. I appreciate sharing :) Best of luck to you both on your journey.

kim posted on: February 15, 2015

I also avoid sugar dairy and gluten and it must be somewhat beneficial as I'm able to exercise 6 days week, 90 minutes a day. My question is what are good protein replacements? I eat quinoa for lunch and lentils at dinner. I don't eat any animal products either as recommended by my nutrionist who is a proponent of the China Study. Thank you for your always positive and upbeat posts!

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