Reassess your MS | Ask Alia

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When you live with multiple sclerosis (MS), every symptom tells a story. But when you’re busy with the day-to-day, you don’t always have time to read the signs.

MS can change over time. That’s why it’s important to pause for a moment and reassess your MS. If you notice changes in your symptoms, don’t keep them to yourself. Talk to your neurologist or MS team.

It’s not always easy to assess changes in your MS. Use the interactive assessment tool to help you keep track.


Know the phases of MS 

MS is different for everyone. But for most people it starts with a diagnosis of relapsing remitting MS. Over time MS can change. Some patients can enter a different phase of MS, called secondary progressive MS (SPMS).

Relapsing remitting vs secondary progressive MS

Relapsing remitting MS (RRMS) is the most common form of MS. Around 85% of people are diagnosed with RRMS, usually in their 20s to 40s. If you have RRMS, there are times when you experience a sudden onset of symptoms (relapses), followed by periods of partial or complete recovery (remission).

Secondary progressive MS (SPMS) is a different phase of MS. After you’ve lived with RRMS for a number of years you may notice that the frequency of relapses decreases or even stops altogether, but the level of disability continues to increase over time. This may start to interfere with your day-to-day activities.

Many people with RRMS may go on to develop SPMS. The changes associated with this progression happen gradually. Left unchecked, it can lead to more noticeable symptoms and increased disability. Which is why it’s so important to reassess your MS and talk to your specialist team.


Identifying changes in your MS

Early detection is essential to managing SPMS. Keep a diary of any changes you feel and refer to this when completing the interactive assessment tool. Use your regular reviews to discuss these changes with your specialist team. This helps to determine whether changes are associated with SPMS. Identifying change and working with your specialist team will help you recognise and manage changes earlier.

So how do you know if your MS is changing?

Think back to how you felt 6 months ago.
Compare this to how you feel today.

Are some activities more  of a challenge now?
Are symptoms lingering between relapses but relapses are less often?
Have any symptoms  changed or worsened?
Are you experiencing  new symptoms?

Recognising the signs

Cognitive changes


Difficulty finding words 
or trouble speaking




Trouble thinking 
quickly or clearly

Physical changes    


Difficulty with movement, 
balance and walking


Bladder and 
bowel problems


Fatigue and feeling 
extremely tired


Sexual problems such as erectile
dysfunction, vaginal dryness
or decreased sensation


Talking to your MS specialist team

If you’ve noticed changes in these or any other symptoms, it’s important to talk to your specialist team. Even if the changes seem small, they can help your neurologist assess whether your MS is transitioning into a new phase. 

To help you reassess your MS, use the interactive assessment tool below. Sometimes it can be helpful to complete it with someone who knows you well, as they may offer a different perspective.

Once you’ve completed the assessment, take it with you to your next appointment and use it during the conversation with your neurologist and/or MS nurse.


My MS team

Your neurologist and MS healthcare team are an essential part of your support network. Community organisations, such as state-based MS societies, can also provide a range of information, advice and services to help you manage your MS.



MS Organisations

Search for support and 
services near you.




Discover how the NDIS 
can help you


MS Podcasts - COVID Vaccinations

Listen to the podcast by Multiple Sclerosis Limited to find out more about living with MS and COVID vaccinations on your mobile, tablet or desktop now