Numbness of the face, body or extremities (arms and legs) is one of the most common symptoms of MS. Often it’s the first symptom experienced by those eventually diagnosed with MS. The numbness may be mild or so severe that it interferes with the ability to use the affected body part. For example, a person with very numb feet may have difficulty walking. Numb hands may prevent writing, dressing, or holding objects safely.
People with MS who have severe facial numbness should be very careful when eating or chewing, as they may unwittingly bite the inside of their mouth or tongue. People with numbness over other parts of the body should be careful around fires, hot water and other sources of heat, as they may suffer a burn without realizing it.
There are no medications to relieve numbness. Fortunately, however, most instances of numbness are not disabling, and tend to remit on their own. In very severe cases, a neurologist may prescribe a brief course of corticosteroids, which often can temporarily restore sensation.