Healthy Living

Why Exactly Does Heat Trigger Pain in Multiple Sclerosis Patients?

There are many ways to manage heat sensitivity

The good news is that worsening of MS symptoms due to heat sensitivity is a temporary phenomenon and heat generally does not cause any permanent damage or accelerate the demyelination process in MS. However, it can be severe enough that it restricts activities. While most people with MS can figure out their sensitivity to heat and they are aware of the fact that their symptoms get worse with elevated temperatures, others may require guidance.

So, how can you ease your MS symptoms, all while staying comfortable and cool?

  • Avoid extremely hot or humid environments, as well as exposure to direct sunlight
  • Avoid exercising outdoors on hot and humid days
  • Enjoy plenty of cold beverages, such as ice water or iced tea, on hot days
  • Make good use of air-conditioning or fans (tip: the cost of your home air-conditioning unit may be tax-deductible if your doctor deems it medically necessary)
  • Make good use of cooling products such as cooling vests and neck wraps (tip: The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America has a Cooling Distribution Program to get such products to you if you need them but cannot afford them)
  • Take cool baths or showers (tip: experiment with how cool of a bath or shower you can endure and how much it helps you – you may be surprised by the results)
  • Install misting fans around your patio or porch
  • Watch heat from appliances such as the oven, dishwasher or hairdryer
  • Cool off in a pool (tip: Pools with a water temperature lower than 85 degrees Fahrenheit are the perfect places for exercising or simply relaxing)
  • Wear lightweight and loose clothing during warmer seasons
  • Plan ahead to reduce the risk of overheating