What is multiple sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a lifelong condition that affects the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord).

MS affects different people in different ways. In any one person, the symptoms can vary from day to day. It is not fatal and most people with MS live about as long as everyone else.

There is a wide range of possible symptoms. Some of the most common for people who are newly diagnosed are fatigue (a kind of exhaustion), stumbling more than before, unusual feelings in the skin (such as pins and needles or numbness), slowed thinking or problems with eyesight.

Not everyone experiences all of them.

There are three main types of multiple sclerosis:

  • Relapsing remitting MS (RRMS)

  • Primary progressive MS (PPMS)

  • Secondary progressive MS (SPMS)


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Peripheral neuropathy is a term for a group of conditions in which the peripheral nervous system is damaged.

The peripheral nervous system is the network of nerves that lie outside the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord).

It includes different types of nerves with their own specific functions, including:

  • sensory nerves – responsible for transmitting sensations, such as pain and touch

  • motor nerves – responsible for controlling muscles

  • autonomic nerves – responsible for regulating automatic functions of the body, such as blood pressure and bladder function

Signs and symptoms

Damage to the peripheral nerves can cause a wide range of symptoms depending on the specific nerves affected.

In many cases, the condition first develops in the extremities of the body, such as the feet, hands, legs and arms.

The main symptoms of peripheral neuropathy can include:

  • numbness and tingling in the feet or hands

  • burning, stabbing or shooting pain in affected areas

  • loss of balance and co-ordination

  • muscle weakness, especially in the feet

These symptoms are usually constant, but may fluctuate.

Generally, the sooner peripheral neuropathy is diagnosed, the better the chance of limiting the damage and preventing further complications. It's therefore important to see a GP if you experience symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. 


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Parkinson's is a progressive neurological condition.

People with Parkinson's don't have enough of a chemical called dopamine because some nerve cells in their brain have died.

There's currently no cure for Parkinson's and we don't yet know why people get the condition.

Without dopamine people can find that their movements become slower so it takes longer to do things.

The loss of nerve cells in the brain causes the symptoms of Parkinson's to appear.

There's currently no cure for Parkinson's and we don't yet know why people get the condition.

Parkinson's doesn't directly cause people to die, but symptoms do get worse over time.


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Cerebral palsy is primarily a disorder of voluntary movement and co-ordination, due to a defect or lesion of the immature brain. It is an umbrella term covering a group of non-progressive, though not unchanging, motor impairment conditions, which range from multiple and profound to barely detectable. There are three main types:

  • Spastic cerebral palsy refers to increase muscle tone or hypertonia

  • Ataxic cerebral palsy refers to disordered movements characterised by short and jerky movements. Often muscle tone is normal or decreased

  • Dyskinetic cerebral palsy usually comprises slow writhing movements where muscle tone fluctuates between increased and decreased tone

Treatment is focussed on addressing individual needs. We believe that children with CP do best when they get special help from an early age. We will work together to maximise each childs’ potential for control, posture, function and mobility helping them to develop and grow into adults, able to live as independently as possible.



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The term facial palsy generally refers to weakness of the facial muscles, mainly resulting from temporary or permanent damage to the facial nerve.

When a facial nerve is either non-functioning or missing, the muscles in the face do not receive the necessary signals in order to function properly. This results in paralysis of the affected part of the face, which can affect movement of the eye(s) and/or the mouth, as well as other areas.

There are different degrees of facial paralysis: sometimes only the lower half of the face is affected, sometimes one whole side of the face is affected and in some cases both sides of the face are affected.

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Guillain-Barré (pronounced ghee-lan bar-ray) syndrome is a rare and serious condition of the peripheral nervous system. It occurs when the body's immune system attacks part of the nervous system.

The exact cause of Guillain-Barré syndrome is unknown. However, most people (around 60%) develop the condition shortly after having a viral or bacterial infection. It's thought infection may trigger the immune system to attack nerve roots and peripheral nerves.

Read more about causes of Guillain-Barré syndrome.

The symptoms of Guillain-Barré syndrome usually develop two to four weeks after a minor infection, such as a cold, sore throat or gastroenteritis (an infection of the stomach and bowel).

Symptoms often start in your feet and hands before spreading to your arms and then your legs. Initially, you may have:

  • pain, tingling and numbness

  • progressive muscle weakness

  • co-ordination problems and unsteadiness (you may be unable to walk unaided)

The weakness usually affects both sides of your body, and may get worse over several days.


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