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How can numbness from multiple sclerosis (MS) affect my sense of balance?

One form of numbness is the loss of position sense, or what we call proprioception. Normal proprioception is important for maintaining balance and coordination. If a person cannot tell that they are tilting in one direction or the other, they tend to walk like they are a little tipsy. There is also a higher risk of falling. This type of sensory loss is best treated by a physical therapist.

In severe cases, numbness can interfere with a person's ability to function normally. Caution is required for the individual to maintain safety and independence. For example, individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) who have severe facial numbness must be careful when eating or chewing in order to avoid biting their mouth and /or tongue. They must exercise caution with temperature of food and drink to avoid burning their mouth. In addition, those who experience numbness in their arms and legs should be especially careful around fire, hot water, and other sources of heat to avoid being burned.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.