Diagnosing multiple sclerosis is not always easy. The first symptoms can be vague and similar to other conditions that are not MS. 

MS is usually diagnosed after a doctor confirms that you have had a typical relapse or flare impacting your central nervous system. MS flares typically last days or weeks and may impact vision, sensation, balance or strength. Your doctor will examine you, ask questions about your symptoms and do some tests.

It’s our goal at the Ayer Neuroscience Institute Multiple Sclerosis Center to reach a diagnosis quickly to help minimize the effects of MS on your life as soon as possible.

Tests Available

Your doctor will determine which tests are right for you. We use several tests to diagnose MS, including:

  • A comprehensive neurological exam in the clinic, during which the provider looks for signs of impaired neurologic function.
  • MRI imaging is necessary to make the diagnosis because patches of damage, or lesions, caused by MS attacks can be seen with this test.
  • A spinal tap (or lumbar puncture) can assess the fluid circulating around your brain and spinal cord for elevated disease markers of MS or other conditions.
  • Blood tests to check for autoimmune markers, infection and other disease mimickers.
  • Eye exams to look for evidence of damage to the optic nerves. You will be referred to an ophthalmologist for these tests.

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