Diagnosis of multiple sclerosis 

Multiple sclerosis (MS) can be hard to diagnose because some of the symptoms are similar to those of other conditions.

Consultant neurologists specialise in the brain and nervous system. Only a consultant neurologist can diagnose MS, after carefully assessing your symptoms or circumstances. Even if you have had an MRI scan that suggests you have MS, you still need to see a consultant neurologist who will look at the results of all of your tests before making a diagnosis.

If your symptoms and circumstances don't match the criteria for how MS usually appears over a specific period of time, but your consultant neurologist still thinks MS is a possibility, they will plan a review appointment. They will tell you when the appointment will take place and who to contact if your symptoms get worse or you get any new symptoms in the meantime.

If it's possible that you have MS, you will also be given information about support groups and national charities.

Questions you might want to ask your neurologist include:

  • Can you tell me more about the tests you've offered me?

  • What do these tests involve and what will they tell us?

  • Where will these be carried out? Will I need to have them in hospital?

  • How long will I have to wait until I have these tests?

  • How long will it take to get the results of these tests?

  • What happens if the results of the tests are normal?