- New symptoms appear or old symptoms get worse
- Symptoms last for at least 24 hours
- At least 30 days has gone by since your last relapse symptoms
- There must be no other reason for the symptoms, such as stress, heat or an infection.
A relapse or MS attack can include new symptoms occurring quite rapidly, or a slower but noticeable change over a few days’ progression. You may also experience new symptoms, along with a worsening of your existing symptoms. If you are concerned, it is always better to check in with your health care team.
Relapses have varying degrees of recovery depending on several factors. It’s good to talk these factors through with your health care team so you can have some idea what to expect. It does take time in most cases, as the inflammation settles down and you return to your baseline, or new baseline.
When experiencing a relapse or flare up, it’s natural to feel a range of emotions, such as uncertainty, fear and confusion. You can take steps to manage relapses and plan for them, so they have less of an impact on your life and your wellbeing.
Signs it may not be a relapse
Symptoms may get worse for other reasons; this is called a pseudo relapse. The reasons can include:
- heat or cold
- long periods of inactivity or lack of exercise.