Tests & Treatments:

Tests for MS

Diagnosing MS is complicated because no single test can positively diagnose it and other possible causes of your symptoms may need to be ruled out first. This is unfortunately why for some people, the diagnosis process is so long and complicated.If the GP thinks you could have MS you should be sent for some tests and also to see a neurologist for an assessment. Some of the tests you may be sent for include: a neurological examination, MRI scan, evoked potential test, blood tests and (sometimes but not always) a lumbar puncture.Going through a diagnosis, or being recently diagnosed with MS can feel overwhelming, scary and life-changing, but the first thing to remember is that there's a whole community of people here to help. Make sure you visit our ‘MS in the real world’ page to read blogs by people like you, going through similar things that you are!


There's currently no cure for MS, but treatments can help control the condition and ease some of the symptoms. Treatment for MS depends on the stage of the disease and the specific symptoms you have.

Treatments for relapses.

Treatment for a relapse usually involves either:

  • a 5-day course of steroid tablets taken at home
  • injections of steroid medicine given in hospital for 3 to 5 days

Steroids can help speed up your recovery from a relapse, but they don’t prevent further relapses or stop MS getting worse over time.

Treatments for symptoms

MS can cause a range of symptoms that can be treated individually. Here are a few examples of treatment available:

  • Fatigue – you may be prescribed a medicine called amantadine for fatigue caused by MS. You could also be put forward for fatigue management courses or therapy, such as CBT which may help.
  • Muscle spasms and stiffness – you may be sent to physiotherapy, or if your muscle spasms are more severe, you may be prescribed a medicine that can relax your muscles.

Treatments to reduce relapses and/or delay progression

Although MS can’t be cured, there are medicines that can help people have fewer and less severe relapses. These are called disease-modifying therapies (DMTs).
DMTs are taken either as pills, injections or infusions. They aim to avoid the formation of new inflammatory lesions in the central nervous system and they may also help to slow worsening disability in MS, although definitive research into their long term benefits is ongoing.
You can find further information about disease-modifying therapies on the following websites:

MS Society: Disease modifying therapies

MS Trust: Disease-modifying drugs

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are key to helping MS treatments advance.All clinical trials in the UK are carefully overseen to ensure they're worthwhile and safely conducted.Speak to your care team if you're interested in taking part in a clinical trial.

For more information, see below:

Clinical trials

MS Society: take part in MS research

About MS & Types