Autoimmune disorders

Information, Symptoms, Treatments and Resources


What Is Multiple Sclerosis?

The Four Courses of MS

The Four Courses of MS

Over 80 percent of people with MS are diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS). People with RRMS have acute attacks of symptoms (termed “relapses”), followed by symptom-free recovery periods (termed “remission”). Relapses and remission can last anywhere from days to months.

Some people with RRMS eventually develop secondary-progressive MS (SPMS). People with SPMS still have relapses and remission, but they are not symptom-free during their recovery periods. Disability during remission gets worse with each relapse; eventually, progressively worsening disability replaces the cycles of relapse and remission.

15 percent of people with MS have primary-progressive MS (PPMS), meaning they have symptoms that get worse at a slow but steady rate, and do not experience relapses.

By Jen Matz. Published March 26, 2013. Jenilee Matz is a medical writer, health educator, and triathlete based in Charlotte, NC.