A major medical journal (see reference below) recently published the findings of a researcher who concluded that STRESS is not linked to increased MS risk.  Whew! Can you believe it?

Just when you know that you’re on the right track to turn your life around, there is always someone trying to throw you off the track.


 Neurology. 2011 May 31;76(22):1866-71.

Stress and the risk of multiple sclerosis.

Riise T, Mohr DC, Munger KL, Rich-Edwards JW, Kawachi I, Ascherio A.

To Your Better Health,

Dr. Rudy Cartwright

PS: Let me reaaaaaaaally hear from you.  Post your comments below.

93 thoughts on “STRESS AND MS

  1. Even after a long stressful work week…I will have a terrible 3 day weekend where my symptoms are so bad and all I can do is rest. Once I’ve decompressed…the symptoms back off and things get better. Science is wonderful but they’ve got this data all wrong.

  2. I must say that the person who wrote that particular article clearly has minimal knowledge about MS, period.

  3. This is such crap. I’d like to see some of these Dr.s deal with increased stress and MS. And can we get some of this research money to help find a CURE?! The drug treatments provided by Neurological doctors are pitiful as HEALING medicines and apparently are enough for these Dr.s to assuage their sense of guilt about not having a clue as to how CURE this disease. If anyone has comments that might help, please send them to -Thanks everyone.

  4. It may be that these bogus findings and research are funded by the drug companies and the pharmaceutical industry, who thrive on illness.
    The sicker the population, the more money they make. They make money from the disease modifying drugs and then again from the side-effect modifying drugs.

    If they can make a statement like “There is no connection between stress and MS”, then their only other solution would be to take the drugs they make, which cost an arm and a leg and a trip to the moon. In the process, they trillions in profits.

    They want us to spend on their drugs rather than lead a disease free life. A sick population is just a dollar sign to them.

    I can not think of what other motive they would have to say that there is no connection between stress and MS symptoms. It really is a bogus statement.

    I would be willing to bet that not one of these researchers has MS. We live with MS and we know the harm stress does to us.

    Much love,

  5. My Mom died in 2003. My Dad died in 2004. I was executrix of the estate as I am an accountant. There was a will dividing everything equally between my two brothers and me. My younger brother stole everything he could, upsetting and hurting me terribly. The STRESS from this knocked me on my butt! I have not walked unassisted or been without extremely bad pain since.
    My family and I maintain strict boundaries as far as my younger brother is concerned. We have cut our losses but maintain our love and contact with this brother.

  6. I thought that professional journals, etc, are supposed to checked their sources – the researcher that wrote that Stress is not linked to MS, has obviously never consulted a person with MS – how is that research? Thank God we’ve got Dr C and Sue Ellen – they live in the real world…

  7. I think doctors gave up…soon after reading M.S – NO CURE..
    They dont have to look for anything new because THEY ARE DOCTORS or worse
    SPECIALISTS, and we have something un curable.
    I’m 38 & have 3 children under 6, I can’t excercis, but I will keep moving
    forward. With prayer & hope & a lot of love around me. The Cure is getting closer.!

  8. I don’t believe that there is no relation between stress and increased sysmtoms of MS,,,,,,. The ratio between both is direct proportional.

  9. On my last neurologist visit in early March I mentioned to my consultant about stress being a trigger and she said that “not everyone’s MS is linked to stress” and that, in my view, was another stupid and ill-conceived comment by a health professional. nShe failed to notice that, until I had mentioned it, there and then, she was unaware that it was a trigeer for me – so how on earth can she say that it’s not the same for everyone. Where is she getting her information from – certainly not from her patients. She’s one of those, all too common, doctors who only react to research papers and other documentation whilst calling patient’s evidence “anecdotal. she, and others like her, are holding back MS research and treatment by their blinkered approach to medicine. I knew I had MS two days after my walking went berserk but it took them 8 years to get to a diagnosis. I’ve had the liberation treatment and have never felt better but according to my consultant it’s “anecdotal” or, just a story.

  10. Thank you, I gonne try to take medication for stress, and see or I will get better. Because I have a tressful day, every day.

    Thank you doctor Cartwright for sending me this feedback. I will let you know, how it goes

  11. Thank you for your most helpful information it great to get your help everyone knows there own body and I know if i am under any amount of stress my M.S. is worse so I try as much as possible to keep stress out of my life thanks again for your wonderful information

    Patricia McCarthy

  12. Yes, someone asked if there are any marathon runners out there with ms.
    Yes, my husband – was a marathon runner ran lot of marathons and trained
    hard and certainly did not eat very healthy. Allways ran before eating and then was not hungry. I am 100% certain this was the cause of his MS – PPMS.

  13. Hi, yes strss is not a good thing. Between Neurofibromatosis, 2 Bouts of Kawasaki disease, 3 fratures and 20 operations just between my three kids i would say stress has been a pretty big player in my life.Diagnosed at 47 – god knows how long I have had it for


    • Hi’ paulete
      I have M.S i have lived with it for over 40years now been excising and Kept thinking positive waiting for a cure I had stress from a neighbou Which made me weak and I was very bad so I would not let it beat me So I got my wheel chair and walked behind it my walking got stronger Then got stress again and lost my home so that put me back so know I have read some of your notes from some M.S. suffers who have got On there feet which is great I take evening primrose and supplement For years kept me on my feet hoping to walk one day I have osteoporosis As well which is a bum o’well you can’t win them all I am on a zimmer
      Frame nice talking to you
      My email susan.buckle1@ntlworld.comp

  15. Yes stress is definetly a part of MS. I cannot explain how or why, I just know that it is. 18 years ago I had my 1st symptom (a numb area about the size of my hand on my thigh)after the NATURAL birth of my son. Talk about stress! Well, today, I use a wheelchair and am numb from the chest down. If I get stressed it really takes a toll on me. So I attempt to decrease stress when I can. I am a Christian and the Bible teaches many things about how we should think and act and be at peace. In my life, things go much better when I choose peace. I am finally learning to simply state my case and then not worry if the person I am talking to agrees with me or not. We are powerless to change others anyway.

  16. Folks, this is a different sort of a study. They looked at people who were subjected to severe stress at home or abuse in childhood vs. the ones that were not, and checked how many of them developed MS later in life. With the current design, the negative answer is kind of to be expected, since MS is a multifactorial disease.
    Yet, as pretty much all of you suggest, if they were to analyze people who have MS, they would have found a pretty much close to a 100% association between MS exacerbations and stressful events. Also, many patients would report a superimposition of stress and viral disease (cold, cold sores, etc) linked to an initial attack.
    So, all is about asking your questions right. The correct answer from this one – if you were abused, sexually abused or neglected as a child, you are not very likely to get MS later in life. Or, sexual abuse in childhood does not give you MS later in life.

  17. At the risk of being the unpopular voice in this matter, I am posting because I feel there is something vital to consider here.

    STRESS does NOT kill! It is our inability to navigate the effects of stress that generate illness in the body. ALL people experience stress. There are people who have MS who have very little in the way of stresses who are devastated by the symptoms of MS. And there are also people who have WAY more stress than someone experiencing MS symptoms who feel great and do not even catch a sniffle.

    We are all individuals and need to learn to navigate our own bodies. Stress is a killer when we do not know how to navigate it. If we are not flexible enough, we will suffer for it. At one point, I was unable to handle even the slightest stress, but I got serious about taking care of my immediate needs and now my energy is abundant. I observe carefully what I need to function optimally and I ask for help when I need it. These last two points are vital reminders on Dr Cartwright’s 5 deadly mistakes email.

    This guy’s reports are fantastic. I was happy to read these vital tips and to be led to this page. For help with MS, this is a great resource!

  18. Please Help!!!!!!!! Lot of pain. My right side is efected. Walk but slow, and my big muscles in my hand is okay, but my small muscles is hopeless.
    What is the best food to eat?
    Which supliments and vitamins?
    What Medicine do you recomend, so I can ask my doctor for it, becauce we have no
    medical aid.
    Thank you Dr. Rudy Cartwright

  19. i’ve been thru it all, lost vision, hering cold and heat intolerance. i have been in and out of an electric whelchair for 12 years.

    yes, stress plays role, but nothing like allergies, stress in itelf is an allergy. believe it or not allegies ARE A FACTOR.

    i have 4,000 hours of research. no chit cha, no message boards, no im, just library of congress was my first big break and my best source of of findings. from research buried so deep in the us and research that has been totally disregarded from germany, brittain, japan, etc. WHY ? because there’s no money in what cannot be patent.

    angry, you bet i am. every doctor covering each other’s back. too afraid of the fda to stand together as a powerful force of mds for what is right. doctors don’t think for themselves, the FDA and drug companies think for them compromising their integrity.

    found cure for my cold disability that left me like a tree. germany/japan found squalene warmed the ms patients.

  20. I just found Dr Cartwrights newsletter site and am excited! I was diagnosed in 2001 a week before my 50th birthday!! Happy Birthday to me!! But my Dr was ver upbeat with me and impressed upon me the positive outlook by being diagnosed now and not years ago before there was medication. When I told my daughter, who had gone with me, my comment was “Yeah I have MS but I am so lucky because now they have medicine to help”. My neurologist said I probably had MS in my 20’s or 30’s. I started doing yoga in my 20’s and did it daily for 20+ years. But life changed and I didn’t have time anymore. I am now 60, I drive a semi-truck with my husband cross-country, I take Avonex every Sun. morning ( yeah I hate feeling like a pin cushion, but I figure everytime I stick myself I’m sticking it to MS). I take two Advil and my husband makes sure I don’t over do it that day. Sometimes he drives part of my shift so I can rest. I do occaisionally have fatigue, but I am never sure it is MS or just being 60 yrs old. I have two rules 1. If I can’t fix it or change it, I don’t worry about it. 2. If the world ends tomorrow, who’s going to know my house is dirty, (or whatever it is that I think I need to do). I also believe God is in control and I let Him take care of everything. It really is easy to do. All I care about is taking care of myself so I can enjoy my family. We have 5 grandchildren and they are our pride and joy. If stress enters my life, I talk to my husband about it. Sometimes I do get stressed, but I don’t let it control me, I try to control it. Is my life perfect? Not at all. I had to stay home 9 months to take care of a 3yr old grandson because my step-daughter had him taken away by family services because she was on Meth. It was a very stressful time, but I knew I couldn’t let it control me, so I told God and He helped me. Life is what we make it. Don’t let it make you. God Bless everyone out there, you are in my prayers. Thanks Dr. for all your help and good advice. I don’t listen to those who minimize MS patients and our symptoms. They’re idiots!!!!! Stay strong!

  21. I feel I am one of the lucky ones with MS. My 1st bout, took my sight. Wore a black patch. No one had any of the fancy machines of today, so I had the spinal tap and no show, of anything. 2 little boys at home, with a very unstable marriage. I kept trying my best to hold my on. the brains at the hospital told me to go home and rest for a while, call us in a couple of weeks.
    Well in a couple of weeks divorce papers had be filed and I was on my way back home, driving a UHaul with two very young beautiful boys, god love’em.
    So to say that stress had nothing to do with it, or confusion in the brain, lack of sleep poor diet would not have anything to do with it seems a little “rose color classes”
    The next time it HIT I had been painting the kitchen, in August, 10 ft. up. and as you can emagine it was hot and I had never sweat so much. Approximately, 3 months later my eyes began to go sideways. I laid in bed for approx. 6 weeks waiting to see again. During this time my opthamologist diagnosed me we MS.I would love to do something, I need help, to start and help to stay. could you give me a counselor in ohio that may think the best way for me. thank you

  22. Hello and thank-you for your article–it’s been a great support!–progression is in baby steps! I’m curious, how does the ldn therapy fit into your philosophy?

  23. I don’t know if stress caused my MS but I can definately say that high loivels of stress DO impact the effects and progression of my MS! Two months ago my husband deserted me to go long-hall trucking and is no longer sending any money home to pay the household bills and I am really struggling on my only income SSD. Since my husband left home my MS has worsened in many ways and has been on a steady downhill track. Prior to this recent crises my MS was stable and my symptoms were under control-not anymore. STRESS IS DEFINATELY AGRIVATING TO MS!

  24. Stress is what I believe brought on my onset with MS. I just had my 1st bout at 50. My son graduated HS, I was interviewing for a new job, Had family at the house for the 1st time and all of this happened at once. When they all left and everything was done I was sitting in a hospital bed taking Hormones and diagnosed with MS. When I get stressed my hands and fingers tingle more…. Yes Stress is a big factor and needs to be in control with MS or anyone.

  25. To all MS Patients,
    thank you for sharing your feelings and opinions.
    I do believe that stress is related to MS. I personally get myself all worked up especially when surrounded by people when I am entrtaining or at school meetings. I tend to feel uncomfortable. I am always told to relax and be positive. I try but it is very difficultI get a lot of spasms and go stiff.
    Dr Cartwright appreciate you keeping us always posted and thank you for your hard work.
    God Bless

  26. My diagnosis of MS was discoverd in the hospital in 1997 after a broken neck/spinal cord injury sent me into surgery for 6 hours to repair the damage..I never knew anything about MS…and no one in my family to my knowledge had it…However,records surfaced from an old Health plan I had that my eye exam in 1985 showed optic neuritis in one eye?I was never told what it was except that I had a stigmatism! So I wore reading glasses only & tha holds true today. Ultimately I temporarily lost sight in that eye after the trauma of the surgery for four months and then again for two weeks a few months later..To date it has not happened since..I have been very fortunate in the recovery from that terrible surgery..even though it has left me with weakness in my legs..I do everything I did before just a bit slower.Walking for great distances is often difficult and it is also emotionally difficult because I was a runner before the accident. But I am grateful that I was able to walk out of the hosptal to begin with because I came within an hour of paralysis…The neurolgist told me that had I not been hurt I possibly would never have known that I had MS.I have 9 lesions but that has not changed in years. I take very good care of my health and I constantly exercise, every single day but to a much lesser degree because of a few limitations with my legs and spine. I am also very careful with all my nutritonal habits more so than anyone I know..I dont even think about the MS very often..because the risidual neurological damage that I was left with is from the surgery and I feel it is more relative to any pain I may have..I have literally no symptoms of the MS except occasional fatigue so I truly believe I am one of the fortunate ones…But when and if I am stressed for any length of time…I do become very lethargic…and tire easily..I have also experinced a few times of stress..that my eye becomes a bit sore or just very tender..That can certainly bring on a bit of pain and the possiblity of disturbing my sight once again… Therefore, I truly believe that stress definitely is a factor in dealing with MS.

  27. I was diagnosed with secondary progressive MS in 1990.
    I developed certain symptoms 12years before that in 1978 but the. neurologists and doctors didn’t know what was causeing the numbness in my arms and finally in my legs.
    It was only when I was put through the MRI scanner that they confirmed that it was MS

    From 1972-1978 I went through a very stressful time.
    I myself believe that it was this stress that triggered my MS.

  28. Stress is definately the trigger for my MS. I was very stressed at work in 2008 when I had optic neuritis and once again this year very stressed at work and had first relapse.

  29. Seriously… goes without saying that MS as well as many other diseases are adversely affected by stress. Whoever these researchers are really need to talk to more of us that have it!

  30. Stress causes MS My husband is bipolar
    And he has destroyed me with his verbal abuse
    Laughter has been my only true medicine
    I get NO support from him just stress
    When he’s gone and it’s just my 3 kids and I
    Life is great. So tell the medical journal they are WRONG
    Stress is a Killer

  31. Like many of you I know for certain that stress triggers my MS symptoms. I was diagnosed in Feb 2010 and I’ve had 4 debilitating exacerbations. The debilitating symptoms range from severe numbness, dizziness, painful head and body aches, and fatigue as well as lack of memory, concentration, and attention. Each one coincides with a devestaing event in my life. I avoid stress at all costs. Minor daily stress from traffic, work, or personal problems causes me to be dizzy, trembly, and tired. So there’s not a single doubt in my mind that stress is a major factor when it comes to my symptoms. I’ve found that exercising daily, eating well, getting lots of sleep help. But the most important thing is to stay calm and take big deep breaths.

  32. thank you for all your comments. I agree stress definately is a trigger. I see how my symptoms flare up whenever I experience a stressful situation. When all in life is ok my MS is more controlled…

  33. My former neurologist Thought he was helping me by telling my then boyfriend that I needed to be in a low stress environment & that my life depended on it,WRONG thing to do because my life became nothing but endless stress & I’m in a wheelchair today because of it but am working to get out of it

  34. I do believe that stressful events can set off an exacerbation. It may
    even cause the onset of MS. We don’t need anyone to confirm that. Iagree
    with the person who said stress is just part of life, MS or not. So true!
    I try to meditate, pray, read uplifting books and listen to relaxation tapes. I keep a journal, do yoga breathing and refuse to accept I can’t
    influence my “ship”( credit to Dr.Cartwright).

  35. YIKES!!! I see this STRESS,STRESS etc… WHAT IS STRESS —LIFE IS STRESS ! I have had rrms for 18 years now. I won’t bore you with my details but I have big stress. I am even in my low right now but over the years and with experience I KNOW IT IS MIND OVER MATTER !!!!!!!!!!!!

    The real issue here is DEPRESSION !!!! Things in life can happen and change so fast we can’t keep up, Well as hard as it is to say we are our worst enemy !! Posative thinking is the real medicine. Now then I believe that we need council. So many people with M.S. started out not knowing what was wrong and were told it’s all in your head yet if you go to a “shrink” your “mental” or ” mentally ill” or nut’s or using the system or lazy etc… WELL, I SAY WE NEED SUPPORT FOR OUR MINDS FOOD FOR OUR BODIES AND DOCTORS FOR THE SCIENCE OF OUR DISEASE, BUT MOST OF ALL WE NEED LOVING SUPPORT AND ENERGY THAT START INSIDE YOU !!!! STOP FEELING SORRY FOR YOURSELF AND GET UP AND GO !!!! YET I SAY PREACH TO ALL FOR SUPPORT !!!!!! wE NEED TO BE ABLE TO TALK TO SOMEONE WHO IS LICENSED TO PRACTICE MENTAL HEALTH WITH OUT FEAR OF LOOKING MENTAL !!! This I say for all illnesses Support and family and posative thinking !!!! All of the above is from me a person that in Feb due to forclosure will be homeless!!!! I will get throught it and know it is circumstance but hey I have me my dog and my docgtors !! I just wish i had support !!!! “yeh, more money would be nice to but when i get a little stronger that will come too !!!
    I wish all of you and all of us with M.S. would unite and help each other like sisters and brothers and stop complaining we are a goup of people that need each other !!!! We could be a world wide “family”—think about it. All diseases need money and research that is a need but we need each other and ourselves then we have help and support !!!! Love your self and our neighbor.
    I can be reached at but I only read email once a week. If your posative minded I will eventually get to you ! Be well and work on it all !!!
    Barbra Taylor adeptk9s

  36. My word!!!! Where does he come from? I got PPMS, in full force, after my husband was diagnosed with cancer!!!!!!!!!!!! When we were told he has only 1 year to live it felt like all the blood was draining from my body.
    By the grace of GOD he is playing golf every week, walks the course and pulls his own cart.

    Thank You Dr Cartwright for all your hard work and the Fundamentals 201 health coaching course. The best investment I’ve ever made. I’m now living my life to the full despite the MS.

  37. Stress….Does affect ms,Trauma is what (fractured spine) I think caused my ms,but stress brings out symptoms,I’ve been on meds. 2 yrs.don’t even know if their helping,getting new syptoms since taking meds. Just lost ins. so I can’t go back to dr.because I don’t have a job anymore to even pay out of pocket.That’s Stress!!!

  38. It took 10 years for me to be diagnosed with MS.  I knew I had it  by the symptoms I was having.  I saw 7 different doctors who wouldn’t listen to me.  Finally I found a dr that actually listens and I had a MRI on my head which showed that my brain stem had been effected.  They took blood test, spinal taps and an EEG. My life has been full of stress.  In the last 15 years I have lost my parents, my best friend, separated from son’s father, lost my companion dog and now my new companion dog needs surgery costing over 2000 dollars that I can’t afford.  Now that’s stress!  And they say there is no connection!  When I am stressed the pain is unbearable.  The flare ups get so bad my right side becomes paralysised or I pass out from the pain.  Since I am on SSI I do not have the finances for any relief.

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