From December 1973 through November 1988, we cared for 11 patients who presented with acute radicular pain and in whom radicular compression was ruled out by imaging techniques. Eventually, multiple sclerosis was diagnosed and judged to be responsible for the acute radiculopathy. The patients (seven women, aged 18 to 40 years; median, 32 years) and four men (aged 23 to 34 years; median, 29 years) were followed up from 6 months to 15 years (mean, 4 years 11 months). They represent 3.9% of 282 newly diagnosed cases of multiple sclerosis during the same 15 years. A retrospective analysis of the characteristics of their illness and its evolution was conducted. Six had lumbosacral radiculopathies; three, cervical and two, thoracic. In six of the 11 patients, symptoms occurred in close relationship to trauma; seven had recurrent radicular pain; four had other pain syndromes; and three others, paroxysmal symptoms. One patient died of complications from multiple sclerosis 3 years after diagnosis. Three others were rated five or greater in the extended Kurtzke disability status scale during follow-up.