A representative sample of 117 patients with definite multiple sclerosis (MS) was interviewed on pain syndromes. Chronic syndromes lasting more than one month included dysaestesthesia, low back pain, spasms, tonic seizures, tightening and painful sensations in the extremities. Acute syndromes included neuralgia, L'Hermitte's sign and pain associated with optic neuritis. Thirty-five per cent were pain-free. Of the remaining patients had 45% pain at the time of the examination, 32% indicated pain among the most severe symptoms of MS and 23% had pain at the onset of MS. The number of patients with pain at the time of the examination increased with age and duration of disease. Patients with pain were significantly more often spastic and significantly more often sought alternative treatment forms. No difference was found for mean age, sex, physical impairment, duration of disease from onset of MS, depressive score and score of delayed verbal memory.