Impairments across multiple domains are a disabling consequence of multiple sclerosis (MS). Originating from preventive medical strategies, the “time matters”-perspective has become a focal point when treating MS. In particular, early detection of physical and cognitive deficits, along with deficits in patient-reported outcomes seems crucial to further optimize both pharmacological and non-pharmacological MS treatment strategies. Therefore, this topical review investigates the level of impairments across multiple domains (physical function, cognitive function, and patient-reported outcomes) in the early stage of MS (⩽5 years since diagnosis, including clinically isolated syndrome (CIS)), when compared to matched healthy controls. Even at early disease stages, studies show impairments corresponding to 8%–34% and small-to-large numerical effect sizes (0.35–2.85) in MS/CIS patients across domains. This evidence call for early screening programs along with early interventions targeting the multiple impaired domains. This further highlights the importance of preventive initiatives preserving and/or restoring physical and cognitive reserve capacity if possible.