i'm so grateful for this site. here's my situation...
39, male. haven't felt great in the last 10 months. i tend to have a lot of anxiety and always take things to extremes (i.e, headache--i think i have brain tumor, etc.).
In any case, i've suffered from terrible mid-back pain for about 10 months. my back feels fine during the day but i wake up at approx 3-4 am each night with aches. have to take advil to get me through the night.
in any case, i finally tried sleeping on the floor and it finally is making a huge difference.
about two weeks ago, i had a weird pain in my left arm. i went to the emergency room thinking it might be heart related. he did an ekg and monitored my heart for a few hours. the er doctor said my heart is fine but as i was leaving casually told me i should see a dr about possible MS. i was shocked he would make this statement based on one pain in my arm??? that went away in 24 hrs by the way.
then, last week, i started getting "muscle twitching" in various parts of my body (legs and arm mostly). i had one in my leg that was very noticeable but the rest are very subtle and go away after a few seconds.
around this same time, i have also felt light headed.
i went to my regular dr and we did blood work. it came back fine and he asked me what i was worried about . I told him MS and he said that he was also thinking it would be a good idea for me to get this checked out with a neurologist.
i'm FREAKING OUT because i can't get into a neurologist until after New Year. It's making me insane with anxiety!!
i did go to the optomologist. he dialated my eyes and said there was NO imflammation or signs of MS. I know that's not conclusive but at least something positive.
so with that said, can any of you with MS weigh in on what you've experienced or know about early signs? I realize everyone has a different story but just thought some of you might shed some light on this.
I have had no muscle weakness, coordination issues, eye problems, etc.----only this recent muscle twitching and light headedness.
also worried about als but i have no problems in my hands or feet at this point and again, no muscle weekness, etc.
and finally, i did have two spinal MRI's for backpain. does anyone know if these kind of MRI's are useful in detecting MS? They both came back unremarkable so I'm just curious if those negative results would be in my favor for not having MS?
Last edited by mlsocal; 12-17-2007 at 06:30 PM.
Reason: forgot to include info
Hi first of all, you sound soo anxious that its no wonder you are having issues. Anxiety can reap havoc on all your body's systems. Anxiety can also make you think youre crazy, when youre not! Anxiety is a real issue, and until you have that under control, not much is going to put your mind at ease....
But, I will start with this, the only real diagnostic tool to check for MS is the MRI. Both brain, Cspine and occasionally Thorasic MRIs are used to search for lesions....it is possible to have MS, without having lesions in these areas, but those are the very first tools used. A second way of testing for MS would be the lumbar puncture or spinal tap...this is to check the central spinal fluid and look for infection, Obands and even blood- Next, would be nerve conduction tests, however without having had any real issues with your hands or feet, and with such minor muscle spasms, its unlikely that there is a problem but the test could be done....your issues which you describe do NOT sound like MS issues. I hate to say it, but back pain and pain in your arm which goes away- those arent MS things....
MS usually starts with fatigue like you cannot imagine. All the sudden, you cant do anything which you did before easily. It is also accompanied by severe heat issues. Not being able to stand up in the hot shower, getting dizzy as soon as you hit the hot water...summer time heat and humidity making it tough to function....cognitive issues, memory problems, balance problems (walking, tripping over things which arent there), tingling and numbness in limbs, hands, feet, toes, are signs of nerve damage, which accompanies MS...headaches, can be a sign, but not always...migranes can accompany MS, but not in everyone. Ive never had this problem. Severe muscle spasms the type that dont go away in a minute or two and are quite painful... Optical Neuritis is a sign of MS, which you tested negative for, but it does NOT always hit everyone. You said you saw an optomologist (?). Did you mean an opthamologist? An Opthamologist is an MD and can rule out ON, an optomotrist doesnt have the correct instruments or training...
You should also know that for many people it takes YEARS to get an answer on MS, so waiting a month, or even 4 months is not going to be an issue....however, gotta be completely honest, you arent telling us anything which sounds like MS...so I think the anxiety of worrying is what is causing you to have these very real physical symtoms you are talking about. Most of what you are describing is very much anxiety related. Im not making light of your situation, but as a self possessed "anxiety ridden person" you should know that what you are describing fits the profile exactly.
As for MS, it certainly cannot hurt to be seen by a Neurologist! It cant hurt to have the MRIs or even the spinal tap if you choose, however I wouldnt go there expecting an answer unless you have much more symptoms then you are telling us, or a relapse which impairs you between now and then. Whatever happens, I do wish you welll...and believe me when I tell you, MS is not a huge deal- so dont worry about it. You cant change it if you have it, and you wont die if you do- you'll just join our happy family and learn how to deal with it! We will help you every step of the way..
good luck and happy holidays.
Hi. I would agree that your anxiety level while understandable when something is going on and you don't know what it is, is causing you more issues than what may/may not be going on. It is absolutely vital that you try to find a way to take a deep breath and get a plan of action.
I would make your neuro. appointment. Go and talk to them, get a new MRI of brain, cspine with and without contrast so they can get the best views possible. There is a check list of things to do to help rule out many conditions. The blood work has been done. Hopefully it was thorough.
I agree with Nikki, your symptoms don't scream MS. With the recent blood work and if you get the MRI's done it can help sart checking things off of the list and maybe you will feel like you are doing something to help yourself.
Try to find some form of relaxation. I have seen many recommend getting lost in good movies, books or having fun with friends. I have finally learned how to meditate and don't know what I'd do without it. Just the lack of quality sleep can cause major problems, you may want to look for better options to try to get more and better sleep.
The new year is VERY close! Personally, I'd stick to the regular neuro to start. Your sx are very broad and don't necessary wreak of MS. An MS specialist is more bound to confirm or reject an MS dx and not test for, dx or suggest other things.
As far as your eyes, the only clue they would be able to see by dilation is signs of inflammation. Eyes are not always affected by MS anyway and unless there was inflammation at the time, it wouldn't be conclusive for identifying problems in the past. That said, there is a relatively new eye test that is being used to dx MS early and monitor its progress but my neuro-ophthalmologist told me just last week that it's a ways off from being the super "tell-all" that they hope it might be one day. So sorry, while I'm glad your eyes are in good shape, doesn't sound like that visit was very telling.
Re: your MRIs, lesions can be seen in thoracic and c-spine MRIs but not the lumbar but not everyone has lesions there.
Before is was diagnosed with MS, I went to an optomotrist to get a new prescription. She was the first doctor who saw problems and referred me to a Neurologist. In other words, eyes are a good way for Doctors to see what is going on. Take a deep breath, go see the Neurologist, get the results and move on from there.
Thank you so much to all of you for taking the time to reply. what an amazing group of people you all are.
I take great comfort in your kind words, positive thoughts, and knowledge about MS.
A few thoughts...
yes, i did see an opthamalogist (sp?)--not an optometrist. I completely am aware that the fact that he did not see any inflammation is NOT conclusive but it feels reassuring to know that my eyes checked out ok. also, i have never really had eye issues (i.e., blurry vision, eye pain or seeing double, etc). ever since i went to eye dr, i have noticed a lot of floaters but i read those are usually harmless and quite common.
again, my symptoms have been about constant muscle twitching (mostly in my legs/calves) with some twitching in my arms. so far, no issue of any kind in my actual hands and feet. i also have felt LIGHT HEADED for as many days as i have been twitching.
that said, today i feel like my legs are tired and achey. also, my left arm hurts today on the part where my forearm meets my upper arm. almost as if i was doing weights reps but i haven't!?! it hurt for about 2 hrs and now it feels fine???
i'm also very tired. i wouldn't say fatigued to the point where i can't function but very tired. i also feel jittery.
no heat sensitivity. no numbness.
my guess is that i might have MS, fibromyalgia, or...this is a long shot...but as mentioned, i have had 10 months of mid back pain that only really hurt after i was asleep for 4-5 hrs. I discovered it was my mattress and since i've been sleeping on the floor, my back pain is 98% better!! my muscle twitching and light headedness, and arm/leg symptoms started at the same time i started sleeping on the floor. just wondering if this might be the culprit---i.e., my body weight on the hard floor is pressing on nerves, etc?
i know probably a long shot but odd it started around the same time?! who knows.
so with that said, i am going to proceed with my neuro apt and definitely get an MRI on my brain. I just had a Thorasic MRI 1 month ago..that was to check my back pain. i just wonder if that is a useful tool? sounds like it might be. meaning, if i had lesions on my spine, isn't it likely that the radiologist would have caught that? i know a brain MRI is a must but let me know what u think about the fact that my thorasic mri came back clear.
again, really value everyone's insight and i wish all of you great things in life.
Absolutely, mlsocal. Not having any eye problems is always a good thing; I just wanted to stress that it's not a dx tool unto itself but you obviously understand that.
If there was something MS related on your thoracic spine there's a good chance they would have seen it. That said, a lot of neurologists/MS specialists don't even do thoracic spine MRIs, at least not initially -- it is more common for the c-spine to be involved. So, most MRIs to look for MS start with a brain MRI or (and this is most preferable) a brain and c-spine MRI.