Categorizing pain?

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Categorizing pain?

Post by RainyLaine » Thu Dec 22, 2005 5:13 am

From reading this forum, I understand that nobody's MS is the same and perhaps I am still in partial denial of my DX. I believe that the numbness and tingling I have in my hands and arms are attributed to MS. Sometimes they will ache also. I have tingling and numbness in my feet. I have had deep aching in my lower legs, occasional cramping in my feet. I attribute this to MS. I cannot tolerate heat or cold and have a low level headache much of the time. My hands and feet get very cold as if the circulation has been cut off. What I am not sure if caused by MS is my right leg is stiff and doesn't function properly, my right foot drags, have hip and lower back pain. I have to concentrate when I am walking to keep from tripping and keep in a straight line. This sounds like MS also but it didn't start until I stepped in a hole while walking and twisted my lower back pretty badly. I had shooting sciatic nerve pain for some months afterwards but didn't see a doctor because of things I had going on in my life at the time. I thought I could tough it out. I saw an orthopedic after about a year of hip and lower back discomfort. MRI showed nothing. Another year went by and the pain was slightly worse and I couldn't run anymore because of right leg. MRI showed mild arthritis in mid back, nothing in hip and lower back. I was referred to a neuro who had enhanced MRI done and he DX with MS. No other tests were done. I chose betaseron for treatment. I have not seen him since March 2005 but at that time he was not willing to address my back pain, attributing it to the MS. November of this year I begged my chiropractor to set up an MRI through a different facility than I had been before. Results were I have a slightly compressed disk in my mid back with arthritis and degenerative disc. In my lower back at the very lowest disc, I have compression, a bulge and degenerative disc. The MRI was done on a "good" day. Now I can only sleep about 4 hours in my bed before I wake up with terrible stabbing back and hip pain upon movement and it takes some doing to get up out of bed. This morning I was stuck half on and half off the bed and couldn't move because of the pain. After I am up and slowly moving around, I am able to move easier until the pain is down to a moderate burn. If I sleep in my recliner it is not as bad. Trouble is that after only sleeping a few hours at a time I am so tired, I go back to bed and repeat the pain cycle.
Does this sound familiar to others that have MS? Does the MS cause the leg numbness, difficulty walking, aggravating the back injury causing pain, or does the leg numbness and pain come solely from the back injury and not the MS?
What type of pain do others experience?

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Post by LisaBee » Thu Dec 22, 2005 4:40 pm



Back when I had a relapse that lead to my diagnosis I had pretty severe neck pain that made me nauseated and unable to eat or sleep much for at least two weeks. An x-ray showed some cervical stenosis, which is probably still there. I had bad balance problems and trouble walking at the time. Those symptoms have gone away and I wonder whether the pain in my neck at the time was due to MS or I simply strained it because I was struggling so hard for balance, that perhaps I overcompensated and "snatched" my neck to keep from falling over. The neuro gave me simple neck exercises to do for cervical strain to do (I still do them almost daily) and the neck problem eased away. After I got better from the relapse I pretty seriously tweaked one knee doing Tai Chi and seemed to keep re-injuring it for months - the problem was definitely in the joint, because it still makes noise when I bend and straighten the knee. So that is definitely a nonMS thing.

I bring this all up because I think if we are experiencing problems with balance, judging distance when making a step, etc. it can set us up for a physical injury to a joint or neck or back that aren't from MS, at least not directly. There's also a lot of people that don't have MS that step off curbs, etc. and wind up with a pretty bad back injury!

I'm not a doc, but based on the imaging from your chiropractor I would recommend getting copies of that latest MRI and going back to the neuro or an orthopedic doc to show them, because it sounds like at least the lower back and hip pain might be your lower disk that might have got knocked awry when you stepped in the hole. If so, maybe something could be done to relieve that, either surgery or physical therapy or something. I sure hope so! I think you're right to question whether all your spine, hip and leg problems are "simply MS" or not. I had a PA tell me, "just because you hear hoofbeats, it doesn't mean they are always zebras. Sometimes they are just horses."

There are some other posts on this site where people have discussed observed links between physical spinal injuries and subsequent MS cord lesions, which is another angle on your symptoms. I can't remember where that is at.
Maybe someone will see this post and point you to it.


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