a question about L'hermittes sign

Hello all,

I would like to ask you all a question about L’hermittes sign and would be very grateful to read your thoughts…

I have read that people who experience Lhermittes feel an electric shock buzz or zap down their back/spine and into other parts of the body when bending the head forward. I have noticed that when I bend my head to my chin I consistently experience a vibrating/buzzing feeling in the hollow of my left knee (but not running down my spine) . Is this in any way consistent with l’hermitte’s sign even though it doesn’t fit the classic description?

Thankyou for answering!


Hi Caro, I think it does. I seem to remember someone else on here who had the electric buzz in their feet when they lowered head and it was L’hermittes.

It obviously comes from spine even though the sensation isn’t in spine.

Pat x


L’Hermitte’s sign describes electrical buzzing sensations in the limbs and body brought on by movement of the neck. These sensations are known as paraesthesia and include tingling, buzzing, electrical shocks, partial numbness and sharp pains. L’Hermitte’s is most often triggered by lowering the head so that the chin touches the chest. The sensations usually only last for a second or two. It has been called the “barber shop” symptom because it is often evoked when the hairdresser asks you to lower your head when he or she shaves the back of your neck.

L’Hermitte’s is associated with a number of conditions including arthritis, cervical spondylosis, disc compression, pernicious anaemia, tumours and multiple sclerosis. In many cases, the cause cannot be found.

Because the cervical spinal cord is a frequent target for multiple sclerosis it is a very common symptom of MS. Aproximately two thirds of people with multiple sclerosis experience L’Hermitte’s symptom at some point during the course of their disease.

In MS, L’Hermitte’s is an indicator of lesions in the cervical spine (the part of spine in the neck). Movement of the neck causes the damaged nerves (the demyelinated neurons) to be stretched and send erroneous signals. The symptoms can occur anywhere below the neck and many people with MS find that it moves around their body from one day to the next.


Thank you George and Pat for your speedy and helpful answers. It does not seem so typical but I just looked online and it does seem that other people have experienced atypical forms of L’Hermitte’s sign with buzzing/vibrating in a body part (as opposed to a big electrical zap down the spine) and I also saw that for many people it was a first symptom. And with me it is very “relaiable” in that I bend my head forward and immediately feel buzzing under my knee (like a strong mobile phone vibration) .

I have only had it once I think - It made me say “ow” out loud when it happened as I bent my head suddenly.

I do get funny shooting pains sometimes when I bend my neck but assumed that most people get that?


I have it at the moment and its a right pain in the backside (not literally, just very annoying!)

I find it worst at the if the day after work or if I dont have a good nights sleep.

Its the first time I have had it and it was plum for me as part of my recent DX although I had ON before.

Good luck

I had this for three days. it was like a switch. i would bend my head forward and it would buzz in the back my leg until i lifted my head and then it would stop- it was as if there was a string between my leg and my neck. By yesterday afternoon it felt so strong and was driving me mad, every single time I bend my head forward my leg was vibrating hard withoiut fail but by the evening it got a bit weaker and when i woke up this morning it was gone. Today if I bend my head forward there is nothing. Do you think one can you have lhermittes so briefly, just for 3 days and then gone? I suppose not…

This is one of my more prominent symptoms. It has virtually been constant since I first felt it in early Feb. Caused by damage in my spinal cord. Some days it’s missing, some it’s subtle - but it’s generally very noticeable. I generally feel the buzzing sensation down my spin and tail bone - but it can move around, it buzzed my left thigh the other day and my right right toe the other week - humoured me. I feel no pain associated with it, worried me greatly the first time I felt it - was the first symptom that made me take notice and go get checked out.

I have this more or less constantly now, some days better than other. I also have a lot of internal vibrations/buzzings/ mainly in tummy and legs Kirsty x

Thanks Kirsty and TPATH,

well the thing I had when I bent my neck forward just lasted 3 days. 10 days later the vibrating sensation came back but not anymore when I bend my neck just randomly throughout the whole day but always in the exact same place to the side of my left knee and always feeling like Im being hit with a tuning fork or have a mobile phone buzzing behind my knee. Its very odd, sometimes it buzzes every 5 seconds for hours. Im puzzled…

Yeh - I also have a buzzing that happens on the soul of my right foot, regardless of bending neck… every 5 seconds or so - which last for a second. Thats been going for a good few days now.