Can stress really cause MS like symptoms?

Hello all. I am waiting to be seen by a neurologist after begin referred by my doctor with weird sensations on my body, pins and needles in my feet and arm, random zaps in various places, feelings of something crawling on my skin, buzzing sensations like a bee or phone is buzzing under my skin and the occasional random involuntary jolt of my hand or feet. Also a strange sensation on the side of my head and neck pain in the morning. The latest issue which I haven’t gone to the doctor about is a random noise in my ear which sounds like a very quiet muffled thumping which lasts about 30 seconds and then goes.

The doctor didn’t seem too concerned and said they were only referring me as a precaution but they were sure it was all down to stress. I did go to the doctor in January with stress after quite a very unexpected and messy breakup with my wife but these symptoms came on in August. Of course I am stressed about my personal life but these symptoms are making me even more stressed.

I am not taking any medication and never have for depression. I have spoken to close friends about my concerns of MS and they too say its stress but I can’t quite get my head around having so many issues which people actually diagnosed with MS say they get too.

So can stress really cause of these issues too? Any advice most welcome, thank you.


Yes, stress can cause all sorts of physical problems. But that doesn’t mean your symptoms aren’t real even if their cause is stress.

At least your GP has referred you to a neurologist. That is the person who is best placed to tell you if the symptoms have a physical cause. (Your friends probably aren’t the best judge - people told me ‘I’m sure it’s not MS’, when I knew there was a very strong likelihood that it was.)

What I tend to recommend to people in this sort of situation is to think back as far as you can and write yourself a timeline of the symptoms that you think are related. Make notes of what has afflicted you and when. If symptoms have completely or partially resolved, note that,or if they are still just as bad. This will help you to clarify in your own head what exactly has happened, and it will also help when you see the neurologist as the first step will be for him/her to take an oral history.

Best of luck.