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Confused About Diagnosis Process

Hello,

Currently I have been extremely worried, anxious and stressful about my health for the last year and a half, ie an extreme hypochondriac. I have been experiencing painful sensations around my chest/rib area that come and go fairly fast but does not feel like a tight band as described by the MS hug. I have had a strange tingling sensation in my left leg (lower part of left leg) as well as left foot. It burns very slightly occasionally and my left toe feels a bit numb when it is cold outside (noticed it last year). I get painful sensations in my right eye (more of a dull ache) but not sure if this is related since I have been diagnosed with a slight astigmatism in that eye and have not been wearing glasses so could just be eye strain since I have no vision loss or anything like that. My left eye sometimes gets sore too but less often than the right. I also suffer from tension headaches all the time and am constantly anxious and worried that I may have multiple sclerosis. I went to the doctor who referred me to an endocrinologist. The endocrinologist performed a series of blood tests, all coming back normal, as well as a brain and spinal MRI which came back completely clear (the radiologist is a family friend and he seems to think there is no way I could have MS based on the images). I am yet to see a neurologist (going later this month due to poor availability). After all the tests, etc the endocrinologist told me that all my symptoms could be anxiety and stress related, especially since I think about it 24/7. I do not know how anxiety and stress could cause what I am feeling but I do know my mum went blind for a period of time due to stress when she was in her early 20s. Lastly (sorry I know it’s long) I get random burning and twitching sensations in many places around my body (right upper back, right arm, etc). Whenever I get nervous/stressed I tend to urinate a lot more frequently (has been like that since I was a child - I am 19 at the moment and am a male). My bowel movements have been fairly consistent but I might have gluten or dairy sensitivity - could this also cause the symptoms I am feeling? Basically, could all my symptoms be due to anxiety, stress and diet sensitivities or is it something more serious?

Thanks very much!

Hi

Anxiety and stress can cause any number of symptoms from skin problems and hair loss to stomach ulcers.

Some people thrive on stress and conflict. If, however, you are not a Captain of Industry or commanding a nuclear submarine, it is important to avoid stressful situations and learn relaxation techniques to have a healthy and balanced life.

You will have to discover what makes you relaxed. Meditation, yoga, and music are used by many to find peace and tranquillity. It is up to you to determine what suits you.

Regards,

Anthony

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Hello Chez

The one thing you should be sure about, is that you don’t have MS. The clear MRI scans show this. You’ve also seen an endocrinologist, this means your symptoms are not due to hormonal problems. I suspect that you’ve seen quite a few Doctors and the blood tests you’ve had indicate that there may not be an organic problem.

Stress and anxiety (except for the occupations Anthony suggested) aren’t very helpful for most people. And they can lead to all sorts of health worries and very real symptoms.

The big problem you have now is that you’ve got yourself into a spiral of fear and worry which leads to physical symptoms, which feed your anxiety, which adds to the symptoms. And so on.

You are even wondering about food intolerances. Gluten sensitivity doesn’t really exist. Either you have coeliac disease (which I imagine the endocrinologist would have picked up on), or you are not intolerant of gluten. Equally a dairy ‘sensitivity’ would probably have more extreme digestive symptoms and again have been picked up by your GP or the endocrinologist.

This forum has similar posts to yours all the time. Almost anyone with some ‘odd’ symptoms at some point wonders ‘do I have MS’. And the nature of MS is that there are a very wide range of symptoms, so questioning as you are is not unusual. Most people eventually get a diagnosis, perhaps of a vitamin deficiency (I’m sure all yours have been checked, but make sure your blood tests have included vitamins D and B12), or of something else curable and less problematic than MS.

I am not suggesting that you are imagining your symptoms, nor that it’s all in your head. The fact is that you can have real symptoms that are caused by fear, stress and worry. Perhaps your GP should be referring you for some counselling in the absence of any organic cause of your symptoms.

Do let us know what happens.

Sue

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There is nothing non-serious about the kind of chronic anxiety state you describe. That kind of thing can darken a person’s days more effectively and completely than any chronic physical disorder. It is a puzzle to me that chronic anxiety is so often described as ‘only’ anxiety, even by people who know how bad it feels.

I am sorry that you having a horrible time at the moment, But this could be a real opportunity for you to develop your internal resources for dealing with life’s worries without letting them overwhelm you. I am thinking here of things like meditation – there are loads of resources on the Web, as I’m sure you know. You might be surprised how such things can calm the unruly mind. That is a valuable life skill, whether one has any physical health issues or not. It has helped me enormously.

Alison

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Thank you very much for the positive replies! I will definitely let you all know the outcome when I visit the neurologist at the end of the month (not sure if I should still go see her based on your replies…). Being 19 I still find it amazing how powerful the mind can be on the body, especially with regards to physical symptom. Ssssue (Sorry for quoting you in this manner, I’m new to the forum so I am still figuring out how it works) you were completely right when you mentioned the snowball effect of worrying and googling. Google is my new enemy, I must admit! Whenever I try to move on, the thoughts keep coming back into my mind which I hate because I feel like I have lost who I am! I am extremely worried to take anxiety medication as I have heard many negative impacts of it. Does anyone have any recommendations that I could use to overcome my anxiety? Albrecht, Alison whenever I try to relax, meditate or perform yoga the worries keep entering my mind and the point of the relaxing activity is ruined. The only thing that provides some benefit is being around friends and family (this is fine until I become alone and then the thoughts re-enter my mind). Once again I really do apologise for coming across as being an emotional mess but I appreciate your replies more than you could imagine! Thank you everyone

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Chez,

You may find that the symptoms you experience are caused by general anxiety and the ever dangerous Dr Google. However, I think you should probably keep the appointment with the neurologist. Just keep an open mind about what s/he has to say.

With regard to anxiety, has your GP ever suggested Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)? Have a look at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cognitive-behavioural-therapy-cbt/

It could help. Or at least not hurt. Except maybe a bit emotionally!

Sue

I have heard it said that meditation is a bit like learning to play the piano, or golf: it is rare to start as a beginner and find you are terrific at it. The difference is that no one even expects to be instantly good at golf or the piano. Try not to be disheartened by finding that practices like yoga or meditation do not bring instant relief or freedom from intrusive thoughts: that isn’t really how it works. Practice is the key here: the rewards come slowly, but they do come. I’m still a beginner too, by the way, and am still rubbish at it, but already it helps me, and it is on on that basis I must ask you to forgive me for pressing my point here.

Even if the time isn’t right now, please tuck the idea away somewhere, and maybe you’ll come back to it some day.

Alison

Thanks again for the replies! I think what worries me the most is reading about cases where people actually have MS even though they have clear MRI’s. Like I said, I had an MRI of my brain and cervical spine without contrast (1.5T machine) but have read that these circumstances are the most innacurate when it comes to MS. Would the newer MRI machines of today have picked up MS or is there still a possibility that I might in fact have MS?

no chez i’m pretty damn sure you don’t have ms. you are obviously very anxious and this is going to ruin your life if you don’t get it sorted. please make this your priority because i’ll worry about you. you are very young and spending your days worrying yourself sick about something that you don’t have. so your homework for this week is to make an appointment to talk about your anxiety. meditate, use those moments of distraction as part of the meditation, it is very normal for newbies to find their minds wandering. then get out there, act your age and have a ball!

No Chez, I agree wholeheartedly with Carole.

People make a big deal about new higher Tesla machines, contrast versus no contrast. If you had demyelinating lesions, they’d have been picked up by your MRI.

As I said before, go to your neurologist appointment, ask for his/her opinion.

Then try to get a handle on your anxiety.

And as Carole said, start to enjoy your life. By act your age, Carole means go out dancing, see bands, enjoy your youth. That’s what we were lucky enough to do. Try to make it that you can enjoy your youth.

Sue

Quick update: I went to the optometrist today and they found that my optic nerves were slightly inflamed (more my right eye than my left). He is sending the results to an eye specialist as he does not know whether this is normal or not…

chez it’s good that the optometrist picked up on your optic nerve being inflamed. hope it turns out to be nothing sinister. sorry for being a bossy old bag earlier! carole x

I was slightly wrong with my terminology… He took a digital photo of my macular and optic disk. He said that my optic disk was swollen and mentioned something about meningitis because pressure usually causes the inflammation of the optic disk. Can optic neuritis also cause the pressure needed to inflame my optic nerves?

The eye specialist came back saying my optic disc looked completely normal… Not sure what to think now

chez

you should think that you optic nerve is fine.

the clear mri shows that you do not have ms.

your anxiety is dangerously high.

please see your gp about this.

i have 2 sons aged 29 and 30.

they both have health problems and i take them seriously.

one had mental health issues for a few years, now he’s found out that he has diabetes.

so there is a whole world of health problems out there.

why have you decided it’s ms - it isn’t!

you’re lucky to have a clean bill of health.

get a handle on the anxiety.

i know that it is a serious problem.

there is a lot of help out there if you seek it.

i’m an old mother hen who will worry about you so please seek help.

imagine a warm hug and a big kiss on your cheek because that is what i’m sending you,

xxxxxxxx

How are you getting on? Anxiety is horrendous and although i do have ms i completely empathise. Have you spoken to your gp about seeing health psychology? Im going to see them in a week or two im being assessed by a clinical psychologist as every little symptom is making me fear the worst and the anxiety is making my symptoms worse! I think it would probably be beneficial to you x

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as sue gave you a link to Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) i think you should give it a read.

no drugs involved at all.

just requires commitment on your part to attend sessions and work with the therapist.

you’ll emerge from it as a new man!

I just don’t see why the anxiety is affecting the one side of my body only :frowning: I have had anxiety before with no major physical symptoms but now it all seems to be coming on rapidly. The tingling has started moving up my leg up my back (to the mid/upper back region). I also experience facial twitching and pains (mainly left side). Like I said before, why would anxiety only choose to produce symptoms on one side of the body??

chez it’s due to the anxiety making you get phantom symptoms. that’s why they don’t conform to your idea of ms. my son had a fore finger ripped off when he was 11 yrs old and even though he’s now 30 he gets phantom pain in it. (he was making a bid for freedom and climbing over the school fence!) have CBD and see if they go away. take care

You would need to speak to your gp but it could be silent migraines? It also could be that you feel something like pins and needles in your foot then panic and the anxiety causes further pins and needles…it also could be somatisation of symptoms…you need to speak with a professiomal…honestly think health psychology would be a good call. I totally empathise when i was 23 i ended up in a wheelchair for a bit had dead arms etc.with no explanation as to what it was not knowing caused me massive anxiety xx