Forum

Could this be MS

Hello

I have had a range of strange symptoms recently, some of which I have had on and off for about 10-15 years and I have started wondering whether it could be MS. I’m sure my GP thinks I’m a hypercondriac so I don’t want to go and present all these symptoms together unless there is at least a chance they could be connected. I’m in my mid 40’s.

My longest standing problem is dizzyness. I’ve had bouts of it for 10-15 years and have had two or three occasions over the last 3 years when the dizzyness has lasted for several weeks (most recently during the last few weeks). The dizzyness has been diagnosed (by my GP) as migraine with vertigo, although I have never had any tests for it. Inner ear problems have also been suggested in the past but never tested. I take Stemetil for it when it is really bad, although that does little more than take the edge off it. I sometimes get a feeling of stiffness in my neck and upper back which might be linked to the dizzyness (but the stiffness and dizzyness can each occur independently). When my neck feels stiff like that, there is nothing I can do to get it to relax (eg heat, massage etc).

Since November last year, I have had pains in my rib cage - mostly on one side but also sometimes on the other. The pain’s not there all the time but I get it most days, sometimes several times a day and often lasting an hour or so at a time. I have had loads of tests for this: blood tests, chest x-ray, ultasound and a CT colonoscopy (as I have a family history of bowel cancer) - nothing significant has shown up in any of these. Then, in the last few weeks, I have also had pains in my upper arms. The arm pain started the day after the CT scan, so I initially wondered if it could be caused by the contrast agent. I woke up and my upper arms were just really stiff, as though I had been weightlifting the day before. It gradually got better over the next couple of days but my upper arms have been sore and slightly ‘stiff feeling’ several times since then. Tonight, the skin around the stiff area on one side has started to itch really badly, too.

Thirdly, I have been feeling exceptionally tired for over a year now. I haven’t been sleeping well which contributes to the tiredness but its a vicious cycle: I’m really tired, so don’t function as well as I need to at work, so i get stressed and that causes more sleep problems etc. However, I also feel that not functioning well at work is something more than just the tiredness. I seem to find it hard to learn new things recently and I also keep forgetting things (like forgetting to go to meetings). I’ve been pretty depressed and anxious this last year as I just can’t seem to keep up with work in the way I expect myself to. Sometimes I really feel as though I’m losing my marbles.

Finally, I’ve dropped three things in the last month or so. I’ve dropped my toothbrush twice, while brushing my teeth and once I dropped a mug that I was washing up. I also managed to knock a cup of coffee over in a cafe last week.

Sorry to rabbit on for so long. I know that nobody on this forum can tell me if this is MS but I just wonder if anyone thinks it could be. When I first read about MS, I burst into tears because it seemed to sum up so many different things that I have experienced recently. In a way, it would be good to have a diagnosis that explained all this as I’ve been thinking it must all be in my head and its been driving me crazy. I know that the tiredness and forgetfulness could be tied up with stress at work and the dizzyness could be migraine with vertigo (as diagnosed) but I don’t have any explanation for the pains in my rib cage and upper arms.

Anyway, thanks for reading … any thoughts gratefully received!!!

Hello and welcome :slight_smile:

It sounds to me that it is time to call your GP’s bluff (ish!). If I were you, I would make a list of the key symptoms, make a double appointment at the surgery, tell the GP that I understand how the neck/back pain and dizziness might be explained by migraine, but that I can’t understand how the other problems fit. I am happy to accept that they do, IF they are documented symptoms of migraine, but (and no offence Dr) I would prefer to see an expert so could they please refer you to a migraine specialist neurologist. These things are becoming increasingly debilitating and at the very least I need help to control and manage them. Or, if they think that these aren’t symptoms of migraine, then could they please refer me to another kind of neurologist to have them checked out.

Of course, that’s just what I’d do and you have to do what’s right for you, but it seems to me that you need to find out if you actually have migraine, you need to get help to control that (if it is) and you need reassurance that the other symptoms are related (and if they aren’t, you need them explained).

Migraine is a highly variable condition and can cause all sorts of neurological symptoms, often without any headache, so it may well be that it is migraine that’s causing your problems. But, if I were you, I’d want a consultant to tell me that, not just my GP.

Good luck.

Karen x

Hi Karen, thanks for your reply. To be fair, my GP did offer for me to see a neurologist if I wanted to, but we ended up agreeing to wait and see how things went. I felt a bit silly at the time as she had only recently referred me to a colon specialist (in case the ‘rib’ pain was colon related) and I didn’t want to feel like I was asking to do the rounds of all possible speciallists! Nobody has suggested that the rib pain is connected to the diziness/ possible migraine - the doctors haven’t come up with an explanation for that and it’s just me that’s started to wonder if it’s neurological (and therefore possibly connected).

Anyway, thanks for your advice. I think I do need to go back and ask for a neuro referral, if only to put my mind at rest. Do you think I should say I’ve been worrying about MS or should I leave the possible diagnosis to her/ the neuro? Does it even sound like a possibility or am I adding 2 and 2 to make 5?

x

Hi Karen, thanks for your reply. To be fair, my GP did offer for me to see a neurologist if I wanted to, but we ended up agreeing to wait and see how things went. I felt a bit silly at the time as she had only recently referred me to a colon specialist (in case the ‘rib’ pain was colon related) and I didn’t want to feel like I was asking to do the rounds of all possible speciallists! Nobody has suggested that the rib pain is connected to the diziness/ possible migraine - the doctors haven’t come up with an explanation for that and it’s just me that’s started to wonder if it’s neurological (and therefore possibly connected).

Anyway, thanks for your advice. I think I do need to go back and ask for a neuro referral, if only to put my mind at rest. Do you think I should say I’ve been worrying about MS or should I leave the possible diagnosis to her/ the neuro? Does it even sound like a possibility or am I adding 2 and 2 to make 5?

x

I honestly couldn’t tell you whether or not it could be MS. My gut feel says that it probably isn’t, but all I know about you is what you’ve written and I’m not even medically trained, so what do I know anyway! :slight_smile:

The only way to find out for sure is to take up your GP’s offer of a neuro referral. I would say not to mention MS. Self-diagnosing patients are not exactly welcome on the whole! Just stick to, “I have these things wrong with me. What could it be? Can you help please?” With the backup, “Googling symptoms comes up with all sorts of things so I haven’t a clue what it is! That’s why I’m here. Can you help please?” if you are really pushed :slight_smile:

Kx