Diagnosed by GP but neurologist not sure...

Hi everyone, I was diagnosed with MS last Thursday by my GP following recommendations from the doctor who interpreted my MRI scan. I was told they are 99.9% sure I have it. It was a shock but explained the visual disturbances I’ve had over the last 3 weeks, eye, neck and head pain. I have also not been able to think very well. The MRI had confirmed 4 or 5 lesions with 1 active by my visual cortex. I was prescribed a 10 day course of steroids which are working and my vision is slowly returning as well as my general health. I have also had a few strange instances over the years. One being a numb finger 2 months ago which lasted a couple of weeks. Others being a numb thigh and electric shocks when walking, this was put down to shingles at the time but I never got the rash. So, we saw the MS neurologist last night and he said that he can’t tell me either way wether I have MS or not, as he doesn’t know how the other lesions occurred or how they affected me. He also thought that the visual disturbances weren’t typical of an MS attack. He wants to repeat the MRI in 3 months. Good news - he’s not overly concerned. We are however now quite confused and wondering how the GP and MRI Dr could get it wrong when they were so sure. Has this happened to anyone else? Is this usual? We’ve had a week from hell which could have been unnecessary. I’ve told my work, my family and now it might not be the case. Obviously I am hopeful that maybe I don’t have MS but wonder what else could cause these lesions? Any help would be great. Thank you Jo

NOONE other than a NEUROLOGIST can diagnose MS. GP’s are highly skilled people but medically they are a jack of all trades. They don’t have the intricate knowledge of the central nervous system to be able to make that call. That’s all I can say really. Lesions can be caused by lots of things and it takes the skil of a neurologist and neuroradioligist to interpret the mri. I’d follow the guidance of you neuro on this one especially as they are an ms specialist.

Technically, it is a neurologist who diagnoses MS (in the UK anyway) - the GP may have a very good idea what ails (looking back, I feel sure that mine did!) but she/he will typically refer to the hospital specialist for further investigation as soon as something like MS is suspected. But some GPs are more knowledgable in particular areas than others, and if yours has a particular interest in matters neurological, he/she might have wanted to hurry things along before consigning you to the (all too often) delays and uncertainties of a specialist referral.

Never mind. These medical protocol niceties are neither here nor there, really; you either have MS or you haven’t, and time will tell which,and it doesn’t matter much how you reach the point of certainly if and when it comes. It’s confusing for you, though, at a troubling time when you could do with a bit of clarity rather than a muddle, but there you go. Hang on in there. You’ll get to the bottom of things eventually.


Hi Jo

I agree with the other posters, a GP isn’t qualified to diagnose MS, no matter who has read the MRI scan. Only a neurologist can make the diagnosis, and if he’s not sure it’s MS, then it really is a question of waiting for the next MRI.

I think this has happened before to other people, their GP is certain it’s MS, so they handle that shock, then see a neurologist who takes a totally different view. Which is another shock. And then you’re left dangling in limbo.

Hopefully the next few months will go reasonably quickly and you’ll find out one way or another what the answer is.


Hi my mri has shown haemangiomas on my spine too I don’t know if they are lesions or if ms has caused it, so understand how u feel not nice not having answers, just seems to cause more stress and worry , hope u get yr answers soon , x

Thank you everyone. It’s been really tough, which I know you all understand. All I can do is just wait and see what happens next. I’m grateful that my vision problems are subsiding following the course of steroids. That was scary and I guess we were after some reassurance and answers from the neurologist but that didn’t come. I don’t feel I articulated myself well during our appointment either as he wasn’t very user friendly which threw me totally off. I failed to mention some of my symptoms as they had started to go because I was on treatment, so I don’t feel We got the best out of the meeting.

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