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Do I have MS?

At twenty years old I started to experience extreme fatigue and “shooting” pains going down my left leg. It would come and go and then I started to experience the sensation in my right leg and arms as well as weakness. I went to see a physio as my workplace offer discounted consultations. The physio didn’t feel it was a back problem or anything and so recommended I see my GP who then arranged a number of bloods. All blood tests were fine expect my vitamin D levels were low, I asked if that could be causing my symptoms and they suggested it could be. I continued to take vitamin D supplements but the symptoms have continued, recently the fatigue has become overwhelming and on occasions the painful sensations are more frequent and serve. I even went to get my eyes tested as I felt when feeling exhausted they were loosing focus but my eyes were ok. I went back to the GP who again toke several blood tests which have all come back fine and has now referred me for a full spine MRI. I’m now twenty-one years old and waiting for the MRI appointment, MS has not once been suggested to me by the GP but I’ve considered it all along. When I asked why I needed the MRI the GP said it was just to make sure it was all okay, but I’d rather her say if she thought it was MS. Can they even diagnose MS with a spinal MRI scan? I just want a diagnosis, it’s been 18 months since I first seen the GP about my symptoms and I should have went back earlier.

Today my symptoms have been really bad, the pain and weakness in my right arm especially. Because I haven’t discussed MS with my GP I don’t have a lot of information which is why I’m glad I’ve found this site. Even if I’m not diagnosed with MS, I’m glad I’ve learnt more about it.

Hello Emlouise

Well it’s impossible for anyone on this site to say ‘yes that could be’, or ‘no it doesn’t sound like’, MS. There are just too many potential MS symptoms, and most of those could also be caused by other diagnoses apart from MS.

Your GP clearly doesn’t think it’s MS, it’s impossible to know whether she’s considered it. If she did, the right thing for her to do would be to refer you to a neurologist. At the very least, she’d have referred you for an MRI of your brain, not your spine, or not just your spine. And then she wouldn’t be able to diagnose MS. Only a neurologist can do that. And only then after a full neurological examination plus tests including an MRI of at least your brain, maybe also cervical spine, and possibly a lumbar puncture and/or evoked potentials test or maybe a nerve conduction test.

In your situation, the first thing you should do is stop looking up MS symptoms. If you see a neurologist, they won’t be looking to see whether you fit the criteria for MS; s/he will be looking at you to see what they think is wrong, if it’s anything neurological.

The second thing is to start keeping a diary of your symptoms. Go back as far as you can and see if you can put dates on symptoms together with how long they’ve lasted, whether anything’s got better or just started and stayed the same or got worse.

Then, go back to your GP. Ask her for a referral to a neurologist. If I were you, I wouldn’t say you think you might have MS, just that your various symptoms over the last couple of years make you think your nervous system (neurological system) might be responsible. And because you’ll have a record of what’s happened, you’ll be able to briefly (let’s face it, a GP appointment is short!) say what’s happened and why you think it’s neurological. If she says she doesn’t think it’s likely to be caused by neurology, then ask her what she thinks might be found by a spinal MRI and indeed, what she does think might be the cause.

Best of luck.

Sue

Hi Sue,

Thank you for your reply. Funnily enough I’ve had a nerve conduction test, I’m a biomedical science student and we done one as a part of a an assignment, my results were a lot slower than average however, it’s unethical to diagnose yourself and as students, we can guarantee the test was performed accurately. I think a diary of symptoms is a great idea. I haven’t told the GP that I think it’s neurological, only explained my symptoms so I think you’re right and that I should explain that if my symptoms continue/get worse.

Best wishes,

Emily