It’s scary not knowing what is happening with our bodies and how to best treat them to make the various bits that are currently bent and broken work properly again.
And your first proper relapse is probably more frightening than when you were first diagnosed; you think you’d got your head round this MS business then something happens to make all your certainties fall apart again.
What the steroids do when you’re having a relapse is try to reduce the inflammation by damping down your immune system reaction to foreign ‘invaders’ (in actual fact what is not a foreign invader at all, but our immune systems don’t recognise friendly bits and mistake them for enemy invaders).
The problem with steroids is that a) they come with their own side effects that make you feel like crap, b) they don’t always work, and c) even when they do work they can take their own sweet time in putting things right.
So what this means for you is that your relapse is open ended. No one can predict how long the symptoms will take to remit. But remit they will, possibly not 100%, but often very slowly and sneakily until one day in weeks or months to come, you’ll suddenly realise that your numbness is better and best of all, your hands are back to where they should be. Even when you get only incomplete remission, you’ll find that other bits compensate for the deficits. So your new ‘normal’ gradually replaces the old ‘normal’.
Your question about rest and pushing things, it’s really a bit of both that’s needed. At this stage, more rest than exercise would be best most likely. You could ask for some physiotherapy help, but not all physios are great at hands. I remember asking for help with hand function a few years ago and being told a couple of things, but nothing very useful really. However, I did see an occupational therapist earlier this year who gave me some Theraputty (it’s a bit like plasticine but comes in different densities) and some exercises. So give it a couple of weeks then see if you can get a referral to physio or OT. In my area we have a Community Neurology Team, this encompasses both and is connected to the MS nurse service so ask your MS nurse for advice.
You could also ask for some different drugs. If the Gabapentin isn’t helping with the burning hands, ask your GP for some Amitriptyline, it’s really for use at night as it can make you dopey. But it does help with burning type neuropathic pain.
I hope this helps a bit. Other people will have their own views too that’ll help.