Help with regard to symptoms - leg nerve pain/pins and needles

Hi, I’m new here. I’m 56 and in good health until recently. I’ve been struggling with (mainly) lower leg nerve pain and quite severe pins and needles for a number of weeks. It was assumed to be related to my spine (sciatica) and I have seen a neurosurgeon and had an MRI. The MRI was clear however and the neurosurgeon could offer no explanation as to why I have such pain. A question that I have with regards to MS is whether nerve pain and pins and needles are reactive to load (for example standing/walking) or whether they can just come and go at random as that will help me to understand if MS may be the cause. My pain is generally fine/niggly when sitting, unpleasant standing and dreadful walking. Pins and needles appear in most of my leg within 15 seconds of standing, crescendo quite debilitatingly within a minute (which can prevent me moving as I breathe through the discomfort), and then stay/come and go at a slightly lower level until I sit when they generally disappear or only reappear based on leg position/posture. The pain in my lower leg is like a clamping pain over the majority of the outside of my calf and is tender to touch even gently and creeps up my leg into my abdomen within 10 minutes or so. With every step when putting the weight on that leg the pain increases. So I wondered if this type of nerve pain which is reactive to loading was possible with MS, or whether standing/walking would be no different to sitting pain/pins and needles wise. I am currently at a point where 20 minutes walking my dog is all I can manage and am in great pain throughout. I’ve been referred to a pain management specialist at my local hospital by the neurosurgeon in the absence of any other help he can offer. Thank you for reading this far!

Hi FBSJS. I’m not sure I can offer much on this. I have had pins and needles but they weren’t associated with any pain and tended to come and go - then faded away completely. I’m perhaps fortunate that after 17 years I’ve never had any pain as such - my right leg gives up after 15 or so minutes of walking and gets very ‘tight’ but it’s not painful.

Thank you for taking the time to reply. I’ve been trying to think of any other issues I’ve had in the past that might be MS related and can only recall 5 months ago waking with blurred vision in one eye which caused me to visit my opticians. It lasted only for a couple of hours though and has not recurred and the optician could find no issues.

Hi, I am through diagnostic tests now for ms. At last I have found someone with the same symptoms I have! I know not a consolation for you, I have an appointment with the neurologist on the 27th sept to discuss all test’s results I will let you know how I get on. It’s awful isn’t it! I can even walk round supermarket, for example and got an automatic car cause the motion of gear change was so horrible.

3 months + since my issues started and no further forward. Symptoms generally the same (certainly no better) but I now get the feeling of very tired muscles in my upper leg after a few minutes walking, which in turn makes walking exhausting. I’ve seen a chiropractor 7 times and had various ‘adjustments’ and acupuncture but no improvement. I’m seeing the same consultant I saw at the beginning with a view to having a full spine MRI next week which he says may explain what’s causing the trouble (I only had an MRI on my lower spine last time). I can still worsens symptoms by, for example, holding out an arm when standing/walking which will dramatically change the level of discomfort in my leg. I don’t believe this would happen if it was MS but until I have a diagnosis I will keep exploring.

Hello, you don’t say if you have symptoms one side only? Well you really to have the spine/brain mri. I have found everyone has many varying symptoms and it certainly doesn’t follow a straight symptom pathway. I was sure I never had ms because I have no reflexes in my ankles and knees, and ms has brisk reflexes…obviously not always, I was diagnosed 27th, so still processing. It takes along time to get a diagnosis either way…I hope you do not have ms and get a resolution to your troubles. I’m 53 btw, so don’t let anyone tell you that you are too old to get ms. My symptoms, similar to yours started in April and have not stopped.

Thanks for replying LizAC. Sorry your diagnosis was confirmed. My symptoms are only in my right leg and as I say I can make them appear by body position. Sitting in my office chair is pain/symptom free always. I recently started cycling just to see if I could do it without pain as a way of getting exercise. I did 26 miles one Sunday recently without issue (and 100 miles in 6 weeks.) Symptoms returned within 5 seconds of getting off the bike. So it seems that body position is key in my case so perhaps not MS unless someone can confirm this happens to them too.

The benefit of having private health cover through my work means that I saw my consultant again yesterday and I am having a whole spine MRI and brain scan in 3 weeks time, and neurophysiology tests done (yet to be arranged). He said he is 100% sure it isn’t MS but for my peace of mind etc suggested the brain scan. I guess they are more free to make choices when it’s not NHS money they are spending.