How soon should you be tested for MS if you have most of the symptoms

My son has been showing signs of MS for the past month and has only just been taken seriously by his doctor.

We got sent to the hospital where he had a brain scan, but there was such a muck up at the hospital that my son discharged himself before they did a lumbar puncture on him, so we don't know if he has it or not.

He is beside himself with worry and sinking into depression.

His doctor has not been very helpful.

Please can someone point us in the right direction as we don't know which way to turn.

Your son's GP should have referred him to a neurologist: only neurologists are qualified to diagnose MS.


A lumbar puncture is actually not necessary to diagnose MS and it is certainly not a definitive test for MS, however it can speed things up.


However, it is really too early to be talking about MS. There are loads of mimics of MS (i.e. things that cause similar symptoms), some of which are temporary and/or fixable; in order to be diagnosed with MS, a patient has to have more than one attack; and it is also highly unusual for someone with MS to have "most of the symptoms" during their first attack.


So, my advice would be to wait to see what the MRI reveals, and then ask for a referral to a neurologist (or to whatever specialist is most sensible depending on the MRI results). MRI results shouldn't take too long - the images are available immediately; the delay is because a radiologist has to prepare a report and have it typed and posted.


If your son is terrified about having MS, it may be because he has some misconceptions. The truth is that MS reduces life span by somewhere between 4 and 7 years, depending on what you read and most people with MS do not end up in a wheelchair 24/7. In fact, most people with MS live quite normal lives: they study, they work, they get married, they have kids, they travel, they have friends, etc. It is not the end of the world.


Try not to panic. Take it one step at a time.

Karen x

Hi Ruthlee

Unfortunately there is no one particular test to diagnose ms and symptoms do vary, not only from person to person but also for each of us as individuals too. I think in your sons case the only thing he can do right now is to wait and see if the mri shows anything up. Regardless of that though his GP should refer him to a neurologist to run tests if he feels your sons symptoms are of a neurological nature. A GP is not a specialist and is definitely not qualified to diagnose anything like this at all.

With regards to the lumbar puncture - it's not cast in stone that everyone with suspected ms should have one. Many don't in fact. If it's suggested, then the decision lays with the patient as to whether they go ahead and have it done as it is an invasive procedure. Neither does it follow that a negative result means it's not ms. In my case I did have an LP done and it was positive. This along with other tests, scans, symptoms & relapses led to my diagnosis. But there are lots of conditions that have similar symptoms to ms, some of them neurological some not and these need to be ruled out along the way.

It is without doubt frightening not knowing what's going on but at the present time your sons symptoms could be due to any number of things and not necessarily anything of a serious nature either. So for now he should try and put ms to the back of his mind, take one baby step at a time and wait for the results of the scan. 

It's also worth mentioning that stress and anxiety can have a knock on effect on symptoms too which unfortunately can make us feel a lot worse. Hopefully the results of the mri will shed some light on things.

I wish him the very best of luck

Debbie xx



Thankyou both for replying.

Your information has helped a lot.

We will just have to wait and see what happens.

Again thanks for your support.