Im convinced i have MS, need help!

Hi there,

I’m a 23 year old male, working as a paramedic in Hertfordshire and have been suffering for quite a while now, and was just wondering if anyone has gone through something similar?

My first episode was roughly a year ago where over a 2 week period i have 2/3 episodes of left sided numbness/burning sensation and pins and needles. Didn’t think much of it, as i do a lot of heavy lifting in my job so carried on.

The beginning of April i fell ill again. Firstly it was pain and pressure behind my eyes, which caused me to get tension headaches on the left side and then to have a really tender left temple. I was put on antibiotics for ?sinusitis, which during the course of them i started to get the neurological symptoms again.

I developed left sided numbness and pins and needles, again…with muscle twitching. Then over the next 2 months the fun and games began, i know anxitey has played a huge part as every symptom i read up i thought i got. From flashes of light in my eyes, blobs of colour in my eyes (thinking i had optic neuritis), to chest pain and abdominal pain (thinking MS hug) then getting back pain (thinking i had spinal lesions). One thing after another. The symptoms would present on the right side sometimes as well. The numbness has been constant for 3 months, never getting any better. I had an MRI of my head which was clear. And the neurologist i saw said i have severe health anxitey and that my symptoms are stress related. I disagree! That was roughly 3 weeks ago. Ive been put on sertraline now, and in the last 48 hours my left shoulder has become extremely painful and i have a bad burning sensation down my left arm. Pins and needle feeling in legs and arms. I just want a diagnosis so i can move on with my life now! Thanks for anyone who has read this!

Hi rich, I had a similar experience many years ago with the numbness and a year later I started with the pins and needles. But that was so long ago that Google hadn’t been invented, or if it had it wasn’t in my world in 1994. Some of the symptoms you mention are found in ms but they can also be found in other conditions like simple vitamin deficency. My experience with ms is that it is a long slog to diagnosis. I know it is difficult because we all do it but try to careful what you look at on the internet, there are some scary stories on there which are probably the worst case scenario of ms, assuming they are true in the first place. You are further down the road to find out what is going on than you think, you have already seen a Neurologist so you are making progress. Good luck with everything.

Thanks for your reply! The Neurologist didn’t have any concerns at all, as the neuro exam was normal and the MRI was normal. He basically told me to stop being silly when asking for a spinal MRI! I did feel better after and thought, hmmm maybe it is stress/anxiety. But now ive developed this burning sensation in my left shoulder/arm and my left side feeling weaker and shaky i’m back to square one. Back to the GP next week to see whats next then!

Rich x

I am afraid this is very often the path to find out what is going on. For a diagnosis of ms there has to be evidence of two separate atacks over a period of time, 2 years I think. Good idea to go back to your GP next week and explain what the Neurologist said. I am not sure how debilitating the symptoms you are experiencing are but your GP should, I hope, have a plan to find out what is going on. It may not be ms but something is clearly troubling you so you feel you need it investigating further and your GP should help with that.

Hello Rich, Sorry you feel so anxious and worried, I hope you get some help from your GP. I just wanted you to know in an attempt to reassure you that I had a brain and spine MRI based on my clinical exam. There were signs during that exam that there may have been lesions on my spine. If your clinical exam was clear, I would be more reassured and from what you say in your post, I cannot see any lower body symptoms?? I understand how difficult this must be, especially with your job as a paramedic but with the clear exam and brain MRI, this is good (just my opinion mind!). What I will say is that any changes or existing symptoms getting worse, get it on your records with the GP. Also, having an MRI now, you have a baseline if you need another in the future. Good luck and let us know how you get on with your GP. Sam x

Hi rich It may be worth asking your GP for a blood test to Check your vitb12 levels . I’m experiencing Similar symptoms as you and have done for a few Years now . Vitb12 injections are helping with The pins and needles . My MRI was essentially normal . I like you feel that there’s more to it than Stress and anxiety and its frustrating not getting Any real answers . Good luck with the GP and let me know how you Get on .

There is a case for the ‘just sit quietly and let the thing go on’ approach sometimes. Most specifically, if the neurologist thinks that your anxiety about your health is manifesting itself in physical symptoms, one might argue that you would just be banging your head against a brick wall if you keep on pushing at that closed door at the moment.

You know what the say: time is the best diagnostician. Anxiety can, indeed, do astonishingly powerful and unhelpful things, things that sometimes run counter to our sense of how the world works. You have the symptoms you have: you are not making this stuff up and no one is suggesting that you are. But that does not necessarily mean that those symptoms are the signs of some sinister disease process at work. Please allow yourself to believe that.

If something neurological changes in a decisive way, that is the obvious point at which you take up the battle again. If I were you, I would not be in a hurry to get involved unless and until new evidence comes to light. It is awfully dispiriting work, trying to persuade doctors that something is seriously the matter when they don’t think there is. If I were you, I would be trying hard to let myself be reassured by what the investigations have revealed and what the neurologist has said.

Good luck with it all.


Wow, its really been put into perspective now a bit more. Speaking to you guys who have been in similar circumstances definitely helps. I have well and truely got myself into a downward spiral, spending my days off worrying about my ongoing symptoms and watching videos of people with the disease in its latter stages and thinking to myself arrrggghhh im never going to get married/have children etc etc.

I think i need a reality check, yes my symptoms are real, and uncomfortable, but nothing is set in stone yet, the more i worry the worse itll be i know that for a fact! Thankyou all for your kind words and when/if i get any more news i’ll keep you updated.

Many thanks, Rich x

Hi Rich, You mentioned having been started on Sertraline recently, and of having an increased feeling of a burning pain, and pins & needles in your shoulder/arm and legs. As you know, most drugs can carry unwelcome side effects and whilst side effects won’t affect everyone, for some they can be a problem, plus they may only be evident in the first few weeks of starting a medication - while your body is adjusting to it. One of the potential side effects of Sertraline is paraesthesiae, which may be worth noting. If after having been on it for a while the additional burning and pins & needles haven’t abated, then maybe a change in meds is in order; the last thing you need is the appearance of further, persistent symptoms caused by the meds meant to be helping you. Watching videos of people in the later stages of MS is probably feeding your worry, just like googling our symptoms does (we all do it at some stage). Keeping things in perspective is a lot harder but possible. Take heart that you’re now in the system and that everyone here is behind you and understands what you’re going through. More importantly, getting to the root cause of neurological type symptoms can be a long haul; without evidence from tests, scans etc, it really is a waiting game. You’ve had some fantastic responses to your post already (Alison’s in particular) and I’m not sure I can offer anything different other than maybe taking a break from tests for a while (which in itself is very stressful and worrying) seeking further help if / when anything else crops up. Good luck and let us know how you get on. Debbie xx P.S. I apologise in advance if this post is all hickeltypickelty…I still can’t ‘do’ paragraphs on this site. It drives me absolutely batty!!!

Hi there I cant tell you how happy I am to have met another health care professional going through this I thought I was alone… I currently work in accident and emergency and lately I have been through extreme stress… both home college and work also trying to get into university as a paramediic which is a dream due to my synotoms I might have to give uo on… mine started out with really bad palpitaions and burning sesnsation in my back however I was reffered to cardiology and said all my test and echo were fine… lately ive felt really dizzy and weak also feeling more tiered and ringing in ears… on saturday at work I was totally freaked out I lost a bit of vision from my left eye however it did onley last seconds… ive been to my gp and he has said im severly anxious and have really bad depression? Can anyone relate? Or tell me what there view is? Thanks j X