I'm just so confused

I’m 23, don’t have an MS dx, but I’m starting to experience symptoms, but trying to research them is a nightmare. Most of the symptoms listed (including on this website) are so vague. Fatigue? Pins and needles? What do they mean by this? Do they mean fatigue lasting all day, for like a week? Or do they mean falling asleep on the bus on the way home from work. And pins and needles…really bad and constant, lating days/weeks/months? Or just the occassional tingle that is solved by uncrossing your legs.

If anyone has the time to listen to the ravings of a crazy woman, I’d really appricate some input from people who actually know what they’re talking about, unlike Dr. Google.

My recent symptoms:

2 months ago I woke up with full on vertigo, room was spinning, terrifed me as I’ve never experienced it before. However, I did wake up with my head on the pillow which had mostly fallen off the bed, so I’d had my head upside down for several hours - could this have been the cause? The vertigo itself was over in about 3 minutes, and I was a bit shaken for the rest of the day but didn’t suffer another attack, and haven’t since then.

In the last month I’ve noticed pins and needles more, I used to cross my legs for hours and be ok, now I have to move them after 5-10 minutes, and I’m very aware of any tingling sensations in my hands and legs.

This time last year I suffered from stress related shingles on my right thigh, shingles causes nerve damage and can result in the occassional attack of tingling and pain (often like sunburn) months or even years afterwards, so that’s complicated when trying to notice MS symptoms.

Itchiness on my legs, sometimes very itchy lasting a good part of the day, I switched to loose fititng trousers thinking it was dry skin being irritated (even though my skin was fine) and that helped, in the last couple of weeks I haven’t had any itchiness.

Leg jerks - occassionally my leg or foot will suddenly jerk to a different position when I’m sitting or lying down, it’s very noticeable, but I only get it once a day (if that).

Tiny muscle twitches, these can happen anywhere on my body.

Occassionally feeling like my fingers or toes have been poked with a needle or something hot.

All of these are mild, when I get these “attacks” they last for a few minutes and no more, but they are happening more frequently (but certainly not all day everyday, and never when I’m standing or walking) I can’t tell if these are hapening more because I’m tensed up and looking/waiting for them?

Older symptoms:

Had bad growing pains at night since I was a small child, still get them today but no way near as much, a dull ache in my left leg or up the left side of my back, requires paracetamol, often triggered by exercise or cold, so I wear thick socks at night at that usually prevents it.

Had a twitch/tic as a child, but this wasn’t involuntary, I was the one moving/twitching, got over it with age/relaxation therapy

Astigamatism in one eye for 3 years, vision is very blurry in that eye, but the other eye is alright so compensates meaning I don’t need glasses.

Get tired during the day (but not enough that I can’t function) have trouble getting to sleep at night, feel tired in the mornings.

A bit about me:

23, female, slightly underweight, don’t do nearly enough exercise, don’t eat enough, always had trouble sleeping, always had a problem with nerves and anxiety, suffered from mild depression for the last 6 years - untreated, oh and the world’s biggest hypochondriac.

If you read all that you deserve a medal. I did mention some of these symptoms to my GP when I last went to get the birth control pill, she didn’t seem concerned at all and said they were normal, but I only had about 3 minutes to briefly explain things to her before I was dismissed, so I certianly didn’t mention everything, mostly just asked her about pins and needles.


I think you need to stop “researching” - which will not be helping - and get yourself to the doctor for a proper discussion of your fears.

There is a very real possibility these symptoms are either NOTHING, as the doctor seemed to think, and caused by hypervigilance on your part (looking out for every little thing that might be wrong with you, and/or placing sinister interpretations on normal things that everybody gets), OR a minor problem like a vitamin deficiency, that is very easily sorted.

Although it’s the most common disabling neurological disease among young people, you have to bear in mind that MS is nevertheless still pretty rare - in the UK, estimates are around 1 in 1000 people, or 0.1%. So your symptoms are far more likely to be explained by something less drastic - and more treatable!

When you see the doctor, please do NOT present her with a list of anything even slightly weird that has ever happened to you (i.e. similar to what you’ve done here). Concentrate on a few of the most serious, troublesome, or persistent symptoms. Having a twitch when you were a child is unlikely to be relevant, for example. Neither is astigmatism that didn’t require correction - although I’m unsure why you wouldn’t need glasses if vision is faulty in one eye, as “the other eye compensates” doesn’t sound good enough, to me.

I have much worse vision in one eye than the other (nothing to do with MS, although I am a diagnosed person). No optician has ever suggested I didn’t need glasses, because: “The other eye’s OK”. I just have a much weaker prescription for one lens than the other. So I can only conclude you either didn’t have any sight defect worth worrying about - if you did, they should certainly have prescribed - or else you have a pretty poor and not very proactive optician. It’s not acceptable to say: “We won’t do anything, because the other eye’s alright.” You want the best vision you can get in both eyes, not one can’t see properly, but the other compensates! Or was it your own decision that it didn’t need fixing, because you prefer to avoid glasses or contact lenses?

Anyway, that’s all a bit of an aside, and doesn’t have much bearing on whether you do or don’t have MS. MS does commonly cause visual problems, but not astigmatism, specifically, which is caused by irregular curvature of the lens.

Your tiredness is readily explained, since you freely admit to not sleeping well at night, and to having a problem with nerves and anxiety - which can use up a lot of energy. So again, I don’t think this is pointing to serious systemic illness.

BUT, nobody can diagnose you - or give you the all clear - over the internet. You really do need to go to the doctor’s and discuss this. You need to prepare what you are going to raise, so you can do so in a calm and focused manner, as far as possible, and not bring up everything since the year dot, unless it was VERY serious. (E.g. an unexplained collapse or paralysis would be serious - even if it happened quite a few years ago - but not every twitch you once had).

Try to filter what you want to cover, so you are only concentrating on the most serious and distressing, not the vague or the minor.

I only say this because patients going in with a list of everything that ever happened, however trivial, is an immediate switch-off for some doctors. Yes, it’s true that sometimes the clue is in the very tiny detail of something that once happened, long ago. But for most major illnesses, the clue will be in the here-and-now. What are the most serious and pressing problems today?

Good luck, and please try to stay away from Google. Tiredness and pins and needles do not mean you should proceed to self-dignose with MS. I’m hopeful it’s something much less drastic.



RE astigmatism: the optician recommended a prescription to only be used for few activities (like reading presentation screens in lecture theatres, or driving in poor visibility), but it wasn’t absolutely needed, and since glasses are quite expensive I opted not to have them, I recently went back to the optician (18 months after my first diagnosis) and he said my left eye was a tiny bit worse than last time, but not enough to change his original prescription, this time I did take the glasses, but he made it clear only to wear them when I really needed them - and I so rarely use them I’m not sure why I got them. What I meant by my other eye compensating is when I use both my eyes my vision is ok, small text far away (like reading the ingredients of a shampoo bottle on my bedside table) are a little blurry, but general everyday vision isn’t really effected. But if I cover my good eye then my vision is bad (bad enough to make reading or driving difficult) but with both eyes open it sort of evens out, if you get what I mean. He said it’s very common to have one eye weaker than the other.

I’m going to see the doc anyway, just to put my mind at ease, but you’re right - I won’t bore him with my life history, I’m just going to ask about these recent jerks and abnormal sensations, because they’re not something I’ve expereinced before regularly, but I imagine my mind is to blame for most of this, and possibly a vitamin deficiency like you suggested.

Thanks so much for your help Tina, it’s such a relief to get a level-headed answer rather than the pit of fire which is google.

If you don’t know what is meant by fatigue, trust me, you have never experienced it. Likewise with the pins and needles - it has nothing to do with crossing/uncrossing legs.

You have already explained away your vertigo and your itching and twitching legs once a day is more likely to be from the way you were lying/sitting.

Nothing you have noted would shout MS to me…not even whisper it, however I am not a doctor.

Quit researching and get on with living. Google is great except when it throws out MS every time you type in something medical.


Ain’t that the truth Liz, ever taken an NHS symptom checker test? now that’s drama!

Hello and welcome :slight_smile:

I’m with Tina and Liz - I doubt very much that there is anything significant wrong with you, however do see a GP about the most serious of your current symptoms and take it from there. Fwiw, I would bet on you needing to sort out your diet and getting more sleep and exercise: it’s amazing what the body will do to try and make us notice that it’s not getting what it needs!

Karen x