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Is there any way all this could just be a trapped nerve?

I know I’m going round and round in circles here but early January, I thought I had shingles on my forehead which then spread down to my hand and then my left leg went weak at the same time my face drooped (all on the left). With time this corrected itself. Whilst I still have a slightly numb sensation, it’s not so bad now but I’m left with a weak left leg (it seems much weaker some days than others for some reason though?)

Then last week I noticed I was numb around my mid-section but on the right this time (stopping exactly in the middle), as my consultant was on his hols (he’d told me to ring him immediately if I had any new symptoms), I logged the info with my GP over the phone, for the record. This numbness is now right down to my foot on the right hand side from under my boobs.

I was at the hairdressers on Thursday and went to pay and felt all dizzy/lightheaded although was okay after about 10 minutes and I feel mildly unco-ordinated when I walk (although this could be down to my weak left leg I guess?) and I don’t quite feel with it, hard to describe.

I had several lesions on my MRI and my spinal fluid showed that I had inflammation. My VER was normal and I have my Cervical Spinal MRI next Friday.

Is there any way I could have something like a trapped nerve and it not be MS at all do you think? Why are they not investigating that? or is it that my symptoms just don’t point to it? I was wondering why they don’t do an MRI of the whole of my back rather than just my neck? who’s to say it isn’t a tumour on my spine somewhere?

Hi Tricky,

I’m sorry to say that I think you are rather clutching at straws here. There is no way a single “trapped nerve” could cause such widespread symptoms, and lesions in your brain, and abnormalities in your spinal fluid as well.

Having said all that, I do not think it is inevitable you have MS, either. Some people have just a single MS-like episode, which is never repeated, and so never go on to be diagnosed with MS.

There are also other conditions that could potentially cause brain lesions, and abnormalities in your lumbar puncture result - but they tend to be rarer than MS.

MS lesions are most common in the brain, and top part of the spinal cord, which is why scans typically focus on those areas. I did have a lesion much lower, at chest level, but the chances of having one only there, without any in your brain, or further up in the spinal cord, are fairly small.

That’s why they look first in places most likely to show evidence. Lesions in your brain tend to rule out a single much lower tumour in your spine as the cause, which is why they’re not looking for one. Similarly, a cord tumour wouldn’t - as far as I know - cause abnormalities in your LP results.

So now you have two lots of tests that suggest it’s some kind of inflammatory process going on, and not mechanical obstruction of the cord.

I’m afraid all you can do now is wait it out. This can be tough, because even if symptoms and medical evidence are all there, it must be established beyond doubt that it’s an ongoing problem, and not just a one-off. Sometimes this can involve just waiting to see if anything else happens. Sometimes an answer will come in just weeks, because a new attack happens very soon. But some people go years, or indeed the rest of their lives, without it happening again.

Do report everything that happens, because an attack in early January, coupled with a seemingly new one three months later may be enough to prove the point that it’s not a one-off thing.

Diagnosis is not something anybody looks forward to, but on the other hand, it’s sometimes better to know outright what we’re dealing with, and not face months or years of doubt and uncertainty. It may sound strange, but I was almost relieved to be diagnosed with something big, and to find I wasn’t just lazy, or some kind of health neurotic, who keeps fretting about imaginary ailments.

Tina

x

I second Tina. I’m afraid I think you’re clutching at straws here too :frowning:

I also think that a spinal tumour is very very unlikely. The fact you have brain lesions and a positive LP means that the runaway favourite for what’s causing your current symptoms is a new lesion. Based on what you’ve said, my money would be on a thoracic lesion. You may not need to have a thoracic scan though - it all depends on whether or not it’s needed to confirm your diagnosis.

It sounds very much like you’re relapsing so please rest as much as possible and be kind to yourself - it’s about the only way I know to get through it as quickly as possible without steroids.

Karen x

Hmm, thank you, I guess I know this already but just wondered if there was a chance it could be something else.

I’m going to make an appointment with my GP this week just to discuss all the recent symptoms.

I have critical illness cover and I would like it recorded in case I’m able to claim at a later date (although I suspect there will be some “get-out” clause in there somewhere). x

Hi Tricky, MS is covered as a named condition on most critical illness policies, so confirmed diagnosis by a recognised MS specialist is usually the key piece of evidence - not the list of symptoms as reported to your GP. Some policies stipulate that there must be some kind of continuing impairment for six months or more before they will pay out - but again, they will look for concrete evidence - e.g. the findings of a physio - rather than what you’ve told your GP. The reason they don’t really use what you’ve said to the GP as evidence is there’s no independent proof of it (unless there is some kind of test that can verify what you’ve said - true for some symptoms, but not of things like pain…), and claimants themselves are hardly neutral witnesses - if the payout was based on what they tell their GP, then obviously they’d be bound to say everything is dreadful! I’m not saying yours isn’t dreadful - it’s just that every patient would say that, if they thought it would get them the insurance money. That’s why it’s not what they use to decide! Diagnosis is the single biggest thing. Without it, a critical illness payout is virtually impossible, no matter how many symptoms are on record at the GP’s. Tina

Hi Tricky

I’m no expert and tend to agree with what the others have said but will just add that I had similar symptoms and on scanning my cervical spine they discovered that I had slipped a disc in my neck and trapped my cord. It meant surgery but the operation is not the big thing it used to be. I was home the following day, admittedly with many restrictions, and just a scar on my neck folds. Please don’t think that will definitely be the case for you, but it’s possible, and if so, going for your scan may be beneficial.

If this does happen to be the case I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have as honestly as I can.

Good luck and please let us know what happens.

Min xx