MS or not who knows?

Hi there just wondering if anyone can help or suggest anything. I have got MS myself but a friend of mine has been having issues over a number of years which are increasingly getting worse. They include the following:-

  1. Constant Sciatica (recent)

  2. Balance problems/fall over a fair bit - over 15 years

  3. Pins & needles/numbness on occasion

  4. Dropped foot - last few years (getting worse)

There may be others but i don’t know about them.

They have had an MRI scan on their spine and legs plus a brain MRI and nothing showed up. They have also had electrical nerve tests done which only showed a minor issue.

Neurologist seems to be useless and is putting it all down to back problems from years ago due to their job. I’m adamant its a neurological problem and i think they think so too.

What other tests can be done? anyone suggest? Or anyone had similar issues in getting a diagnosis. Doctors just don’t seem to want to help.

Any help would be greatly appreciated x

Lumbar Puncture, full blood tests as could be vitamin deficiency. Not really too sure about any others as I was diagnosed on MRI and symptoms.

Hi, had umpteen tests meself…nothing positive for MS on any.

Been diagnosed wrongly with PPMS and on and off the MS carousel more times than you could shake a stick at!

I presented very typically as PPMS…now got no mobility at all. Am hoisted. Have spc as bladder all over the place. Bowels similar.

In fact, all quite similar to your friend.

My current semi diagnosis is;

spastic paraparesis/cause unknown, could be genetic.

15 years since walking problems began.

Any help?


Hi Anon,

Because you have MS yourself, I think it’s probably natural that you’re fine-tuned to the possibility of that.

But there are literally hundreds of mimics. Clear MRIs, whilst they can’t categorically rule out MS, do make it a lot less likely - especially the longer things have been going on. It seems highly unlikely someone would have troubles for literally years, but still nothing to show on MRI (if it was MS, that is).

“Back problems” and “neurological problems” are not mutually exclusive, as they may mean it’s a back problem which is causing nerve impingement somewhere - hence the neurological symptoms. Although I would have thought mechanical impingement of the spinal cord, or any other major nerve, would have shown on MRI, just as much as MS would.

I don’t think it’s necessarily the case that doctors “don’t want to help”, but their hands are rather tied, if tests don’t produce any compelling evidence. Treating on a hunch is a bit of a risky business.