Not sure if I have MS - how can I find out?

Hi - I’m new to the forum and the world of MS, and feeling a bit awkward here. Not even sure if I should be here, really.

i have had a mysterious numbness in my left abdomen for 3 years now. I saw a neurologist who confirmed nerve damage, but had no idea why and told me to come back if it worsened. Initially there was numbness in my legs, arms and foot as well, but all that resolved in 4-6 weeks. Everything except the abdominal numbness. It is not deep, and feels exactly like when your arm is just starting to fall asleep.

An acquaintance who has MS suggested it could well be MS. But how would I find out? When I go to the GP I always give an update (the numbness is fairly stable, though some day-to-day variation on intensity, over an area about 6" in diameter), but nobody besides me seems interested in figuring out what is the cause. I do have private insurance and wonder if that might be helpful here? But I wouldn’t know who to approach or what to ask for.

Any ideas or pointers would be really appreciated. I do live in Scotland and know we have a relatively high incidence of MS, so I would like to get it checked out.


Forgot to mention - in the last year my lower back has gotten incredibly tight, and in general my flexibility has decreased markedly. I started doing a lot of stretching which helps, but there has been a massive increase in tightness. My lower back has ached for years, but this is different, and when I get up I often walk like a 70-year-old for a minute or two (and I am 50). I read that muscle tightness can be a sign of MS, otherwise would’ve continued to think the tightness wasn’t related.

I also do tire pretty easily, though have developed ways to cope with that. I thought it was just part of aging but then again friends 10 years older have a lot more stamina. I can keep up for a few hours but then need to lie down while they go off and are active the rest of the day.

hi lin

see your gp and keep him/her updated on your symptoms.

this will then be entered on your medical records and your neuro will have access to these.

although you aren’t diagnosed you could still attend your local ms society group who often have t’ai chi classes.

the ms therapy centres are excellent and run yoga, pilates, t’ai chi and more.

good luck

carole x

Hi Lin

Your only choices are to do just like carole says - lay the whole thing on your GP, or to see a neurologist privately.

If you have the money (average £120-£150) this can be a fast way into the NHS system. If you pick the right Neuro, he/she will either identify the problem more clearly, or refer you to his/her NHS clinic.


Hi - it has been over 2 yrs since my last post! I didn’t follow up because the neurologist I saw just said that there was nerve damage but he had no idea what caused it. So he said he wouldn’t do anything, and to come back if it got worse.

For a long while I’ve had a faint numbness in my toe (like the abdominal numbness, it’s on the left), but in the last 10 days it has spread to the toes and upper bottom foot. It’s so numb that I’m very surprised it’s not throwing my balance off.

Then this morning there is a numbness on the outter upper left arm. And in the upper part of the left ear.

It’s all a bit freaky. It takes a few days to get a gp appt, and I was told to call back tomorrow for (hopefully) a Wednesday appt.

I’ve also had ‘shakey’ vision – usually at night, with car tail-lights looking like they are bobbing up & down every so often; but last weekend there was a shakiness during the day, only a few seconds but quite marked, when I was over-tired and taking part in a board meeting.

How much of this is consistent with MS? I’m not quite sure what to say to my doctor, if these things might be related or not.

Feeling a bit lost here and grateful for any advice.

Hi Lin

It sounds like you might benefit from another referral to a neurologist from your GP. Unless you get in touch with the neurologists secretary and ask if you can now have another appointment. As he’d said come back if it gets worse.

It’s impossible to say whether the symptoms you have are typical of MS just from what you’ve written. You really need to see a neurologist and have them check you out properly.

I hope you manage to get an appointment and to get some answers.


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