Numb Hand

Hi all, I finally received a phone call from neoro’s secretary yesterday who confirmed that they had finally agreed to change my referral from routine to urgent (2 written requests and phone call from gp later). Hopefully now I should be seen within 3-4 weeks or if not sooner. I’ve had pins and needles in my lower right arm and arm for some time, only yesterday when at work my hand went numb and arm felt very heavy. Over the course of the day my hand had swelled up and it became more difficult to bend my fingers. The swelling has gone down a little today but numbness and pins and needles are still there. Is it normal for limbs to swell when numb? Has this happened to anyone else? Jane x

Hi Jane,

This question comes up quite a lot, and no, in my opinion, it isn’t “normal” for visible external swelling to be associated with MS.

Some people who are quite severely affected may get fluid retention, particularly in the lower limbs, due to limited mobility. But I have never, ever been able to see anything unusual on the outside, no matter how abnormal various bits of me have felt at different times.

I’m not saying it’s impossible - ultimately, the brain controls everything, so I suppose it could theoretically screw up in some way that causes swelling - it’s just that it’s not a usual symptom of MS. It sounds more like a circulatory problem, or even an injury. It’s quite common to have the sensation something’s swollen - but when you look at it, everything’s fine.



Pins and needles and numbness is a fairly common symptom yes. I’m still waiting dx and have regularly got a numb hand, knee and fore arm on the left side. I’ve never heard of anything swelling though so big hugs and hope it dies down and doesn’t return!! Definitely good news with the upgrade to urgent referral though!! I was lucky enough to get that straight off but it seems to differ doctor to doctor!! :-s