Odd sensations and a negative diagnosis make for plenty of questions

Some background first. My father has progressive MS (diagnosed five years ago), although with hindsight he had probably been exhibiting symptoms for much longer.

Earlier this year, I experienced a numb forefinger and what I would describe as a “sticky” ring finger, both on my right hand. These sensations left me after a few weeks, and I put them down a trapped nerve. In recent weeks, however, I have been experiencing much more persistent and widespread unexplained sensations (numbness in my right wrist, pin pricking sensations in my right foot which are sometimes accompanied by heat, pains in the back of my head, pain in the middle of my spine, a sore neck). Frankly, these are highly concerning.

Given my family history, I arranged to see a neurologist quickly through BUPA and subsequently had an MRI scan. On the basis of my reaction to the neurologist’s various physical checks and an MRI scan that showed no lesions, he pronounced me clear of MS. As the sensations I’m feeling have worsened since the scan, I am becoming less confident that his assessment is correct. I am awaiting results of a subsequent blood test from my GP to look at other possible causes for these feelings, but I am inclined to think MS is the logical reason given my family history and age (39). To add a complicating factor, my wife and I have recently been going through an incredibly stressful event in our family life. Could these sensations be stress-related? It strikes me as being a coincidence rather than cause. My neurologist, aware of the event happening in my family life, suggested further tests when that issue had settled down (which could be a few more months yet). But I’m wondering if I should encourage him to revisit his original assessment and soon. In that context, would a lumber puncture test help?

Thanks for any light you can shed on the above.

Hi there. I’ve only very recently been diagnosed with MS, but with a science background and an interest in medicine and my presentating symptoms, it did not come as too much of a surprise that I had MS. I knew that there was definitely something neurological going on and that’s why tests are so important- to gain a definite diagnosis! Bearing in mind that your Father has MS, theoretically, you are at slightly higher risk of developing the disease yourself. You’ve now had an MRI scan and that has shown no lesions which is excellent news. Before I got to the end of your message, I was checking to see whether or not you had had a lumbar puncture- you haven’t. I would definitely get this performed as soon as you can. The lumbar puncture will test for antibodies which, if present, would indicate that your CNS has been fighting an infection and therefore enable your Consultant to make a conclusive diagnosis or arrange for further tests to be performed, if necessary. Be thankful that you have BUPA cover. I have BUPA too and am very glad I have. Good luck!

Just wanted to give advice as much as possible. Stress can cause problems and can cause anxiety so I think that to some extent the neurologist is right in relation to waiting for things to settle down a bit and seeing how you are in a few months time. A lp shouldn’t be one of the first tests done as its an evasive procedure which again could be negative and then you would be back to square one. There are numerous conditions that cause symptoms like you are experiencing. You mentioned that they have sent you for blood tests and you are awaiting the results. Try and remain calm and open minded for the time being. The blood results may show something like a vitamin b12 deficiency etc which could explain your symptoms. Keep us posted on your blood results but in the meantime I hope you start to feel improvement in your symptoms. K x