Surely I'm Too Old

I am 78 years old. I have been suffering for some years from spinal problems now diagnosed as Spinal Stenosis with associated arthritis. I need to use a wheelchair to go any distance. I use Buprenorphine patches for pain relief fairly effectively.

I have recently experienced several episodes of complete loss of balance. Not the room spinning dizziness but loss of balance to the degree that I am unable to stand without support. My Doctor suspected a slight stroke but a CT scan showed no bleed.

She carried out a series of tests and referred me to the Brain Unit at Southmead Hospital Bristol. The neurologist is organising an MRI which is awaited. From enquiries I have made it would appear highly unlikely that Parkinsons is to blame but I have other symptoms which I am told suggest MS. Bladder problems, areas of severe itching enough to drive you mad with no visible skin cause. Some of the tests which I have had I have clearly failed and my doctor remains concerned.

If I am being stupid and inconveniencing you I apologise. I am, apart from the spinal problems, young for my age and until recently fairly fit and up together but lately the brain box hasn’t been able to function as it should.

Surely I am way too old for MS which all my symptoms seem to point to.

Best wishes to all


Hi John,

Firstly, and most importantly, if you have been told that your symptoms suggest MS you are very welcome to the forum and ask as many questions as you like.

I’m not qualified to comment on your diagnosis but MS is full of surprises. It seems to be fairly common that people over the age of 45 were thought to be too old to have developed MS. I was told that I was too old at the age of 55, eight years ago.

I hope your problem is one that can easily be sorted out.

If not, you can always ask us more questions.

Best wishes,


That all sounds a bore for you, but is rather interesting for your the medics, I should think! I expect they have been taking a very careful history, trying to shake out any memories over the past 50 years or so of any unexplained symptoms that (perhaps) came and went and have been long forgotten. I hope they get to the bottom of your troubles soon and find a way of helping. Wouldn’t it be nice if new knowledge helped them to address those persistent spinal troubles too, and the associated pain? Here’s hoping… And you are most welcome on here, of course, whether you turn out to qualify as a card-carrying member or not! Alison

My neuro told me that he had had an 86 year old patient recently dx’d with MS, when I said that I thought that I was too old… at 66.

I’m not over the moon about it; but, hey, it could be far worse… And, to be dx’d as a pensioner must be infinitely better than being dx’d as a 20 year old…

I’ll feel a lot happier when I’ve got an MS nurse, a neuro physio, a stairlift, or better still, a small bungalow with a small, south facing back garden…


I was diagnosed in 2008 just a few days before my 50th birthday,

i told my neuro that i had weird stuff happening since i started high school.

these episodes passed and were instantly forgotten.

i’m glad that ms wasn’t mentioned until 2008 because i’d have missed out on some wild times at glastonbury!

as we say round here (bolton and wigan) it’ll be reet.

take care

carole x

Thank you all for your interest and support. I didn’t go into great detail on all the symptoms that I’ve been having. I have been particularly concerned over the apparent loss of brain efficiency. I have been, until fairly recently, the elected leader of a local authority with all the meetings etc that go with that, but now I find it difficult to even find the right words to form a coherent sentence . Is that what you mean by ‘brain fog’? Other things like the numbness and pins and needles down my left arm into my hand are just a nuisance and I have learned not to trust that limb too much. Cups of coffee spilt in the lap is not an enjoyable experience.

I am still awaiting the detailed report from the consultant neurologist and the appointment for the MRI and ‘other tests’. I expect that will take some time.

I have to say that I am not upset or unduly worried by what is happening. At my age every day is a bonus but obviously I would like to know what is causing all these problems. My doctor refuses to believe it is all connected with my spinal issues or my age. I think it is because she has known me for some time that the concerns remain.


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Finally had loads of tests and a full MRI Head and C Spine. I do not have LOMS nor Parkinsons. The confirmed diagnosis is NPH Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus. The only way of treating this condition is surgery. Drilling through the skull and inserting a valved drain tube into the ventricles of the brain and running the tube under the skin all the way through the body down to the abdomen where the surplus Cerebro Spinal Fluid can be safely absorbed. This will release the pressure on the brain and let the ventricles reduce to normal size. Getting rid of all the nasty symptoms.

Can’t say I’m looking forward to that but if it works that will be great.

So I must leave you with my thanks for your interest and support and my best wishes for you all.


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Hi John,

That is very good news indeed. It all sounds very gory but, as you’ll be under a general anaesthetic when it happens, you won’t know a thing about it.

I’m delighted that the forum has been of some support to you during the last couple of months. It’s good to meet “the one that got away”.

Best wishes,


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Hello John

Wow, the medical marvels they can now do, it’s incredible.

I’m very happy for your sake it’s not MS.

Best of luck with the operation. I do hope your cognitive function repairs itself with the release of pressure.