Tips to help whilst waiting for diagnosis

Hi all,

Just a quick explanation of why I am asking for tips.

I first woke with shooting pains in my arm at Christmas 2011. At the time, I thought it was a trapped nerve and although this affected the use of my right arm and the pain lasted for a couple of days it completely disappeared. I was absolutely fine until 5 months later when the same thing happened, at night. It didn’t last quite as long but the same kind of pain and painkillers wouldn’t touch it.

At this point, I went to the GP - just for reassurance and was referred to the neurologist. At the time I thought this was excessive and was worried it might be a waste of NHS resources as I thought it might still be a nerve problem or RSI, but was pleased that something was being done.

Unfortunately, I had to wait until December 2012 for the neurology appointment when I was referred for an EMG and an MRI. Whilst waiting for the appointment the shooting came back several times and my arm has seemingly not returned to normal between the pain attacks when it feels ‘altered’ (tingly, numb, cold, sensitive to temperatures, like I have been holding a vibrating object for a long time and I also get frequent pain in my right shoulder blade). However, other than this I have been largely fine - except tired which I put down to being older (Although, I am only in my 30s!). I haven’t so far had any visual disturbances except for one episode which was put down to a floater and not connected.

When I went to get my results in April 2013 I was informed that the EMG was clear but that the MRI showed evidence of nerve inflammation and that they wanted to do a repeat MRI of the cervical spine and the brain.

At the same period I also discovered I was pregnant and my consultant has since advised that I can wait to have the MRI until after the baby arrives as even if they confirmed MS, they would wait a year to monitor its progession. When I asked the consultant what the range of things it could be, he did tell me that most cases such as this turn out to be MS.

I understand that MS is difficult to diagnose and that there are many different types of forms of MS and although obviously concerned, know that I have the support around me to deal with whatever the problem may be. And there is still a big if of what it could be.

I also know, that pregnancy can help ease problems. However, I hadn’t had the shooting pain for a number of months - Since October 2012 (although the arm continued to feel altered) and this weekend the shooting pain came back, lasted all weekend and I am still currently finding the arm weaker and have difficulty in using it for long periods of time or holding heavy objects.

Now, that I have told my story, my question really is - whist I am waiting for the diagnosis is there anything positive I can be doing to keep the pain at bay, ease the pain or strengthen my muscles (I try and swim regularly,but is there other excercise I can do and does massage or anything else help?) -so that if I am diagnosed I am starting the right things now not waiting until next year.

I have today been wearing a wrist support at work, as this helps to ease the pain on use (and reminds me to give myself regular rests from typing) but just hope that this isn’t the wrong thing to do?

Thanks in advance for any advice. I appreciate your help.

You could take Vit D tablets and Vit B tablets (check with your GP for a same dose in pregnancy or with the health food shop) and you could try a gentle exercise like yoga. I have found yoga to be very beneficial as it gently stretches the muscles and helps with aches and pains.

If you can afford it see if anyone in your area offers the alternative therapy Bowen Technique. I had it twice to free a frozen shoulder and felt great afterwards. Not immediately afterwards (it made me feel extremely tired straight afterwards) but a few days later I really felt the benefit. It’s not cheap though - an hour session cost me £40. It should be perfectly safe in pregnancy as it is not invasive and is even more gentle than massage.

Tracey x