Monday, August 10, 2009

The Rare Side of MS

Ah, the “joys” of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) – well, that’s an oxymoron – but hey you have to keep up a positive attitude no matter what, right? So, on the fun loving note, today I am going to be discussing some of the rarer symptoms that may occur during the progression of MS. It is widely understood that MS is different for each person – one can experience one thing (such as change of gait) while another person may not have that effect at all. At one point in time a person may run the gambit of all the symptoms (another blog for another time). So let’s get to some of the rarer symptoms:

Trigeminal neuraligia: Neuraligia means “nerve pains”. This symptom causes severe shock-like or burning pain in the face lasting up a few seconds up to a few minutes per episode and usually along the cheek or jaw line. Some feel a numbness or tingling before the episode. This is actually one of the more common or the rarer symptoms.

Gloss-pharyngeal neuralgia: These severe pains show up in the tongue, throat ears, and/or tonsils (if you still have them) as shocks or burning sensations. These can last up to a few moments for be as brief as a few seconds. These symptoms can be brought on (triggered) by chewing, laughing, swallowing, speaking or coughing.

L’hermitte’s sign: This symptom allows the person to suffer from sudden “electric” sensations that run down their spin and legs when the neck is flexed (bent forward, looking down). This pain confirms that there is demyelination in the neck area. I suffer from this and do have demyelination in my neck – I just call it my personal wake up call every time I look down. It is not that bad and you do get use to it.

Paroxysmal symptoms: These are sudden and momentary spasms of an arm or leg and often confused with seizures. Sometimes they are can also occur in the muscles used for speech or swallowing. They are a result of abnormal electrical discharges in the brain that have been damaged or scarred.

Pseudobular affect: commonly called an emotional incontinence and is characterized by uncontrolled laughing or crying that follows no emotion reasons or feelings. This is a result in damaged to the area of the brain that controls emotions. Further, it can cause a person suffering from this to become withdrawn or isolated because it can be embarrassing.

Pruritis: “itching” along the lines of “dysesthesias”. This form of itching is neurologically (nerve) based, it will not respond to normal topical ointments. It further can occur on any part of the body, but mostly on hands, arms, legs and feet.

If you begin to experience any of these, you should speak with your doctor as there may be options that can help you overcome these symptoms and continue on with more important things. Until next time, smile when you want to, cry when you need to and laugh whenever possible.

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