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MS vs Spinal stenosis

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HI,
I'm a 49 yr old female with lumbar and cervical sttenosis ranging from mild to severe (severe only in 1 cervical forminal). I thought my symptoms were due to the stemosis. I just completed 3 months of PT which has helped a lot with pain management and am continuing in after care and now swimming. I saw a neurologist this week who doesn't think my sypmtoms are due to the stenosis and ordered a brain MRI with contrast. I'll have results net week. Spinal cord from previous MRI of spine showed no leisions.

My dx's range from TMJ, carpel tunnel, tennis elbow, shoulder bursitis, resltess leg syndrom, plantar fascitis, depression (though it si controlled with medication, exercise and a natural optomistic outlook) and of course spinal stenosis.

My symptoms are pain around (not in) most joints, numbess in lower left leg from knee to outside little toe, from left elbow to little finger, now sometimes in the right extremities and occassionally my face (bridge of nose, cheeks and around the mouth. I also have very hyperactive reflexes especially on the left side. I also have muscle guarding in my back and neck with occasional headaches. Muscle pain ranges from 2 to10 depending on what I've been doing. It can be electric, burning and sharp. I have many trigger points and most of the FMS tender pints (though the pain in those is vairiable too.) My legs and arms feel heavy most of the time and I am fatiqued whereas I used to be high energy.

Last fall and winter I had complete bladder incontinence several times. I was doing a lot of horseback riding at the time, riding hard, so I chalked it up to that. It's much better now that I ride less and very leisurely. I still have urgency and some leakage, but have learned to lean forward to completely empty my bladder which helps with that. I have weakenss in my lower left leg and foot (confirmed by both the PT and neuro. If I have a pain flare up or am tired I drag my left foot slightly. My hands and legs shake sometimes only slightly and sometimes it's extreme if I'm really tired, hurting or the slightest bit colld. I have no vision problems other than normal aging. My nerve conduction test and muscles (she listened with a needle) were fine.

The neuro said the facial numbness cannot be caused by stenosis and was concerned about my hyper reflexes. I've read on stenosis forums that both of these are common symptoms for those dx'd with it so am confused as to why the neuro said not related.

We did discuss the possiblity of fibro and maybe scarring on the brain from times when I've been knocked out (of course the MRI can tell us that.) Needless to say I am a little freaked out, especially as I thought we had ruled MS out a couple of months ago.

Can symptoms like intermittent facial numbness,varying pain and weakness be symptomatic of MS? I thought that symptoms were more constant and progressive?

Thanks for any imput.
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replied September 27th, 2008
Community Volunteer
Don't freak. It is good that you will have a brain MRI next week. Will it be with and without contract? The symptoms that you are describing can be consistent with MS however there are a few disease that mimic MS and visa-versa. I have had these symptoms on and off for 8 years and I am able to live a full, productive life with my MS.

If it turns out that you do have MS, there is a great support system within the MS community. You also mention Fibro, that's odd because I was dx'd with Fibro not too long after MS was given. I actually cured my Fibro this year by eating foods that do not cause inflammation & Fibo is an inflammatory disease and inflammation generally begins in the digestive tract and then migrates to the muscles, cells, etc...google his name, Asa Andrew he's wearing blue with a green apple (book).

You state that "I thought that symtpoms were more constant and progressive". MS is a tricky disease. We in the MS community call it MonSter. It shows its ugly head when it wants however there are things that one can do to tame it or even put it to sleep for a while. There are four types of MS. (short version)

RRMS (Relapsing Remitting MS). This is the most common, flares can happen which brings back problems like a heavy leg, stays for a bit and then leaves.

PPMS (Primary Progressive MS). This is where the disease itself progessively gets worse over time.

SPMS (Secondar Progressive MS). Some RRMS patients will become SPMS after 20 plus years. Other patients never leave RRMS status.

Benign MS: A person has MS but it really causes very little or no disruption in the persons life.

If you google MS you would be able to find out all kinds of information regarding this disease along with other disease that mimic such.

I have six lesions on my brain and that was 8 years ago and the MRI that I had last year showed no more (initially I had one every 6 months and then every year thereafter...including my spine). Spinal lesions cause more disability, like loss of walking, etc... So I am thankful that mine are in my noggin.

MS: Unpredictable Disease of the Central Nervous System.

I always loved being spontaneous...however this is not what I meant.

Good luck and keep us posted. If you want to you can PM (private message) me.

Did you ever serve in the military? I have a reason for this question...

~Zig
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replied September 27th, 2008
Zig
HI Zig,
I don't now how to PM on this site. Thanks for your feedback... I really apprciate it. I've been doing some research on MS and have found that my symptoms seem to match not only MS but stenosis (which I know I have) and other dzs. My neuro sent me for a brain MRI with contrast immediately after her exam last Thursday, so we are just waiting for the results.
To answer your ?, no I've never served in the military. I assume your wondering about a connection between MS and some exposure?

Thanks again. Let me know how to PM and I'd be happy to.
Lauren
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replied September 27th, 2008
Community Volunteer
I got you PM and responded.

I hope your results are negative for MS however if it is there are great and wonderful support, resources and meds just for MS.

Yes there is a connection with military personnel being stricken with MS...dog-gone, one of those injections turned on an inactive gene, just so happens I had that that inactive gene and would have stayed inactive had I not gone active duty. I cant change the past however I can change my future, I'm in the drivers seat.

Best Wishes Lauren!

~Zig
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replied November 29th, 2011
military duty connection to ms
Hi, I'm currently undiagnosed with anything except hypothyroid (haven't been tested for anything either.) But I've had symptoms of neurological issues for a while. I've really been trying to ignore it and hope it all goes away. Now though, I've developed other symptoms that are getting progressively more difficult to ignore...like a lot of burning pain especially in my spine and other areas. Anyway, I was just searching around before I make the call to my family doctor tomorrow. I was going to ask for a referral to a rheumatologist because of the burning spine pain and other joint pain. I served in the military and also received all those injections. I was just wondering if I could get more information about that.
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replied March 17th, 2009
Many Of the same symptoms...
My orthopedic AND my NEUROSURGEON told me that there is NO WAY the facial numbness..(Left eye, cheek, tongue and now left side of head)...no way it is related to the cervical stenosis (c4 c5 c6....I think) .....
I have not gotten results of MRI on brain yet...

BUT, I spent one hour with the pain doctor THEY sent me to and he explained that OF COURSE the nerves in face and head can be pinched from the vertebrae in neck!!

Who do I believe??? I can tell you that it FEELS like it comes from the neck....

I am going to try the pain injection in the neck and wait and see what nuero says in two weeks.....CRAZY
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replied June 21st, 2012
Wow! what a lot of prognosis to ingest..the trouble with today's Doctor's is that they all generalize what you might have, not actually what you have..I had polio in 1967 and it put me in a coma for 3 days, after which I had temp paralysis in my rt. leg for 3 years, then gradually went away but left me weak in rt leg..well, 30 years later I started developing numbness in my rt. foot, and now 15 years later I have numb feet[both] and numb calves with weakness behind both knees, and I can walk 300' before resting..a neuroligist said that I had no response to pin tests in lower calve and feet in pereneal and tibial nerves..all my symptoms point to MS, but no-one will commit a prognosis to it..I am now 70, no mri done[cannot afford to get one] and pretty much seems like this will get worse month by month for me until I am no longer walking..I have been an active adult all my life, and in good shape healthwise..what do you think? TCarlson, Antelope, Ca.
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replied June 22nd, 2012
TCarlson, continued: I also forgot to mention that last year, 2011, I went thru 8 weeks of physical therapy for leg and back strengthening, and 6 months of chiropractic work on rt. hip sacchariliac joint, which helped me walk straighter..I also underwent an annual medicare physical exam, with 2 ekg exams, the first was mis-diagnosed by the first doctor's nurse, including my blood pressure readings, followed up with an immediate visit to a cardiologist, which gave me correct readings, and I was 127/82 with a slight out of rythm in heartbeat..the first doctor freaked out when his nurse did the first readings, and wanted me to go see a cardiologist immediately..all blood workups done showed a slight fatty liver...everything else was normal..I was sent to a neurologist for pin tests to my leg nerves which was done..that doctor gave me no information at all, I had to call and get a report sent to me, the original geriatric doctor just said I had nerve damage and would not go into detail, even tho I had paid the neurologist a $110 copay...this was an annual medicare physical exam, my co payments were in excess of $1100. all because of an innept first doctor who claimed to be a Geriatrics specialist...can you beleive this! To this day I still do not know the cause of my numb feet and lower legs, with weakness behind both knees..a big deal for walking is doing my weekly grocery shopping of about 8 isles and also unloading from my car into house each week..I can do it but it leaves me very tired. I take naps in afternoon..any suggestions? I think it is mainly spinal stenosis, but seems like MS in about 40% of symptoms I go thru...I take lots of B vitamins also..
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