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Symptoms and "Sides"
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Symptoms and "Sides"

Hi guys,

I keep seeing this come up and asked about it in a different thread, but it got buried.

I was wondering if we could clarify the issue of MS and sx presentation on one side or the other or both. I'll use my symptoms as an example.

My sx started with numbness/pain/weakness in my left leg. For two weeks that was all I had, then my left arm became numb/painful/weak, as well as numbness in my "unmentionables ". Then came the tremors, mostly on the left side, but also in my right hand. Now my right leg is weak and gives out on me. So...I've been told that MS presents on one side of the body...but can it "SPREAD" to other parts of the body?

It seems as if I've seen lots of folks with an MS dx mention such a thing happening...sx starting in one spot and "spreading" to others. So what does it mean when people say that MS presents on one side only?

I'm so confused!

Also, I'm confused regarding the peripheral vs central thing. While MS is rooted in the CNS, the sx can present as peripheral, right? Because peripheral neuropathy can be caused by MS or other auto-immune diseases?

Thanks, everyone!
9 Comments Post a Comment
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667078_tn?1316004535
The main thing is MS is does not usually present equally on both sides. Yes it can start on one side and then spread to the other side over time. I have different areas of the body on both sides.

Alex
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1936411_tn?1333835449
I would second what Alex has stated. My last flare started in my left hand. Within a few months, it was affecting both of my feet as well, but was more pronounced on my right side.

Regarding your question: "Also, I'm confused regarding the peripheral vs central thing. While MS is rooted in the CNS, the sx can present as peripheral, right? Because peripheral neuropathy can be caused by MS or other auto-immune diseases? " ...

Peripheral neuropathy is when nerve damage is located outside of the CNS. MS damage is always within the CNS. Hence, MS does not cause peripheral neuropathy. However, because the nerve signals that move your limbs originate in the brain, then travel through the spinal cord and down the peripheral nerves to get to your limbs, MS can cause peripheral symptoms.

Maybe... Think of the nerve signals as a bowling ball being thrown down a bowling lane to strike the pins. If you throw the ball, but something stops it before it hits the ground and enters the bowling lane, the pins will never move.

- Jane
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2015036_tn?1333001388
Yep, HVAC, and JaneK did a great job of explaining.  I do have a few minor issues on my right side, but my left side is very bad.  

Tammy
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987762_tn?1331031553
Good morning,

I have to admit to being a little confused, in your other post I responded to, you described your sx quite differently, which is where some of your confusion maybe coming from. In that post I wrote....

" I know you've asked for ideas besides MS but i dont actually think it sounds like MS either. The reason why is that you've said  "I have been experiencing tingling and near numbness that starts in my left arm, then moves to my right arm, then my legs." for this to be MS it would be highly unusual because MS doesn't move or travel from limb to limb like you've described.

Sx that travel to encorporate entire limbs and or move around and or cross over the body and or are in all 4 limbs, are typically 'red flags' leading away from CNS conditions like MS, simply due to the nature of the damage caused by CNS diseases. I really dont have much of an idea of what it could be, but because your sx seem to be mainly in your limbs, it might be worth looking at conditions that are 'peripheral' in nature. "

I see "spreading" like you described your sx's before "....tingling and near numbness that starts in my left arm, then moves to my right arm, then my legs." MS doesn't 'spread' in this manner, I'm not even sure its possible. Maybe its just the word 'spread/spreading' thats part of the confusion too, with MS its more of an accumulation of sx's 'over time'. If you look at the sx of tingling, to be consistent with MS it would 'typically present' in parts of a limb and or in splotches/patches/areas etc. on one side of the body.

Over time, a pwMS will experience numerous attacks to their central nervous system, adding new lesions and demylenation to the older lesions that still can. These new lesions are whats the likely cause of new sx's, remember its an accumulation so their pre-existing sx reapear or worsen along with the apearance of this new additional sx. 'Over time a pwMS will typically end up developing sx on both sides of their body, but it would be highly unusual for their sx to be exactly the same, like a miror image.

Thankfully Jane's explained everything very well, the key things I got from whats she's said was that, MS can cause peripheral 'symptoms' but MS doesn't cause peripheral 'neuropathy' which is a really good point to remember.

Cheers.........JJ

PS still learning to use less words lol not there yet, as you can plainly see.

I hope that helped    
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572651_tn?1333939396
I'm glad you put this question in a new post so we can talk about it a bit.  In the thread this was on before, the person said the symptoms moved and would start in one arm and move up and around to the other side.  MS  tingling/numbness/weakness doesn't move in that fashion. Our symptoms pretty much pick a problem spot and stay put with the exception of L'hermittes, which is an electrical zapping that travels like a lightning bolt.  

As for presenting on both sides, can we review just a couple things that might help.  Each side of the body is controlled by a different side of the central nervous system.  For symptoms to be the same on both sides, it would take virtually identically placed lesions to make that happen.  And in the case of MS, that would be unusual, not impossible, but still unusual.

What is not unusual is to have symptoms on both sides of the body, but in different spots.  You could have a weak left arm and a numb right leg.  Those symptoms would be cause by different lesions placed in different spots.  

It's late for me and I'm a bit muddle brained so I hope I have stated this clearly.  It is all so confusing and takes some time to figure it out.  

be well, Lulu
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Avatar_f_tn
I think you have me confused with a different poster -- the original poster on the buried thread. :)

Her symptoms are different than mine.

But thank you, regardless, for the explanation, LOL!
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987762_tn?1331031553
WOOOPS i was just reading lulu's post and then the penny dropped, lol no wonder your sx were so different, that was someone else on the planet, sorry about that [rolling my eyes at my stupidity]!

OK um try reading from "Sx that travel to encorporate entire limbs and or move around and or cross over the body and or are in all 4 limbs, are typically 'red flags' leading away from CNS conditions like MS, simply due to the nature of the damage caused by CNS diseases."

skip to the next para and change it to: I see 'spreading' as someone else described..... UM so is better or did i just confusing you even more, lol i'm obviously having a bad cog day. lol

again sorry!

Tail between my legs...........JJ
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you, Alex, Jane, Lulu, and JJ for your responses. That definitely helps clear up the matter.

I was just trying to align different things I had read and match it up to what I'm experiencing, others are experiencing, etc.

Yeah, my symptoms are very different on each side. I actually have very few on the right side, other than tremors, weakness, and spasms. My left side is a mess.

Again, thanks everyone for the clarification. I really appreciate this forum because you guys answer without making a person feel stupid!
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Avatar_f_tn
LOL -- no worries! I know the threads move fast and there are always new people showing up...add to that the fact that we're all in our own brain fog and I'm surprised it's not complete chaos in here!

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