Very Early MS symptoms compromised by high pain threshold?
Hi there, I have been having some on and off, and constant issues the past couple years. I have been trying to talk myself out of anything being wrong the past while but recently my mother (she is a nurse) has been trying to convince me to see a Dr about this. She says that I may have early MS symptoms, but because I have a very very high pain threshold I may be understating what I am going through.
I am 24 years old, former competitive athlete but for the past 7 years just living a regular life.
Here is my list:
1) Ankle/knee/wrist weakness > this has been getting worse the past few years. I sprain my ankles a couple times a year, the most recent was frightening as I was jumping in the air, felt my ankle involuntarily go to the side and I couldn't straighten it before I hit the ground. I tore some ligaments away from the bone and was told by my physio that if hadn't had strong ankles (I was doing preventative exercises for ankle sprains) I would have broken my foot so badly that it would have been dangling from my leg and requiring pins and rods to fix.
Sometimes my knees collapse inwards even though they are healthy by the Drs standards.
2) Un Coordination- loss of finger control: I have been fighting this one for a few years. Gradually I have been much less coordinated to the point of being clumsy. I had never been like this before. Dropping things, or feeling like I am going to drop something. I fight the urge all the time to control my muscles- it is subtle but I notice it because it doesn't feel right. I feel often like my body has a mind of its own, I often can't feel my fingers when I type even though they are flying over the keyboard and my typing is getting worse. I keep missing keys or hit the wrong key, pretty much every other word now even though I am looking straight at the keyboard and I type all the time.
3) Seeing shadows in my eyes- When I look at something, especially a light, even colored surface I see patches of gray shadows in my eyes. They are everywhere, not dark enough to blind me but noticeable enough for it to look like I am looking at a marble surface when in fact I am looking at an even colored white sheet of paper.
4) Constant pulling/tearing of ligaments: I have been straining my hip flexors doing simple sit ups and this never happened before this year. I keep spraining the ankles as I mentioned before, as well as spraining my thumbs. My shoulder has been strained for no apparent reason. The slightest exercise will strain something in my body.
5) Increase in headaches. The past few months I have been getting headaches that are so bad that I feel nauseated and weak. My vision gets all dark and I see bright flashes. This happened every other night for just under 4 weeks. I only recently learned these are migranes (migraines), I had never experienced them before knowingly. Guaranteed I have had them before but to me they felt just like what a regular headache would feel like to a normal person. Now however they feel worse than anything I remembered.
6) and finally I have been having spasms/jerking before falling asleep, pretty much every night and I even though I have never felt ok in warm weather (I have always felt sick, and often collapsed) lately my limbs have been feeling incredibly heavy in the warm weather and I can't do simple things easily like push a door open.
Overall lately I have been feeling much more exhausted than normal and everything has been feeling like it is harder than it should be. I brought that part up to my physio therapist, who said 'you are getting older!' but I am 24 and sometimes I feel like I am 50 years old. I haven't explained these concerns to my Dr because I have a tendency to understate things. I have been diagnosed with a very high pain threshold, I rarely feel hunger pains, muscle aches and tingling sensations. Pain has to be very bad for me to identify. On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the worse in the average person, it *maybe* is a 5 for me. This was both a blessing and a curse as an athlete. Now I feel like my body is hurting more and I am afraid of talking to my Dr about this, he may think I am being hypochondriac? However my mother has given me a list of early MS symptoms and although some of these may or may not fit it is possible I am missing some with my inability to feel minor/moderate pains. All I can really explain though is that lately I have been feeling very, very odd.
I apologize for this being so long, I haven't ever told anyone about this. My mom knows of a few of these things that have been going on but I haven't told her about my eyesight or decreasing coordination. I am afraid she may freak out if she knew. I wonder if we are both over-reacting though. Any advice/suggestions appreciated, please.
Welcome to the forum. I hope we can help in at least pointing you to some good resources.
I have to say that most of what you write about does not sound like anything I've read here over the long haul. Straining and tearing of muscles and ligaments is not a feature of MS. Pain in MS comes from spasticity, from neuropathy (malfunctioning nerve signals with no injury at the pain site), and as the result of weakness and compensating for weakness. These kinds of pain are specific, not all over, and generally not symmetric.
Headaches are often seen in MS, but here things get complicated, to say the least, because migraines can cause all sorts of strange symptoms, some of which mimic MS.
Little spasms as we fall asleep are quite normal and nothing to worry about. By that I mean sudden brief jerks. We can have these during the day occasionally as well. Not significant at all.
Your exhaustion, especially in heat, is something that really needs to be checked out. Get rid of any physical therapist who tells you you have to expect various things because you're aging. You're only 24, for heaven's sake. You should NOT be feeling any effects of aging. Your eye symptoms too are not normal. Have you seen an ophthalmologist?
An important thing to keep in mind is that MS produces symptoms because of lesions at specific sites in the central nervous system. To have any sort of 'all over' problems, you'd need lesions pretty much all over as well, and that doesn't happen in MS.
All of which is not to say you don't have a problem, which seems to be progressing. Your post is notable for lack of mention of medical intervention. That needs to stop now! Find a PCP in whom you have faith and get a head to toe physical exam, blood work, etc. Tell him or her everything you've written above, in chronological order. See a top-notch ophthalmologist, and any and all specialists you may be referred to.
Please let us know how this works out, and feel better.
I would definitely see a good doctor, pronto. At 24, you should be feeling great, not like you are 50!
If you exercise outside and go through woods and fields, there is always the possibility of Lyme disease. My sister has Lyme and has very similar symptoms to what you write about. You might mention (ask) to be tested for it.
Also see about having your thyroid tested as low thyroid can also cause symptoms like these as well.
As Ess said, get a good physical from head to toe and blood work!
Main thing is: Take control of your health! Don't let anyone call you a hypochondriac, or label you as depressed.
Thank you both so much for your replies. It is the kick that I need too go and see my Doctor so I am grateful to that. I am happy to hear that these are not typical MS symptoms, and I can look into other things. Thyroid could really be an issue as thyroid problems do affect many women in my family, MS does not, I am surprised I did not think of that before! Lyme is not something I considered before now too. Nonetheless I will look into everything. Thank you for your support and I am wishing the best for everyone here.
I just noticed you post and was wondering if you may have more than one thing going on. A few years ago I was misdiagnosed with MS due to a variety of lower limb pain, weakness, tingling and injuries as well as blurred vision. My antibody counts were normal. It turned out that I was hypermobile, causing orthopedic symptoms, and was suffering from allergy related ocular migraines without headaches. In addition, the knee and hip flexor weaknesses that I was experiencing turned out to be hip labral tears from hip impingement syndrome (a condition that is often associated with athletics and requires arthroscopic surgery to treat. It is sometimes hard to distinguish true hip pain from minor external injuries, but an MRA (MRI with flouroscopic contrast) of the hips can help distinguish between intra and extra-articular hip pain.
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