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Exercise brings on numbness.
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Exercise brings on numbness.

Hi,

I am a 37 year old male, who has sufferd from MS-like symptoms, on and off, for the past 14 years. These include numbness (face, arms legs etc - swapping sides occasionaly), dizzyness, tingling and occasional headaches.

About 10 years ago, I had a MRI scan, which came back clear. After that, I basically just tried to put up with the symptoms and get on with my life, although at times, when I have continuous and persistant bouts, I have been to see the doctor to check things out. Basically, all of these symptoms have been put down to some kind of migraine related problem.

Over the past few weeks, I've been doing a lot of exercise in order to lose a bit of weight (I'm not very overweight though). Part of this exercise is a daily 50 minute brisk walk during my lunch hour at work. Just lately, I've noticed that most days, during my walk, some of these unexplained symptoms are brought on by the exercise. Basically, as I walk, 5-10 minutes into the walk I start to get a feeling that my right ear is blocked, as I continue walking, this full/numb feeling spreads to the whole right hand side of my head/face and then eventually results in the whole right hand side of my body feeling mildly numb/weak.
When I rest, these symptoms either subside, or develop into a headache.


As this is the first time that I've ever found a common trigger for these symptoms, I wondered if it gives any clues as to what could be wrong with me (hopefully it confirms that I am a migraine sufferer?)


Any help much appreciated.

J

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Avatar_n_tn
First of all, keep in mind that I am unable to diagnose you because I am unable to examine you, this forum is for educational purposes.
    The symptoms you describe can represent migraine headaches, but you should have some additional testing to be sure.  The story you decribe is often seen in migraine sufferers as an exertion induced headache.  The aura of tingling is not uncommon (is is sometimes refered to as migraine equivalents if it occurs alone without the headache).  I would recommend you start a migraine prophylaxis agent such as elavil, topamax, nadolol, etc.  This will help prevent these episodes, but may take 2-3 weeks to begin working.
   That being said, there is no specific test for migraines (diagnosis of exclusion), and several other more serious conditions can mimic this picture.  Disorders of the cerebral vessels, such as anuerysms and stenosis, can become symptomatic upon exertion.  A good screening test for this would be a CT angiogram.  If you only have had a MRI of your brain you should have a more complete workup for MS (it can sometimes be tricky) I would suggest an MRI of the Brain and C-Spine with contrast and a lumbar punture to look for inflammation (tourtelotte panel, IgG index and oligoclonal bands).  You should also have a cardiac stress test, since angina (heart related pain) can have odd presentations and occurs with effort.  
I hope this has been helpful.
8 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Ask your doctor to repeat your MRI .These episodes could be a re activation of an old MS plack (Uhtoff phenonomenon)

Bob
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks for your advice Bob.  

Is it possible that I could have had MS all along then and not deteriorate significantly?

btw, are you a doctor?
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Avatar_n_tn
I'm a neurologist.
Nothing is unusual for a demyelinating disease like MS. If the MRI is normal then you need to be examined by a neurologist before and immediately after a shore excercise , also your doctor could,later on, think of a test dose of anti migrain (treptan)and assess how that could prevent the attack (do not do this unsupervised)
As a final solution if every thing is negative and the neurological exam shows any abnormalities , then you could ask for a refferal to a specialized center in doing fMRI before and after excercise


God bless us all
  Bob
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi,

Noticed you were able to answer and help with a lot of the MS questions.  I am wondering, in your opinion, if someone has symptoms of MS....extreme fatigue, weak legs, muscle twitching and jerking but all tests from two neuroligists have all come back clear...could it still be MS. I personally have had MRI's of brain spine and lumbar with contrast, Lumbar puncture, evocked response and EMG.  All results were completely normal. On examination my neuroligist can find nothing unusual and feels there is nio way I could have MS.  Would love to know your thoughts on this.

thanks for any information you can provide.

Lesley
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Lesely
   MS is a very common disease , and any general neurologist can rule it out especially if specific tests were used as in your case.
I can't say what exactly those jerks/twitchings are unless I see them because they could be any kind of what we call a hyperkinetic movements or it could be simply fasciculation seen normal people.

  Regards
  Bob
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks for your help everyone.  I'll print out this thread and take it to the doctors with me (should go down like a lead balloon...).
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Avatar_n_tn
i posted on a different thread earlier, but i also have a question related to the original posters question.

i'm 32 yo female--some MS type s/s which are mainly on the L side,  but also have a clotting problem (had DVT/PE and possible TIA, on coumadin).  basically, i'm still unsure if i have had a TIA/CVA or a neuro issues, dr's arent sure either since detecting a small TIA could be nearly impossible (i've disected a body, i understand that)

now, i run 5 miles and lift weights 3x/week.  when i exercise, i get fuzzy headed for lack of a better word.  not 'light headed' i mean i dont feel like i'm going to pass out.  it is more like the feeling you get when you get a bit tipsy.  1/2 of me thinks 'interesting, must be a blood flow issue'.  the other 1/2 of me thinks 'hhhmmmmm, uthoff's sign????' (my L side weakness or any tingling is no better/ no worse with exercise, that is the only change)

any thoughts on why i get this feeling with exertion????

katy
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Avatar_n_tn
A related discussion, numbness after excercise was started.
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Avatar_f_tn
A related discussion, numbness during exercise was started.
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