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Sore legs, unsteady gait
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Sore legs, unsteady gait

Hi,

I am a 47-year-old male. About three months ago I started getting heart palpitations. A day or so later I began to get a very strangetingling sensation right through the thighs. After another day I developed a flu which went within a few days. The sensation in my legs made it impossible to sit down for long. My hands and legs started "falling asleep" very easily and I then became very dizzy and unbalanced. At times my legs felt like they just wouldn't support me and that sensation has continued. I have real problems keeping balance, get intense tingling at the top of the spine and very sore knees and ankles. I've had mild soreness of both eyes and symptoms get worse when I get tired. At times the sensations are so bad I can barely sit on a chair or I can't walk. Sometimes I also get a very unpleasant "brain fog" when I find it hard to speak or think clearly. My GP ran tests for anemia, EDR, thyroid, diabetes and all were normal. A halter monitor showed atrial and ventricular ectopics but an examination by the cardilogist said my heart was fine. Blood pressure also ok. The neurologist ruled out "any underlying neurological condition such as MS" and told me he was so sure it wasn't MS he wouldn't order an MRI at this stage because there were no clues at all on examination. He maintains I am highly stressed and also hyperventilating. But these symptoms are so pronounced I have trouble accepting that diagnosis. My GP is also sceptical and thinks MS may be the cuplrit. All of these symptoms come and go throughout the day at various levels of intensity. Heat does not seem to effect them and there are times when I feel almost normal - exercise helps a little. I've started a new job but am having real trouble hiding the symptoms from my boss and doing it properly. Could stress actually cause such dramatic symptoms over such a long period of time or should I see another neurologist? Anything you can offer would be really appreciated - this is wearing me down terribly. Thank-you so much.        
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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 that you describe are non-specific, but could be symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS).  MS causes inflammation and damage to certain areas of the covering/insulation (myelin) in the wiring (axons/white matter) of the brain and spinal cord.  When a particular area is affected then the symptoms coresponding to that area of the brain are felt by the person, these symptoms may be numbness/tingling, weaknes, blurred vision, problems thinking, dizziness/vertigo, etc or may be nothing at all (many MS lesions occur and the patient is unaware until the MRI is done. One characteristic (at least early on) is that MS lesions tend to come on subacutely over 2-3 days and then last for 1-4 weeks then improve spontaneously (many times they disappear entirely).  In some cases when the symptoms are very severe, then MS patients can take IV steroids for several days to shorten the time of the symptoms.    That being said there are many diseases that mimic MS, such as lyme disease, vitamin deficiencies, PML, white matter strokes/vasculitis, etc.  It is also true that stress and a disorder call conversion disorder (a psychological diagnosis) can also lead to these type symptoms.  The problem with diagnosing stress is that there is not tests for this, only clinical impression and exclusion of other diseases.  It sounds like you have had the basic blood work done.  I would stronlgy suggest that you get an MRI of the brain and cervical spine with contrast.  If this is negative, it will be unlikely that you have MS and you can move ahead with psychological treatments.  If the MRI demonstrates MS then you can move ahead with disease modifying therapy (Rebif, copaxone, steroids, etc).  The one thing that is clear is that the spells need to stop and you require additional testing to know which path to go down.  If the MRI is negative and MS is still suspected then a lumbar puncture looking for inflammation (IgG index, oligoclonal bands) and visual evoked potentials might be helpful.  I would suggest that you take your case to a neurologist that specializes in MS (such as at a MS center) and allow then to order/interpret your MRI and set up further care.
I hope this has been helpful.
8 Comments
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187193_tn?1199928423
Hello sounds like you are stressed but who wouldn't be with all that going on. I want to stress that it took 18 months and the weirdest symtoms (symptoms) ever. I couldn't even list them all. Now (after 18 months 22 docs and a trip to the Mayo Clinic) I was sent to ER for left side paralisis. They did two MRI's, one cervical and thoracic. I have 11 herniation in my back. So see another doc and get an MRI!!! I had a cervical fusion with titanium disk and plate. I could walk hours after the operation. I couldn't walk before without a cane and was ordering a wheelchair. I'm 46 and I was under some stress, single mom, GM of a 3,000,000 dollar resturaunt. So stress was an ever day thing. Not the problem. When the nerves come out of the spine they go to all your organs and cause problems. I'm not saying you don't have MS but you need a look at all options. My neuro never found it and was quit embarressed about his mistake and not looking at the back or spine. Once he did the Evocked Potential test knew he was wrong. The Mayo clinic said I was crazy and needed Remoran the strongest anti deppressent. What an idiot. But one thing for the docs is I had so many things wrong there were ruling them out one by one. All I needed was an MRI! I hope this helped. Lois
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Avatar_n_tn
Hey Lois ...

Thanks for your thoughts. I really appreciate it. The worst thing about this is that I keep wondering if I'm going crazy! I've been very healthy all my life and was a regular gym goer and swimmer until this happened. I certainly didn't feel stressed -- until now. Of course not knowing exactly what it is doesn't help either. I should have mentioned that they sent me for a CT scan of the brain and spine which showed up clean. It wasn't looking for MS clues, rather ruling out tumours, strokes, herniated discs and the like. But you're right about the anti-depressants. I said I won't take them until I know everything else had been ruled out. Even then I'd rather exercise than take them. Your problems sound horrific but I'm really glad you were able to get them sorted out. I'll give the exercise and breathing thing a month or two but if this keeps up I'll take your advice and be demanding an MRI and a second opinion. I've also started seeing an osteopath who thinks he can do some good ... we'll see I guess. I obviously hope the neurologist is right of course, but I just can't seem to accept that stress alone could give me such severe symptoms. Anyway, thanks again for your help and interest. It's really nice to know people do care.
Cheers!
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi
You may want to read my posting regarding the "pain in my legs I can barely walk"  I feel like the tinman at times due to the strange sensations in my legs (mainly my thighs) along with pain in both knees and ankles. I was in a wheelchair for 7 months due to this and was told I have a post viral syndrome which was precipitated by a  flu like upper respiratory virus, and a low B12 level.  The numbness, tingling and stiffness coupled with weakness are very difficult to work with.  I think you may have a mild case of this.
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Avatar_n_tn
The Mayo Clinic is a joke.  I went there with foot pain and the doctor could not even figure out my x rays.  What a disappointment
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Avatar_n_tn
The Mayo clinic is  a joke.  The doctor couldn't figure out what was wrong with me and couldn't read the x-rays on my foot.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Gracygirl,

Thanks for your thoughts. I read your post and your problems sound awful, though a little different and maybe more severe than the problems I'm having. Mercifully I haven't been confined to a wheelchair as you were and the symptoms are varied ... some days it's my weak or stiff legs and terrible unsteadiness, others my eyes don't work properly or my brain fogs over ... sometimes all at once ... all really unpleasant. It's funny how these things often seem to start with a flu-like illness. My GP told me I definitely had a virus when it all started so maybe you've hit on something. I'll ask her what she thinks the next time I see her.  Thanks for your concerns and I really hope you get your problems sorted soon!!

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Avatar_n_tn
Hello All From Brantford Canada. I am supposed to have a operation soon as i was diagnosed with the following.. C5-C6 This is the severley affected Level. There is an annuar disk buldge with a focal left paracentral protrusion that herniated both superiorly and inferorly almost to the level of the adjacent disk spaces. There is Severe acquired centra canal Stenosis and abnormal hihg T2 signal within the spinal cord extending from the level of the superior endplate of C5 to the Level of the midportion of the vertebral body of C6. There is Bilateral moderate to severe exiting neural foraminal stenosis as well at this level secondary to a combination of disc and uncovertebral degenaritive change. <-- This is from the Doctors MRI note. The Opinion is as follows. The Most Severe Level is C5/6 where there is a diffuse annular buldge with a left paracentral protrusion, as described above, that reults in severe acquired central canal stenosis with abnormal high T2 Cord signal indicative of myelopathic change at this level. There is bilateral moderate to severe neural foraminal stenosis at this level as well. "The Myelopathic change merits urgent referal"

Now my Symptoms are as follows..
1 - Numbness in my left and right hands
2 - Numbness in my lower body from the Mid-Section to under my Toes.
3 - I have to hold on the things in order to move around - example to go to the bathroom I have to pull and drag my feet up the stairs.
4 - Loss of sudden Bowel Trouble ie: Not knowing i have to go as per the NO feeling or ability to push to relieve myself as there is No pressure i can get to that area.
5- Un-balanced, walking like i have drank 100 Beers or the likes.

Now for the weird part - "I have NO NECK pain at ALL??. Why?? I am also a Type 2 Diabetic... Anyone have or had simular situation please reply ASAP as my surgery is for Tommorow at 10:30am at Hamilton Health Sciences here in Canada.

Thanks and for all of you i wish you all a brisk and speedy recovery...

God Bless You All.
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