I am a 20 year-old male university student, with moderate-high anxiety. Approximately two months ago, after having sat in a funny position on my chair at home, my right leg fell asleep. I barely noticed it until I rose out of my chair and took a few steps. It was unpleasant, I began feeling the "pins and needles" that are typical with compressed nerves, and I got the funny weak feeling. I managed to shake off the numbness and paresthesia after about 45 seconds but some of the weak feeling in my leg remained. It was not even so much weak as just a strange soothing massage-like sensation of my calf. I panicked and thought I was having a stroke, being the hypochondriac that I typically am.
The next day I called Telehealth who urged me to go to the hospital. It "could have been a stroke". I went, they examined me and found nothing imminently wrong. I returned home and did what doctors later would dub the stupidest thing I could have possible done as a sufferer of anxiety: I googled my symptoms. Of course, I found ALS and MS results the most terrifying, and, after that point, I began to feel slight weakness in the pinky of my left hand (the opposite side of the body from the weak leg) and began to walk slightly funny, like I was afraid of where my leg would take me. Now, I should mention that my leg was not, and has never been dysfunctional- I was just so panicky that the strange dull feeling that remained after that night two months ago bothered me a lot.
I returned to the emerge where a doctor ordered and MRI, told me she believed it was absolutely nothing but my anxiety. I don't know how anxiety could ever cause motor stiffness in my pinky. I visited a few other doctors on my university campus, all who urged me to focus on overcoming my anxiety and to forget about my symptoms.
The MRI was a fun experience (no joke), and in the end the results were *negative*. Absolutely no evidence of demyelination in my brain or brain stem, three weeks after the emergence of the symptoms. That was reassuring until I read that SOME MS patients still have clear MRIs.
Then the weakness switched abruptly to my left leg, remained there for three and a half weeks, and switched back into the original leg. I came down with a fairly bad flu a week back, and as a result I feel mild vertigo, and of course this set my MS-alarms off big time, due to my extensive reading about the havoc MS wreaks on balance.
It's been a few days and I still have the vertigo, a slightly weak right leg, and a noticeably weaker left pinky. What on earth do you think this is?
It's not that non hypochondriacs don't have mysterious symptoms they can't explain on a regular basis; it's just that they are more willing to wait and see if the symptoms will go away on their own. Many times symptoms are just caused by inflammation, and inflammation can be caused by a lot of benign things as well as dreadful conditions.
That "a strange soothing massage-like sensation of my calf" sounds exactly like relaxation. It is quite possible you do not recognize the sensation of relaxation and you think it is has to be bad when in fact it's good.
I used to be hypervigilent about symptoms until I discovered my real problem was chronic discomfort and lack of sleep from constipation. Pressure is very hard to pin down and recognize for what it is, but it causes a lot of discomfort, restlessness, and insomnia. Insomnia messes with your state of mind. It's all connected. Another thing to watch out for is teeth grinding or holding tension in your jaw. Another one is hyperventilation. Both of these things will just set your teeth on edge and keep you from relaxing and having good quality of life.
Well, without a detailed clinical evaluation it would be difficult to determine the cause of your symptoms. Likely possibilities include stress/ anxiety, temporary postural nerve pressure, muscle inflammation, exposure to cold temperature, micronutrient deficiencies etc. With the description and a normal MRI it is highly unlikely to be a demyelinating condition. I would suggest giving it sometime to heal on its own and getting rid of stress/ anxiety if involved. You could also use some warm compresses/ tylenol for symptomatic relief. If the symptoms do not get better in a few weeks, you may consider a review with your treating doctor.
Hope this is helpful.
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