Multiple Sclerosis Community
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147426 tn?1317269232

Zaps, Zings and Electric Shocks

I am rewriting this as a new post, because it seems important.  There is a type of paroxysmal paresthesia that people describe as feeling like a sudden "zap of electricity" or an "intense zing like a sudden electric current."  Other desribe it as feeling like being electrocuted without the dying.  This appears to be different from the ongoing tingling that many of us have.  It is an intense, sudden thing that comes and is gone.

How many here have this?

If you have it, what does it feel like?  and where is it?

Are you diagnosed with MS?

The reason I asked is that I looked through two other threads that talk about this and the vast majority of those that identified with this did not have a diagnosis of MS (yet).  I am wondering if it is common in this disease.  It is often complained of in Lyme Disease, but I have also heard of it in Transverse Myelitis (which also could be MS).  I suspect it is common to any demyelinating disease, but curious as to the experience here, even if you have posted on the older thread.

Zaps and Zings only, please, lol.  No ongoing tingles.

124 Responses
847433 tn?1243013252
Hi Quix,
My names missy.  I dont have a dx of MS but am going thru some diagnostic testing to r/o some pathologies (MS being one)  due to symptoms I have. I dont know if this helps at all in answer to your question but;  I have 2 cervical herniations pressing on thecal sac, 1 lumbar and looks like one thoracic.  Anyway I ocassionally get an electrical zaps in my left arm where my radiculopathy is the worse.  I have spinal stenosis in cervical area at least.  I also have mild bilateral carpal tunnel and when the ortho or whomever tests you for carpal tunnel they will press on the median nerve in your wrist.  When this was done to me I almost jumped of the examination table due to the shock. This is indicative of carpal tunnel as im sure you know.

The shocks feels lke you have  plugged in a faulty appliance in an outlet. It is pretty short but pretty intense.  Im sure we've all had that experience.  Both that is exactly what both my experiences have felt like.

Anyway this is my experience.:)

572651 tn?1531002957
When I was younger and living at home, my mother kept her ironing board in the basement.  When the humidity was up or the basement was damp, the zap from plugging in the iron would get me regularly,  I think maybe that's why I gave up ironing and to this day only buy permanent press.!  

Yes, I experience those momentary zaps and zings but not quite as intense or painful as that iron. Today I was having them in my right shin and my left ankle.  It doesn't occur at the same time.  It happens so fast and is over with that I can't really say it even hurts.  When I get them, they pretty much  seem to repeat in the same spots.  

I also get the light tingling but nothing that lasts like many of you experience.

Maybe I'll start a log for this one !
Well I'm sorry to say that I'm glad I'm not alone. I had them the first time the other day. I was sick with diarrhea and then vomiting had not slept in 2/days then the 3rd night I was getting sleepy every time I would try to fall asleep I would get an excruciating electrical surge in my brain waking me up. It happened all night at least 10 or more times. The emergency room doctor gave me ativan and was able to sleep the same day it happened lightly electrical surges and after waking it was sending charges in my ears. I have slept 2 days now but want to know what causes this
152264 tn?1280358257
Oh Lordy, YES to the zaps and zings. No to being diagnosed. (But haven’t seen a neuro in 6 years.) No suspicion of Lyme and definitely no transverse myelitis.

I've had ten years' worth of paroxysmal zaps and zings.

A lot in my face, in trigeminal-nerve areas. The classic one is a painless (oddly enough) but distinctly electrical shock making a semicircle around my eye and running into the side of my nose and then down into my upper lip. That began around the same time as my other symptoms (fall 1999) as two separate little shocks above and below my left eye and gradually progressed to the eye/temple-nose-lip distribution. Also on the right side, but much less frequently. The "face shocks" occurred many times daily for years--now they've lessened, but they still return in clusters.

Many other stabs-and-jabs, some electrical, and some sharp but not electrical--in my face and teeth over the years.

Another classic pattern is the "double electric shock" which occurs without provocation in a small spot in one foot and simultaneously in a small spot in my groin, abdomen, or ribcage on the same side. Mostly on the left--but sometimes on the right. These are fairly isolated but also tend to occur for days or weeks and then disappear for many weeks.

I can nearly always provoke an electric shock simultaneously in a small “line” (an inch or two long, it seems) above my left elbow and a similar “line” in the top of my left hand (kind of between thumb and forefinger) by pressing exactly right on the top of my left big toe, preferably with a fingernail or toenail. Wouldn’t that HAVE to be some bad wiring in my neck, since it’s a connection between a foot and an elbow/hand?

Early on, pressing on the outside of my right hand caused a sudden wave of tingling to run across my left scalp. Lightly touching the inside of my right wrist caused a similar wave of tingling on my right scalp.

Getting a sharp stab in my right ankle would also cause the wave of tingling on my left scalp.

I also get occasional periods of "attacks" of some shock, stab, or electric pulsing somewhere that will attack (as a paroxysm but often as a repetitive pulsing every few seconds) over and over for maybe half an hour in the same spot (driving me insane), then it will stop, and then recur in the same way for several more attacks throughout the day, often into the next day though with lessening intensity. This is a quite typical pattern.

For example, I'll get repeated "bee stings" in an ankle, bottom of my foot, or below the knee. Or repeated "pulses" of electric-quality tingling in a spot in my thigh. I occasionally get maybe a dozen (roughly) extremely sharp, painful lightning-like stabs in the whole front of my right thigh. Many years ago I had episodes of a "tap-dancing electric centipede" repeatedly drilling out a routine on a spot on the top of my head... weeks later s/he was dancing on the front of my right thigh...and sometime after that, the centipede had set up the same routine under my left toes.

I could go "on and on anon." Remember, we're talking over 10 years here. But those things get your attention. Nothing was ever as painful, though, as the lightning-bolt pains under my ears that was my very first symptom in the spring or early summer of 1999 (if you don’t count many previous years of dizziness, achiness, a numb hip, and some head stabs that I never really paid attention to or saw a doctor about). A few weeks later I sneezed & lost the hearing in one ear and everything cascaded from there.

That’s not to mention the Lhermitte’s.

It’s funny you bring this up, because I was just about to post about another weird related symptom (separately).

Avatar universal
The zaps are one of my most annoying and constant symptoms.  

Twice that I can recall, I have put a wet hand on a garbage disposal switch that sent a jolt through my entire body.

Today I live with that feeling every time I move my head toward my chest.  It always send an, annoying at best, current through to the tips of my toes and if I am over worked, the shock is through my whole  body. I am dx'd MS and have 2 cervical spinal lesions of close to 1cm in length (at last MRI this Jan which was taken 1 week before the zaping started.)
I also have the ongoing tingiling in my feet and right arm.  There is quite a difference between the feelings.

I also get zaps to my head that I call my "Brain Pain" it is short and random but definately a shock that feels more like the zap you get when you send a spark electricity quickly when you touch metal after a good rub down of the carpet in your socks.

I know I found more info about these symptoms under Lyme Disease and TM but I was tested for Lyme and I do not fit any other symptoms for TM.  I am told that I have L'Hermitte's sign which I am under the impression is one test for MS.  
I do believe that the actual jolting shock feeling to m toes is more leaning toward spinal cord demyelination than brain demyelination. I have no info on my brain pain except the lesions there as well.  Of course I am very new at this so I would love to read from others.

764912 tn?1322715443
Yes, that is what took me most to the Nuero.  It feels like an emg somewhat to me, but a shock.  Mostly in my arms.  I have not been considered for anything but Ms (not diagnosed) and years ago Sjogrens.  

738075 tn?1330579444
Oh, Yeah!

I get them usually while coming out of a position of neck flexing.  Feels like a cattle prod to my R buttocks, L forearm, L mid back.  Not at the same time, all separate occasions, inconsistently.  I never know when it will hit me next.  Any time I flex my neck for some reason, I'm not sure I'm going to get it or not!  Life is full of surprises!

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