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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.

Quix
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.:)

missy
572651 tn?1531002957
Q-
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 !
Lulu
1 Comments
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).

Nancy
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.

D
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.  

Tracy
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!

147426 tn?1317269232
bump
Avatar universal
current diagnosis if one can call it that: "unspecified demyelinating diesease"

Yes, from time to time I too get the "intense zing like a sudden electric current." My best esitmate of if's origin feels like the area of center spine more to the bottom of the T-sec.  Radiates from there. Posistion doesn't seem to matter. That is, it has occurred laying down, sitting, or standing.
Avatar universal
Hi,
I get them, one of my main symptoms is pain, I get horrible neuralgia and painful tingle that runs down a nerve in my leg (very similar to what it felt like when the Dr hit the nerves during the LP), but I also get zaps or bolts that shoot down into my toes, usually it puts me in mind of touching an electric fence or something like that, lightning quick, only lasts seconds but takes your breath away.

I also get the flexing of the neck tingle as well and that has also radiated into my arms and legs.

Diagnosis Transverse Myelitis? Well that is what he says in the appointments etc. but my MRI is still normal.  Apparently pain of this nature is common with TM and can often be the presenting factor.

Avatar universal
Do you mean the "phantom vibrating cell phone syndrome"? Oh yeah, of course i suffer from it! both my feet soles. I have been diagnosed with MS since March last year. Boy, it's been aggressive!. Well, now i realized that your question had nothing to do with the phantom phone, but in my defense, I HAVE MS!! (it's great to yell at people who wanna cut in front of you or that are being rude...I, with my extra dark sense of humor, use it almost on a daily basis)
I suffer from zaps on the base of my neck and (oh dear!) i am experiencing one on the left side of my neck right now! It's your fault!!! (i'm kidding)
Absolutely no possibility of Lyme disease here. I hardly ever get out of the house, and the house must something Mr Clean would be proud of. We have two mini weenie dogs that never go outside, i don't take walks (i drag my right leg, not good for the kids) and we also have two fat lazy cats that would rather lose weight than going outside.
I also suffer from the zap on my middle back, right on the spine, but i always thought it was because i also suffer from Ankylosing Spondilitis.
Good morning to all. This is my rant o' the day for you
xoxox
Farrah
Avatar universal
Well gosh, I too was wondering if the cell phone effect is simply a slower version (and maybe less powerful) of this same thing. I haven't had the shocks, have had the phone. That has to be one of the weirdest sensations in my exhaustive list of weird sensations!

ess
690549 tn?1288886321
Hi, Quix--Yep--I've had zaps and zings for most of my 36 years. Mine are usually just on my legs and although intense, they are definitely bee stings and short lived and not as bad as some symptoms. Mine are not weird like some people's here--just momentarily painful. thank heaven's we have a sense of humor! Jane
751951 tn?1406636463
My sensations of electric shocks have been mostly in the uper back.  Sometimes it's a stady sense of zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz across from one shouder to the other, but there have been a couple of zings that started below the base of the neck and traveled diagonally down and to the left, stopping on the rub cage beneath the left arm, right about the bottom rib.  I've also had the phantom vibrating cell phone syndrome, which has been eerily real on the top of my left ankle and onec in a while on the back of the neck.  Usually when I am having these problems, I've also been experiencing twitching, especially in the upper eyelids.  I've been fortunate enout that none of these have occurred int he past week or two except the steady shoulder thing, which is mild and common.
Avatar universal
Hi Quix and a good day to everyone,  
I posted last week... I, too, have the electric shock like current that crops up out of the blue.  Periodic sudden bee sting feeling appears on outer left shin.  

Electrical current sensation that runs down entire left leg for hours at times or will migrate everyhwhere, from toes, fingers, arms, legs to back of head.  This is one of the many symptoms that keeps me awake at all hours.  

No clear diagnosis of MS but Rheum says is a possibilty.  Tests recently turned up I'm b12 deficient without the ususal causes for lacking this.      

Have a wonderful week!    
Kim :)

751951 tn?1406636463
Oh, I'm still undx.  Neuro #3 is thinking migraine, but running other tests & sending me to a #4 for neuro-psycho assesssment re: cognition here & there.
667078 tn?1316004535
I am newly diagnosed RRMS and the MS Specialist said no way to Lyme Disease.  I get a shock  like 24 volt electricity to my left big toe that makes me cry out involuntarily. I also gets smaller zaps that move. None last long.  I do have mirror vision lesions in the mid brain.
Avatar universal
I believe "Phantom Cell Phone Syndrome" should be a considered a "condition" or a disease by itself. It's annoying, embarrassing (come on, how many of you have reached in your purse to fish that darn cell phone out?).
I look at it as the "Paris Hilton Syndrome". If i'm at the mall, i walk with the cell phone on one hand, giant bag and lovely pink cane. I like to look like i have an extremely busy schedule. Even if i'm just getting deodorant.
Avatar universal
I am Dx'ed    (1986)

The electric pain that I get is a feeling like you hit your (crazy bone on the elbow)

This particular shock has not happened for quite a while, except for one eye (off and on)

This was the main symptom that took me to family doc My foot and arm shocked (about 40 seconds) (14 times in two weeks)turned inward at same time.  Could not move, them while it was happening. Told family doc and he believed me and was concerned,  I had many other odd documented symptoms also over a period of time.            Linda
Avatar universal
Hi again

I meant to say hand and foot   (instead of arm and foot,)  

If I can remember correctly it was on the right side.at the same time

Could not figure out what was happening It hurt really bad.  I thought it would just go away,  I blew so many weird symptoms off   My husband saw it happen and said
What is happening?  Kind of in shock!!!!!  Your going to the doctor Right now!!!!!!
Linda
620877 tn?1282767697
I am not diagnosed.  I have had 2 episodes of the "electric shock" type feeling - the first time it went from the left side of my back at my ribs to the right & it took my breath away it was so painful.  The second time was from the left to the right across my abdomen - same feeling & almost as intense as the first.

I have also had "buzzing" in my back bottom area - and also in the front lower abdomen.  

I have "tingling" on a regular basis - It is one of my first symptoms that tends to stick around, but varies in intensity depending on if I am having an "episode" of symptoms.

Chrisy
297366 tn?1215816651
I am undiagnosed. I've had the experience of an electric shock suddenly running down my arms and into my hands. This has only happened a few times.

Cell phone vibration as well. This takes place on my right side.
233622 tn?1279338505
I get the zap/zing but I compare it to a rubber band snapping me. It is there and then gone. But it does take me by surprise!
I have had them in my head, neck, arms, and feet. It happens when I am turning my head or back.

LA dx'd
338416 tn?1420049302
I have had several variants of the 'electric shock' sensation.  They started with electric shocks up my forearms, from my wrists to my elbows.  It happened consistently when I tapped on my wrist.    

That stopped happening, but now I get an electric shock in my hands and arms when a joint pops.  My hands have been doing that a lot more recently - I'll put pressure on an object, my wrist or hand will pop, and an electric shock will shoot up my arm.

I also get electric shocks in my fingertips, but I'm not sure if it's electric-feeling, or just a painful pinprick.
634733 tn?1316629592
Dx with 'mild MS' but currently working on that!

zaps and zings mainly in legs but now often in right arm too.

Last year I had a very large patch on my back from the spine across my back towards the right had side and just below the ribs, it felt like someone was pressing on my back and the first few times I actually turned around to look but it also involved a creeping sensation that felt ike a slow subtle electric shock in that it was intense but not painful - and I think you guys are the only ones that will know what I mean. I was told this may have been a partial MS hug - but I am not so sure.

Pat
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