Paresthesias




Definition: A prickly, tingling sensation.

Paresthesias: A very big, scientific word for a very common MS symptom. I'm sure everyone has probably felt that prickly, tingling, tickly feeling when you lose circulation in your hand or foot. The blood comes rushing back and it's very uncomfortable.




If you have these sensations occasionally, then it's no big deal. It's uncomfortable for a few moments, then it's over. You go on with whatever you're doing. For Msers, you may have these feelings continuously to the point of it being painful.


It's not only uncomfortable, it's annoying. It can cause problems emotionally. Having to deal with a sensation or feeling that's there for no reason – you didn't lose circulation – all the time, are very irritating.


Paresthesias can happen anywhere on your body, not just your limbs. Some have reported feeling them after a hug or after being rubbed on their backs. Any touch can make you feel uncomfortable.

Treatments available


These sensations can interfere with every day life. Is there some type of treatment for it? Yes, there are a few medications available to manage this symptom.


Amitriptyline or Elavil, carbamazepine or Tegretol, and phenytoin or Dilantin are a few of the medications doctors prescribe for paresthesias. Elavil is an antidepressant that's used in MS to treat the painful burning, tingling, and prickly feelings in the arms and legs.


Carbamazepine or Tegretol is usually prescribed to relieve shock-like pain, such as the facial pain caused by trigeminal neuralgia – okay, another big scientific word. I'll explain that before we go on.



Trigeminal neuralgia (TN)


or tic douloureux, (also known as prosopalgia) is a neuropathic disorder of one or both of the facial trigeminal nerves. It causes episodes of intense pain in any or all of the following: the ear, eye, lips, nose, scalp, forehead, teeth or jaw on one side of the face. It is estimated that 1 in 15,000 people suffer from trigeminal neuralgia, although the actual figure may be significantly higher due to frequent misdiagnosis. TN usually develops after the age of 50, more commonly in females, although there have been cases with patients being as young as three years of age.


TN can bring about stabbing, mind-numbing, electric shock-like pain from just a finger's glance of the cheek or spontaneously without any stimulation by the patient.


Wikipedia – Trigeminal Neuralgia


Phenytoin is an anticonvulsant used to manage seizures in epilepsy. In MS, it's used to treat paresthesias as we talked about earlier. These sensations are caused by damage to the sensory pathways in the brain and spinal cord.


Cir used to have constant prickly feelings in his lower back. Since his back operation, he hasn't complained about them as much. The doctor who did the operation thought he would have some relief if some of his symptoms were caused by the pinched nerves. Hopefully that was the case.

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