Tingling

ladybugs

Tingling can be a welcome feeling when you're with the one you love. Unfortunately it can also be an unwelcome symptom when you have MS. It is one of a number of symptoms called paresthesias. They include numbness, tingling, burning, tickling, and prickling, feelings of your skin - kind of like the "pins & needles" feeling you get when your foot or hand falls asleep.





Tingling - what it feels like

If you don't have MS, what does this feel like? Have you ever sat in a yoga position too long, or fell asleep with your arm in an awkward position? When you wake up, you can't feel anything - that's the kind of feeling I mean. Imagine this feeling all the time. Or even 50 or 80% of the time. That would be very uncomfortable.

Your feet feel like a lump of clay, that the feeling just won't quite come back, no matter what you do. I can usually massage my feet until they're feeling normal again. But what if you massage and nothing happens? You still need to get up and walk around. I really hate that feeling, so I can not imagine having to live with it all the time.

MS Mouse numbness and tingling

When MSers experience this feeling on an ongoing basis, it is called chronic paresthesia. That just means that there is a problem with the neurons or nerve cells under the skin. The demyelinated nerves are responding incorrectly by sending signals in the wrong directions. They don't know exactly what to do so they send out tingling, burning, or prickling sensations.

Wrong place, wrong time

This is an over-simplified explanation, I know, but basically that's what happens. Your body is sending out the wrong signals at the wrong time. Montel Williams has this problem as well. He has terrible burning sensations in his feet. Sometimes it's so bad that it can lead to severe depression.

This MS symptom is sometimes said to be one of the "pain" symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Just think, if you had any one of these symptoms 24/7, would you describe it as painful? I'm sure you would.





What treatments are available for this symptom? There are a few different medications that help reduce the severity of paresthesias. Here's a short list.

  • gabapentin (an anticonvulsant)
  • gabatril (another anticonvulsant)
  • prednisone (an immunosuppressant)
  • some antiviral medications may work as welllidocaine and prilocaine (topical numbing creams) - applying too much can worsen the condition, so you need to be careful and only apply the necessary amount. It is a very effective, but short term treatment for the condition.

Is there anything else you can do to treat this symptom? You could try all of the methods for dealing with "pins and needles". Because this is a neurological problem, however, it more than likely will not work for MSers. There is no outside "stimuli" causing this to happen. It may be worth a try, however, for even a bit of temporary relief.

  • rocking your head from side to side may stop the "pins & needles" after a few minutes
  • loosening the neck muscles may help release the pressure causing an arm or hand to feel tingly
  • standing up and walking around may help relieve pressure in lower limbs
  • clenching and unclenching your fist can help get blood circulating to arms or hands that have "fallen asleep"
  • if this worsens the feeling, gentle massage may be a better solution

As I said before, these traditional fixes are for tingling that is temporary and not necessarily for neurologically caused parethesias. You may want to try alternative treatments like massage or acupuncture to get relief from these symptoms.





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