Multiple Sclerosis is a disease that can cause a huge number of different symptoms that often vary from person to person. We talk often about the “common” ones like fatigue, pain, temperature intolerance, cognitive impairment, spasticity, speech issues, numbness, and depression.
Wetness and other weird sensations
I’m gonna start off with one that I experience often and felt crazy when I spoke to my doctor about it. It’s a feeling of wetness in my limbs. For me, it often happens with my legs (but this happens to other parts of the body too), I will suddenly feel like my legs are soaking wet. Like I just stepped out of a pool. It is such a realistic feeling that I will instinctively reach down to check on them. My hand feels dryness, my legs feel wet. It’s an extremely weird symptom. My eyes and my hands are telling me that my legs are dry, but my legs are telling me they are wet. I’ve since learned that many people with Multiple Sclerosis get this or a similar feeling. Along with wetness, I’ll often get other weird symptom, like vibrations in my leg. It literally feels like a cell phone is vibrating in my pocket, even though my phone is on the table.
One weird symptom you may have heard about is the dreaded Multiple Sclerosis Hug. The hug is essentially an assortment of pains and sensations around the muscles between your ribs. The end result is intense squeezing and crushing feelings.
Lhermitte’s Sign, also called Barber Chair symptom, is an electric shock sensation that happens when the neck is tilted down. The electric shock feeling will often go through your arms and legs when you move your neck. While it’s often when you tilt your head down, suddenly moving your neck in other directions can trigger it too.
This is more a byproduct of treatment than the actual disease, but there is a tendency for those battling Multiple Sclerosis to get other illnesses more easily. The very nature of the disease is that our immune system isn’t working right (it’s attacking our own bodies), so many treatments will often decrease the effectiveness of our immune system. That can be good for battling Multiple Sclerosis, but it can also mean that we are more likely to catch every other bug out there.
Not always thought of as an Multiple Sclerosis symptom, it is now being recognized as being much more common than was previously thought It’s even been mentioned that migraines may be up to twice as common in those with MS than the normal population. Studies are still being done, however, many people I know with Multiple Sclerosis suffer from migraines, which can be extremely debilitating.
Another not so well known set of symptoms is dizziness and vertigo. Feelings of dizziness and feeling off-balance can actually be quite common among those with Multiple Sclerosis. When coupled with muscle weakness and foot drop, it’s no wonder falls are such a common problem among MS patients. Vertigo, which is the sensation of you or your surroundings spinning, may be less common, but can be extremely hard to deal with. I unfortunately have experience with vertigo, during one relapse, I suffered from it almost constantly for a couple weeks. It makes every aspect of life incredibly difficult.