Monday, April 21, 2014

Friday, January 09, 2009 ladygraycloud, Community Member, asks

Q: Why do I always feel pain?

specially in my neck,back and head.

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Answers (2)
Merely Me, Health Guide
1/10/09 9:45am

Hello Ladygraycloud

 

Love your name!

 

If you have MS, pain... unfortunately, seems to be part of the package.  There are a number of stats out there to show that most people who have MS will experience pain at some point during the course of the disease.

 

There is a chance that your pain symptoms might not be caused by MS so you do want to get this checked out by your doctor or neurologist first.  They are going to know best what is causing your pain and what to do about it.

 

In doing a literature search I am finding that you are not alone.  There are tons of others who have MS who have pain in these areas of the neck, back, and head.  Some reasons offered are spasticity which can cause cramping of muscles, neuropathic pain which feels like a burning sensation, and trigeminal neuralgia which feels like stabbing bursts of pain usually in the face.

 

As I have mentioned, it seems a lot of people who have MS have these particular pain issues and you can find one discussion about this very topic on a support group forum I found here

 

Here is yet another site where a doctor has shared her insight into why this pain occurs and what you can do about it.

 

And lastly, here is a great article about what you can do about such pain.

 

Some solutions to this pain problem include:  Physical therapy, massage and medication.  Some people reportedly use Neurontin or Tegretol to help.  I am reading that the usual over the counter stuff is usually ineffective for MS pain.

 

I sure hope this helps some.  Please do check in with your doctor about this.  You don't need to suffer needlessly.

 

Thank you for your question and please do update us on what works for you in dealing with this pain.

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Lisa Emrich, Health Guide
1/10/09 12:29pm

Hello again,

 

I read your MS Journal Day One (also in your profile, I think?) the following about your symptoms -

 

"My symptoms are a constant headache, blurred vision,pains off and on in face and all around my head and neck area, back pain,(I have deteriration of the spine),numbness in both legs and pins and needles in hands,feet,and arms, my newest is when I get up the bottom of my feet hurt and feel pressure."

 

I also see that you are very newly diagnosed and will be consulting a neurologist soon.  Likely you have lots of questions (I know I did) and will be dealing with many unknowns at this point.  The first year post-diagnosis was the hardest for me and is for many folks.  Hang in there.

 

About the symptoms.  Our body transmits pain signals through the nervous system and with MS our CNS has faulty areas, so messages can be jumbled up.  Many of the pain issues you mention, I have experienced and I'm happy to share what I know.

 

Questions for you though - Is the pain on your face/head/neck only on one side?  Is the headache primarily on that same side?

 

I experience Trigeminal Neuralgia (link goes to the NIH site - NINDS) which is described as an extreme burning or shock-like sensation along one (or all) of the three brains of the trigeminal or 5th Cranial nerve.  However with mine, it's less like a shock and more an intense pressure, somewhat like an elephant is standing on my face and head.  LOL. 

 

To combat this symptom, I take Neurontin (an anticonvulsant) which also helps with some of the pins-and-needles on other parts of the body.  When the medication has worn off (or I've forgotten doses) then the pain comes back, starting with a pressure headache and growing.  It's not fun.

 

The numbness and pins-and-needles you describe could be a type of neuropathy called paresthesia.  The pain in your feet sounds like peripheral neuropathy.  I get these too and they are also controlled by anticonvulsant medication.

 

From the NINDS - "Chronic paresthesia is often a symptom of an underlying neurological disease or traumatic nerve damage. Paresthesia can be caused by disorders affecting the central nervous system, such as stroke and transient ischemic attacks (mini-strokes), multiple sclerosis, transverse myelitis, and encephalitis. A tumor or vascular lesion pressed up against the brain or spinal cord can also cause paresthesia. Nerve entrapment syndromes, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, can damage peripheral nerves and cause paresthesia accompanied by pain."

 

The National MS Society has created a easy to use page which leads to information regarding common symptoms of MS.  This is a good starting point for looking up answers, or for just perusing.  However, please keep in mind that not everybody will experience every possible symptom, nor for all of the time.

 

I'm sure that when you get in to see the neurologist and get some symptomatic relief, you will be feeling much better.  Thanks so much for jumping in and taking full advantage of the site.  I look forward to getting to know you better.

 

Lisa

 

 

 

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By ladygraycloud, Community Member— Last Modified: 11/17/10, First Published: 01/09/09