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Concerning symptoms.. Could this be MS?

Hello all,

I’m a 29yr old mama of a 2 yr old and very worried about my recent symptoms pointing to possible MS. It all started when I was pruning a tree with hedge shears and after some time I suddenly felt both arms go weak. This led to numbness in my right arm which then moved to my left arm. My pinky and ring fingers on both hands were the only fingers affected.

Then I felt numbness and tingling in my left leg, which is what pointed me away from my initial assumption of a possible ulnar nerve issue. I had a clean EMG and now a brain MRI scheduled soon.

Hoping for some insight on how MS flares work, and whether onset involves both arms/hands at once? Or symptoms come and go or move around? And could MS be triggered immediately after a workout?

Any thoughts appreciated so much🙏🏼

  1. , hi and welcome! I am glad you found our community.


    First off, I do hope that whatever you are dealing with is temporary and easily resolved.


    That said, if it is MS or another chronic condition, please know that you can handle it. I know that sounds extremely presumptuous, but you can. It may not be pretty and it may not be easy, but I have yet to know of one person that MS truly defeated.


    Ok. So, here is some information on the tests that many physicians will use to reach a diagnosis of MS -- https://multiplesclerosis.net/diagnosis/tools-your-doctor-will-use-to-make-a-diagnosis.


    And here is a list of conditions that can mimic MS symptoms that a physician will try to rule out as you are working on making a firm diagnosis -- https://multiplesclerosis.net/diagnosis/ruling-out-other-health-conditions.


    To answer some of your specific questions, here is some insight on how MS flares can work -- https://multiplesclerosis.net/living-with-ms/exacerbation-listen-to-your-gut. Secondly, MS can be quite unique and how each person experiences a flare or onset of symptoms can vary widely. Some individuals experience vision or balance issues. Some individuals experience numbness/tingling/pain in one or more areas of the body. Symptoms can come and go and move around. And many things can trigger MS, including stress, temperature changes, etc -- https://multiplesclerosis.net/living-with-ms/top-common-triggers.


    Some people do experience a worsening of MS symptoms during or after exercise dur to the sudden increase in body temperature, but this does not happen to every person with MS.


    I don't want to inundate you with too much information at once, so please don't hesitate to reach out if you have further questions.


    I know the waiting for a diagnosis can be just plain torture. Hang in there and know you are not alone! Whatever you are dealing with, whether its MS or something else entirely, know that there are people in this world that will understand what you are going through.


    Best, Erin, MultipleSclerosis.net Team Member.

    1. I’m not sure if I needed to tag your name along with my response to your comment below. Again, I appreciate your time and any thoughts regarding my concerns🙏🏼

    2. Hi ! Tagging does help. She will get a notice in her email that you mentioned her in your comment. - Lori (Team Member)

  2. I appreciate your prompt response to my concerns, Erin. The wide variety and variability of symptoms of MS makes it all the more difficult to seek reassurance or understanding of my symptoms without any imaging testing.


    I was hoping that maybe the sudden bilateral nature of my symptoms would point away from MS, from what I’ve read elsewhere. And more importantly, that my pinky/ring fingers were the only fingers to go numb on both hands, which usually points to an ulnar nerve issue. Does MS affect specific fingers such as this or more so the hand in general?


    I also have widespread twitching and a feeling of tightness in calf/hamstring when walking in my numb left leg. Is tightness with MS usually constant or can it be only while walking?


    And is weakness in MS more of a fatigued, heavy feeling in the arms or is it that function is impaired? My pinky/ring fingers in both hands feel weak too. Can MS cause weakness in fingers only?


    I greatly appreciate your time and consideration, and hoping to gain more understanding🙏🏼





    1. I really appreciate your response. I have a brain MRI scheduled for the 21st.


      I had a normal EMG which the Neuro said he also doesn’t think anything will be found on the brain MRI either. And my Doc said she doesn’t feel MS is very likely. I’m not sure how they’re coming to this conclusion without further testing?


      I just keep thinking back to the onset of my symptoms and trying to understand how an MS relapse would correlate. Both my arms felt weak right after pruning a tree with hedge shears and all symptoms thereafter have persisted for more than a month now.


      I read a post here that only pseudo-exacerbations, not relapses, can be caused by yard work but usually last 24 hrs. My symptoms have lasted longer which means it would be a relapse. So is this to say it’s not likely that my sudden symptoms after yard work point to an MS relapse?


      I’m just getting mixed messages online about relapses not being caused by exercise and also that they can be caused by exertion, which could be exercise also then? It’s all very confusing to understand and has left me with more anxiety and fear of the possibility of MS.


      Again, thank you for your time and would appreciate any thoughts on this🙏🏼



    2. Hi Xtinamama91. Any kind of stress can trigger a relapse. Doing yardwork might not trigger a relapse, but all that worrying -- about whether you can do yardwork, how you might feel after, how long the symptoms are going to last and whether you might have MS -- could very well trigger one. You will read a lot about people's experiences here, but nothing is cast in stone. MS can behave in different ways for different people. Will you also be having an MRI of your neck and spine? My mother-in-law lost the feeling in each of her pinky fingers. She does not have MS. Hers is caused by damage to the spine from advance degenerative disc disease and scoliosis. I hope get some answers so you know exactly what you are dealing with. Warmly, Lori (Team Member)

  3. Thank you for addressing my concerns. If I’m understanding correctly, since I wasn’t stressed at the time of doing the yard work, then my sudden symptoms likely wouldn’t have been MS related? My anxiety and stress began days after the onset of symptoms when I started widespread muscle twitching and then worrying about possible ALS or MS.


    My doctor only ordered a brain MRI as she thinks it has to be something central, considering the many locations of symptoms in arms/hands and leg. I’m assuming the next step would be a spinal MRI if MS is ruled out.


    What concerns me the most is the nature of my symptoms being new and changing/moving every day. I went for some days without any tingling in my leg, or felt no tingling in fingers on other days, but then it came back. Can symptoms come and go during a relapse? Or do symptoms usually stay/get worse and then slowly reside?


    Also, the numbness in my leg is felt more in the back of my leg along the sciatic nerve, starting from low back/butt and then down to my foot/toes. Does MS present like sciatica?


    Again, I greatly appreciate your time and consideration🙏🏼




    1. I appreciate your response. I am still concerned about the possibility of MS knowing that 5% of patients are diagnosed with spinal lesions only. I’ve been told by my doctor that a normal brain MRI rules out MS, without confirming with a spinal MRI. Should I be confident in the 95% chance I don’t have MS or be concerned and push for more tests? I’m trying to request a spinal MRI, but the doc is not taking me or my health seriously and wants to take the easy route that it’s anxiety, regardless of my unexplained ongoing symptoms, which is frustrating.

    2. Hi . If you still believe that MS might be the cause of your symptoms, you might want to get a second opinion from an MS specialist. The National MS Society has a tool for finding one in your area. Here is a link: https://www.nationalmssociety.org/Resources-Support/Find-Doctors-Resources. I hope you find a doctor who gives you confidence in your diagnosis and answers to your symptoms. Sending lots of gentle hugs your way! - Lori (Team Member)

  4. It could very well be this damnable disease.

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