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Using Magnets for DIY Gave Me My Fingers Back

Please note – when I say DIY, I’m talking about putting together simple things like flat-pack furniture. I am not – nor have I ever been – especially practical. Especially not when my first MS symptom was constant pins and needles in my fingers. As it stands currently, I can feel through the “static” but I have lost a lot of sensitivity in my hands.

Last month, the U.K. was sweltering under record temperatures. Yes, I know it’s actually summer, but anyone who has ever visited us on this side of the pond will know that this isn’t normal.

Unusual heat

For example, last year I posted a picture on Instagram of an open fire which we lit at the end of July.

Because the temperature has been so high this year, we invested in a few desktop fans to enable us to get some relief.

Construction involved

Unfortunately, the last one was purchased online. So we didn’t realize there would be a tiny bit of construction involved. This was, admittedly, a very small amount of work. But when MS has reduced the amount of sensitivity in your fingers, even this can be incredibly frustrating.

The final bit of construction was fitting the front and rear fan guards to the stand. It was then I realised that what was needed to hold these two pieces together was a nut and bolt measuring around 3mm wide.

nut and bolt next to a ruler for scale

The struggle to feel small objects

This is precisely the sort of thing which I struggle to feel in my hand. Even getting the parts into position was impossible, never mind screwing then together. And if I dropped them that would mean a frustrating few minutes looking and then uselessly flapping my hands around to pick up something which I couldn’t even feel.

For some reason, despite the heat-induced fatigue I was experiencing, I suddenly thought: what if I used a magnet to hold the bolt in place and tightened the nut into it? Then once the thread had started to take, I could remove the magnet and just tighten fully as normal.

The hack that worked like a dream

I’m pleased to report that this worked like a dream.

I know this is not the most earth-shattering, life-altering tip. But MS can take so much from us.

And this little hack made me feel a little less useless and helped combat the everyday frustrations which constantly chip away at my self-worth.

Who knows, my tale of epic everyday heroism might even help you!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • deeanne
    12 months ago

    This is exactly the problem I have. I can’t feel for small change in my purse, etc and the constant tingling in my finger tips is always there. I have arthritis in my hands as well. But I try to stay positive that I will be able to cope for quite a while yet. I will remember your trick with the magnet with gratitude, thank you.,

  • Julie
    12 months ago

    I say kudos to you! I get so frustrated with my numb fingers I end up just tossing whatever I’m doing until someone comes by that has feeling. Agrivating! Next time I will stop and look for a solution instead of being such a hothead!

  • llfagan
    12 months ago

    Fantastic, Steve! Great life hack.

  • Dianne Scott moderator
    1 year ago

    Hi Steve,

    Kudos! We love success stories in any way, big or small!
    When we can push past limitations perpetuated from MS, it makes us proud of ourselves and, by sharing, can be inspiring to others.

    Thanks for a great article!

    Dianne, Moderator

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