5 Random Sensory MS Symptoms
Last updated: March 2023
If you're living with multiple sclerosis (MS), then you're probably aware of the boundless array of possible symptoms you may experience. Who knows which of them you may be hit with during your life or which will become all too familiar stalkers of yours?
Living with weird MS symptoms
Just as unknown are all the strange and mysterious symptoms that even manage to evade your memory when at a neurology appointment. Here are 5 random sensory MS symptoms that I sometimes experience but always forget to talk about.
1. Mixed up sensory temperatures
Ever put your hand under running tap water only to autonomically yank it away because, for a split second, you thought it felt scalding hot? Or maybe, after testing the shower water with your hand and thinking it's just right, you step in to realize 5 seconds later that it's actually freezing cold? Or maybe the water doesn't feel like anything and instead, you experience numbness or pins and needles? What about feeling hot or cold when nothing is even there? MS can affect sensory nerves, which among other things, allow you to sense temperature.
2. An itch that can't be itched
At some point in their life, I'm sure that everyone has had their face tickled by a feather, piece of string, or even walked through a spiderweb they didn't see. Annoying, isn't it? Well, at least you can literally brush all of that away. Imagine swiping at your face, even clawing at it with your nails, and it not going away. You look in the mirror, but nothing is there even though it feels like a giant hairy spider is tap dancing on the tip of your nose.
Trying to ignore the phantom sensation
Eventually, what else is there to do other than try to just ignore the sensation of crumpled up cellophane on your skin. In fact, after much scratching, it's hard not to conclude that the itch is beneath your skin. Can bones itch? Much like any other sensory symptom, it can happen anywhere, but for me? When it does actually happen? It's always on the very tip of my nose - it's torture!
3. Random stabbing sensations
There I am, sitting down and humming a little tune while minding my own business - dootsie-doot-doo-doo -when out of nowhere, I violently flinch. To those around me, I'm sure it looks like I just got slapped in the face by a deeply offended ghost! But that honestly sounds much more enjoyable than what I actually felt, because to me? It felt more like an angry ghost snuck up on me and shanked me on the side of my head. When this happens, it literally feels like a huge red-hot skewer is quickly forced into my temple.
The stabbing pain is inconsistent and random
And then, just like that, it's gone, and months will go by before it happens again. At first, I wasn't sure this was an MS thing. I thought that I was having something terrible like a brain aneurism or something. But once it became evident that that's not what was happening and once I started talking to others living with MS who experience the same thing, I settled on the assumption that this was neurological. That said, I would still recommend mentioning this to your neurologist if you experience it because better safe than sorry, right?
4. I just need to move my arms!
Lastly, I experience a very odd sensation that I'm not entirely sure how to put into words for those who haven't felt it themselves. First, think about restless leg syndrome (RLS). There's a good chance you have either experienced it or at least know what it is. If not, let me sum it up. Imagine being dead-tired and ready to fall asleep. Only for some reason, you have an uncontrollable urge to move your legs around. To squirm beneath your blanket like a worm that just drank an entire pot of coffee.
Is this related to restless leg syndrome?
I haven't had RLS in years, but now I experience what's possibly just a different flavor of it. I'll be lying there trying to fall asleep when that familiar RLS feeling starts to manifest between my shoulder and chest. Usually on both sides at once too - that way, it sucks just a little extra. I try to ignore it and focus on sleeping, but then? Like popcorn in a microwave, my shoulders will start to randomly pop around and keep me awake. The only nonpharmacological way to make it stop? To voluntarily move my arms, flex my muscles, and clench my fist.
5. An inexplicable urge to move
But I'm not talking about the actual spasms here. I'm specifically talking about the odd sensation that I initially experience, and that makes me need/want to move my arms in the first place. It's like a tickle, an itchy tickle paired with an inexplicable urge to move-move-move. I try to not let it overpower me, but, well...I've never won this battle on my own. The sensation becomes too much to bear, and so, this battle always ends with me getting up and taking meds to stop the involuntary spasms.
What strange symptoms have you experienced?
Do you experience any of these weird and often short-lived symptoms? Maybe it's a bit different to you? Or perhaps you experience other random sensory symptoms? Share in the comments below!
Have you ever experienced any of these weird sensory MS symptoms? (Select all that apply.)
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