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Crawling sensation in hands and feet, cramping and pain. Dizziness, irregular heartbeat. Is this a warranted concern?

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Neurologist, Surgical
Practicing since : 1996
Answered : 138 Questions
Hello Doctor,

I'm a 19 year old male and have recently been suffering from crawling sensations (formication?) in my hands and feet, accompanied by transient cramping and pain for the past two months. Typically, it is worse in the mornings and is improved by exercising and stretching. There are no rashes or visible dermatological problems.

I have also suffered spells of dizziness, irregular and erratic heart beat and have found myself sleeping more than usual.

I have diagnosed anxiety, ADHD and Celiacs. I have been prescribed in the past anti-depressants (an SSRI, paroxetine) but was quickly taken off it after I developed Serotonin Syndrome -- that was about a year ago.

My celiacs diagnoses came roughly 4 months and have since cut gluten from my diet -- my Celiacs symptoms have thus improved.

I'm incredibly worried, considering my age and location (Melbourne, Australia) that I am developing Multiple Sclerosis. It is exacerbating my anxiety terribly. Is this a warranted concern? Am I likely to be experiencing the early onset of MS?

Thankyou for your time, Doctor, and I await your reply.


Posted Fri, 4 May 2012 in Multiple Sclerosis
Answered by Dr. Praveen K Nath 14 hours later

Thanks for the query.

I have gone through your history in detail. In the presence of anxiety disorder, I understand that the occurrence of these new symptoms are troubling you and causing some distress. I shall try to help you with it.

Abnormal crawling sensations in hands & legs can be caused by multiple clinical conditions:
In the presence of anxiety and other psychological condition, my first presumption is that these could be related to anxiety. Perhaps a review of your treatment by your psychologist could help you resolve these symptoms.

Neurological conditions such as peripheral neuropathy, mild spinal disc compressions and multiple sclerosis also could be a cause here. A detailed physical examination and some relevant investigations such as MRI brain and Cervico-dorsal spine will rule out these neurological conditions beyond doubts. In addition a check up of blood sugars, thyroid functions, glycosylated Hemoglobin (Hba1c), lipid profile, renal and liver functions are also entailed.

At this point, I would also encourage you to practice lifestyle modifications and relaxation techniques which are known to be effective in controlling both your psychological as well as neurological conditions.

Hope this helps you. Thank you once again for submitting your query here. Should you have any further concerns, I will be available to address them. Do accept this answer if you do not have any further queries.

Wish you a speedy recovery.

Dr. Praveen K Nath XXXXXXX consultant neurosurgeon
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