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Have had tingling, burning and pins and needles sensations in body. Feeling weak and tired. What to do?

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Hi- I have had tingling, burning and pins and needles sensations down the left side of my body for over 30 years. It started with just a weakness in my left arm and hand and became worse after I had my first child until it affected various parts of the whole of my left side.They become worse if I am tired or drink alcohol. It can fade into the background for long/or short periods of time and then flare up. When this happens I feel extremely tired and weak . I saw a neurologist many years ago but was just told that I would have to keep coming back and that I had a slight loss of sensation on one side. When I asked my GP about it at the time , he told me that it was something I would just have to learn to live with and that it would probably never go but given no possible reason for it.. One registrar told me that sometimes people get these funny feelings so I never complained about it again. I also have a numb patch on the left side of my spine and an extra sensitive patch on my left foot. I have never had an mri. I have recently had a flare up again that has lasted a month so far and have always wondered if these could be symptoms of ms. I would be grateful for your input. I am scared to go to my doctor because I don't want to be dismissed again,
Posted Fri, 17 Aug 2012 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Pratap Sanchetee 3 hours later

Thanks for the query.

I have read your report with diligence.

Definitely you have few annoying symptoms which need attention. But good news is that since they are there for more than 30 years, they are unlikely to progress to serious consequences. So in first instance feel assured, not to get scary and depressed.

You should consult your doctor now to have the followings (I would have done these if I were to be your treating doctor):

1. To find out extent of neurological deficit (if any) and give some symptomatic treatment.

2. If required, doctor will refer you to a neurologist for evaluation and investigations. I would order for MRI of brain and spinal cord, evoked potential studies, nutritional assessment, etc. These tests will tell us if there is a structural condition that is causing the symptoms.

3. At present unlikely you need definitive treatment for Multiple Sclerosis.

Discuss with your current doctor and plan to get these tests done. I will be available for more comments once these tests are done.

Hope this helps. If you have any more concerns, I will be glad to address them.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Have had tingling, burning and pins and needles sensations in body. Feeling weak and tired. What to do? 1 hour later
Thank you for your reply. I am not really scared or depressed. To be honest, I just want to know what could be causing these symptoms. I was diagnosed with reading epilepsy when I was 17 and initially I thought that maybe my symptoms were in some way related to this but my neurologist at the time said he thought the symptoms were probably a separate issue. When it flares up like this, nothing seems to help really and I feel that everything is such an effort. The constant burning and tingling pains preside over everything else. I can't just ignore it. I just wanted to know really, if they could be caused by a form of ms or if not, what else could cause these symptoms.
Answered by Dr. Pratap Sanchetee 2 hours later

Its nice to know that you do not have anxiety or depression. I agree with your neurologist. He is correct that it is not related to epilepsy.

As I said this does not appear to be serious. Multiple Sclerosis is not in my mind right now as it is not progressive. I suspect nutritional deficiency. You can ask your doctor about Serum Vitamin B12, B1 levels. Alcohol prevents their absorption from the gut.

MRI confirms the Multiple Sclerosis, if there is a strong suspicion your doctor will order it definitely.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Have had tingling, burning and pins and needles sensations in body. Feeling weak and tired. What to do? 3 hours later
Hi. Thank you again and I am sorry if I seem to be pestering but how could a nut ritional defeciency cause symptoms on one side of the body only. It doesn't make sense to me and how would that cause these symptoms to flare up in the way that they do?
This has been going on for a lot of years. Also, how could this cause these numb patches that I also have on the same side of my body?
Answered by Dr. Pratap Sanchetee 6 hours later

Thanks again.

Whenever we are faced with atypical symptoms of long duration we do investigate and rule out nutritional, toxic (alcohol) and drugs related factors also. Though in most cases they are symmetrical but uncommonly they may limit to one side of body. Further there can be flaring of symptoms in relation to stressful events.

It does not appear to be related to connective tissue disorder. Though unlikely, I would rule out demyelination (MS) through a MRI scan in addition to the aforementioned possibilities.

Thus I again suggest for a good clinical examination and then decide about battery of tests. It's unfortunate that I am unable to examine you, but do discuss about these parameters with your current neurologist.

Hope this answers your query. Should you have any additional queries, I will be glad to assist you.

Dr. Pratap
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Follow-up: Have had tingling, burning and pins and needles sensations in body. Feeling weak and tired. What to do? 41 minutes later
Thank you again. I will speak to my doctor, however I would like point out that I neither drink nor have I ever used any drugs so it is highly unlikely that these symptoms relate to either of these things. I was just pointing out that were I to even have a couple of glasses wine, the symptoms are exacerbated.
Answered by Dr. Pratap Sanchetee 17 hours later

Thanks for the input.

Let us wait for the evaluation by the doctor. Things will be clear after the evaluation.

Wish you good health.

Dr. Pratap
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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