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Numbness in left arm, left hand, tingling, left toe pain, lower back pain. Multiple sclerosis ?

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hello-- The last four days my left arm started to feel numb when I woke up and now it seems to be only in my left hand. It also tingles a lot all day long. My left big toe hurts also-sometimes my right hand tingles as well-I do have low back pain, but my neck does not hurt.--I am worried this could be the start of MS--I also have been lightheaded for several weeks. Could this be a issue with my neck and back or could it be something worse. Doctor is send me for a MRI on Monday-Thanks so much for your time.
Posted Sat, 5 May 2012 in Multiple Sclerosis
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 1 hour later
Hello and thank you for your query.

Let me provide you with some information and reassurance. I will start off by saying I think it is unlikely that you have MS. While remotely possible, I would not consider your symptoms to be highly suspicious.

I am more inclined to think that some of your symptoms may stem from nerve impingement. A pinched nerve can cause numbness and tingling as well as some degree of weakness. Regarding your arm this could be occurring at the level of the cervical spine. Also, tingles which occur up into the hand are commonly due to forearm swells and puts pressure on the median nerve which is the nerve which supplies sensation to your hand. This can lead to tingling and weakness as well. You may have some degree of carpal tunnel syndrome going on in both hands. Your doctor can assess for this with a study called an EMG which measures the nerve conduction in the arms.

I am not sure why your big toe hurts. It could be due to arthritis or possibly a form of gout where inflammation creates a buildup of a substance called uric acid near the toe joint. I would ask your physician to assess for this.

As for the light headedness - coulkd be a number of things including dehydration or blood pressure fluctuation. Be sure to check your blood pressure when you have these episodes to see if there is any fluctuation going on in which case you may need to have your medication adjusted.

Again, let me reassure you that MS is very low on my list in considering what is causing your symptoms. I would proceed with the MRI and consider the EMG study related to possible carpal tunnel syndrome.

Again I thank you for your query. I hope you have found my response to be both informative and helpful. If you have additional questions I am available to address them.


Dr. Galamaga
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Numbness in left arm, left hand, tingling, left toe pain, lower back pain. Multiple sclerosis ? 31 hours later
Hello--thank you for your response--I did forget to mention, I have been also experiencing XXXXXXX trembling for the last 4-5 months maybe more--its weird it feels like I'm shaking or trembling inside, but not visible to the others. That is why I thought of MS, along with the other symptoms mentioned above. My mother suffered from major anxiety. I was thinking maybe that could be it. It last all day and evening--Could these numbness be a slow onset of a stroke or heart issue? I know these is extreme, but when I was recently diagnosed with severe sleep apnea, I found out after testing my oxygen levels were at 60 for years--could this have cause permanent damage --My levels are much better and normal now. Thanks again, and I hope your day is going well.
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 15 hours later
Hello and thanks for your followup.

I would have to say that the most likely contributing factor to the XXXXXXX trembling would have to be anxiety. MS is really not even known to cause this type of phenomenon. Try to focus on good relaxation techniques, exercise and removing any excessive stimulants from your daily routine such as caffeine.

Your other symptoms are more musculoskeletal in nature and not indicative of stroke. I don't think you have any permanent damage going on and I am glad to hear that you have started improving your general health with the management of the sleep apnea.

The bottom line here is that I think you do have some mild anxiety along with the possible musculoskeletal concerns I spoke about in the initial reply. You are really otherwise healthy and young! You can expect to live a very long and normal healthy life as long as you are attentive to good diet and exercise as well as following the suggestions of your primary physicians.

Again thanks for the query. I wish you all the best and continued good health and happiness.


Dr. Galamaga
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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