Vibrating Back

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about Multiple Sclerosis.  Part of the reason is things have been going ok.  I’ve been doing the Copaxone injections since early May.  Since I started the injections, I haven’t really had any symptoms/issues.  This changed in late September.

I ended up having some tingly/numbness sensations on the right side of my torso.  I noticed it a few times when I would scratch an itch or something along my rib cage, or just below.  I didn’t think anything off it.  On 10/5 is when this feeling was persistent for the entire day.  Before that, it was on and off and honestly I didn’t really notice it.  The following day, 10/6, that feeling had moved down into my right leg.  Most noticeable in my right foot and lower leg (half way up calf).  I had sent a note to my doctor as it was lasting over 24 hours.  They had prescribed some Steroid pills to try and get the symptoms to subside.  I picked them up, but couldn’t start them until Tuesday morning as it said to take them in the morning and at lunch.  I read the side effects and it mentioned to take them with antacid and could cause heart burn.  On Tuesday when I was taking them though, there was no heart burn.  I didn’t have any side effects.  The issue wasn’t going away though.  The next day, Wednesday (10/8), the symptoms actually got worse.  the feeling had moved into both legs and had general weakness.  I could lift my legs, but they felt like they had a bunch of weight on them.  Also, heart burn had kicked in, and it was probably the worse I had ever felt. 

The symptoms I was having were pretty much gone by late Thursday, and this was the last day on the meds.  The heart burn was unbearable.  I started taking the antacids, but they weren’t really helping.  The following Tuesday, 10/14 was really the first day that I had felt normal again.  The side effects of the meds made that a very miserable time.  Was hard to eat, sleep and really do anything. 

My Back

So, the main symptoms of the September/October episode were gone.  Then I started noticing something very odd.  When I would tilt my head down, with my chin getting closer to my chest, I would notice this vibration down my back.  Pretty much every time I would lower my head.  I thought it may just go away, and showed up after the episode had subsided.  Looking back, it’s possible it was happening during the episode, but with everything else, I just hadn’t noticed it.

Over time, the vibration/sensation has strengthened a bit, but it is more of an annoyance.  There is no pain associated with what I’m feeling.  There have been a few times where I’ve felt it go down into my upper legs in addition to my back.  Out of curiosity, I did a search on Bing to see if I could find information if this was related to MS at all.  I was guessing it was and that it was something neurological.

I found some references to  Lhermitte’s sign.  Reading the description, this is exactly what I was experiencing except for the pain part.

is an electrical sensation that runs down the back and into the limbs. In many patients, it is elicited by bending the head forward. It can also be evoked when a practitioner pounds on the posterior cervical spine while the neck is flexed; this is caused by involvement of the posterior columns.

The sign suggests a lesion of the dorsal columns of the cervical cord or of the caudal medulla. Although often considered a classic finding in multiple sclerosis, it can be caused by a number of conditions, including transverse myelitis, Behçet’s disease, trauma, radiation myelopathy, vitamin B12 deficiency (subacute combined degeneration), and compression of the spinal cord in the neck from any cause such as cervical spondylosis, disc herniation, tumor, and Arnold-Chiari malformation

Needless to say, it is an odd feeling.  Most times I’ll know it is coming.  But occasionally, I will jerk a certain way and it will catch me off guard, or be overly strong. 

I have a checkup with the doctor on November 17th, so I will bring it up then.