The pain in my neck

Kids can be a pain in the neck, as the saying goes. One thing that never really impacted me prior to this exacerbation was pain. 
I have lots of different kinds of pain. The pain in my legs, hands and neck are the areas that most impact my life. 

In the last couple of months, as the exacerbation wears on, the pain is getting more pronounced.

The feeling of pins and needles is a bearable part of my life; the pain that sneaks in tends to impact me more.

Here are some things I would like to teach people about my MS

  • Just because I look fine, does not mean I'm not struggling with pain and fatigue.
  • Just because I am not using my cane does not mean I am not a fall risk.

I am so tired. Tired of pretending I'm fine. It seems that the more I battle, the harder I fake it for my kid the harder it is.

I do not feel better. I am learning to cope better. There is a huge difference. 

Please don't tell me to get well soon, like I have a cold. Even if I do, based on my disease trajectory even if my treatment works there is a good chance than I will slowly progress. 

 

 I was out and a very nice couple said, "I hope you get better soon."

I responded, "For me, a better sentiment is 'I hope you don't get much worse.' Chronic illness is like that." It may sound rude when you read it, but I had a smile on my face and I think that softened the blow.  But I have stopped caring if I make other people uncomfortable. 

Please don't assume because you saw me on a good day I am suddenly cured of a chronic illness. It makes you look uninformed and I feel like an asshole when I want to roll my eyes at you.

Don't make fun of a disability with something sitting at the table with a disability. Take the word “retard” out of your vernacular.  While you are at it, think about the slurs you choose to use in jest. 

It might seem like a simple lesson for all parents to teach their children. 

If your child says “What’s wrong with her?” I will not be offended.  I am happy to tell them that I have holes in my brain called lesions.  They make it hard for me to do some things.  You can also respond to your child.  Please don’t shush them.  An answer like, “There are a lot of diseases that make life a little harder for people. I wear glasses, that is a disability, just like that woman needs a cane to walk.”  Children need to understand that disabilities come in a range.  I do not need to report my intermittent need for a cane on my driver's license, but you need to tell the DMV about your eyesight. 

The point is, think before you speak.  Know that looking fine, does not mean healthy.  I work every day to seem fine.  I use so much energy pretending that I am fine. 

Lhermitte's sign (pronounced Ler-meets) is a sudden sensation resembling an electric shock that passes down the back of your neck and into your spine and may then radiate out into your arms and legs. It is usually triggered by bending your head forward towards your chest. The problem can be painful, but it’s not life-threatening. 

It is also known as Lhermitte's syndrome or barber’s chair syndrome. It can be a symptom of multiple sclerosis. When you have MS, your immune system begins to attack the fatty coating, called myelin, that protects your nerves. Without it, scar tissue forms and begins to block the messages traveling in your brain and spinal cord. Lhermitte’s sign is one of the symptoms that happens when those signals don’t move as they should.
Citations: Multiple Sclerosis Trust, UK & Web MD 

 


Guide to Lhermitte's Sign and How it Relates to Multiple Sclerosis

The treatment for Lhermitte's Sign due to MS can depend on what type of MS you have and how severe your symptoms are. If your symptoms are mild then physical therapy might be all you need but if they are moderate to severe then you may need medications such as corticosteroids or immunosuppressants.

Introduction: What is Lhermitte's Sign?

Lhermitte's sign is a neurological phenomenon that occurs when the neck is flexed. This motion causes an electrical shock-like sensation in the back of the neck. The symptoms are usually temporary but can be severe. It can be a symptom of multiple sclerosis, or it can be caused by other problems with the neck or spine. For example, it can be caused by pressure on the vagus nerve in the neck, which controls the parasympathetic nervous system. Lhermitte’s sign is usually caused by damage to the nerve that runs from the neck to the back. This damage can occur due to inflammation or there can be a lesion in the area that the signal is passed through.

The sign was first described by French neurologist Jean Lhermitte in 1924.

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What is the Correlation Between Lhermitte's Sign and Multiple Sclerosis?

Lhermitte's Sign is a neurological symptom that causes an electric shock-like sensation when the neck is bent forward that radiates from the neck down to the arms and legs. It is often caused by a lesion in the cervical spine, but it can also be caused by other conditions such as lesions in the brain due to multiple sclerosis. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system. The symptoms of MS vary from person to person, but they are typically grouped into two categories: sensory symptoms and motor symptoms. Sensory symptoms usually include numbness, tingling, pain, and loss of sensation in parts of the body. Motor symptoms can include muscle weakness or paralysis.

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How to Recognize Lhermitte's Sign?

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system and can cause symptoms such as numbness, vision problems, and tremors. Lhermitte's Sign is an early symptom of MS and should be considered if any of these symptoms are present. If you are noticing that you have numbness or the feeling of electric shock when you tip your head forward quickly you should talk to your care team.

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Treatment for Lhermitte's Syndrome

When Lhermitte’s Sign is not due to MS it can be treated with surgery to relieve pressure on the nerves. When it is due to MS your care team may have medications that will minimize its effects. The treatment for Lhermitte's syndrome includes medications to control sensory symptoms and physical therapy to help with neck pain. Many people with Multiple Sclerosis are prescribed disease modifying therapies. Disease-modifying drugs are used to reduce the number of relapses and slow down the progression of the condition.

The treatment for Lhermitte's Sign due to MS can depend on what type of MS you have and how severe your symptoms are. If your symptoms are mild then physical therapy might be all you need but if they are moderate to severe then you may need medications such as corticosteroids or immunosuppressants. It can be caused by tumors, infection, or muscular disorders of the throat and neck muscles. The pressure on these nerves affects how much oxygen is delivered to muscles in resp

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