Discussions By Condition: Nerve conditions

Heavy, stiff, aching legs - what is this??

Posted In: Nerve conditions 6 Replies
  • Posted By: Nouria
  • January 2, 2007
  • 03:08 AM

Two months ago on my way to work I started having strange feelings in my legs. I noticed I was walking slower than usual and my legs felt heavy. Three hours later, in addition to the heaviness, my legs felt swollen, warm, stiff, and aching, and I had pins and needles. I could barely walk. My doctor tested my reflexes and noticed hyperreflexia (+4). By then I had also developed a pain in my lower back. He sent me to a neurologist right away, who noticed a babinski sign in my left leg, and hyperreflexia from the chin down. I had MRIs of my whole spinal cord and brain and also a spinal tap. All came back normal except for slight herniations of disks which three doctors have said are too slight to cause my symptoms. I'm very puzzled myself.

Since that first episode (which lasted about 3 days) I have had two more. They always affect both legs, are fairly gradual, and don't seem related to specific movements. My left side seems usually a bit more affected than my right. All neurological exams continue to show hyperreflexia. The pain seems to be in my muscles: I wake up feeling as if I'd ran a marathon in my sleep. Corticosteroids help almost immediately with the pain and the stiffness.

I also have had lower back pain pretty much constantly since my first attack, except when I lie down for most of the day. The back pain does not feel neurological.

I am 39, female, and otherwise in excellent health. My question is: could this be MS, in spite of all the negative findings? And if not -- any clue as to what it could be?

Thanks a million for reading this, and maybe helping me find an answer.

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6 Replies:

  • Have you ever figured out what was the cause of your symptoms? I'm curious because I'm having similar symptoms.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Wow! Trip down memory lane. I posted this thread in 2007. Since then I have been hospitalized 17 times for an average of a week each (once for three weeks), I have had four spinal taps, 21 MRIs, I lost my job, had to move from New York to New Jersey... Wait, if I start listing all that's happened I'll still be here tomorrow so let me be as concise as possible. All the symptoms I described in my initial post pointed to Transverse Myelitis. (I will let you google it if you haven't already. If it matches your symptoms I would strongly recommend printing the most serious article you can find and getting yourself to an ER -- I would give anything to have done that at the time.) However, sadly, I didn't hear the words "Transverse Myelitis" until about 6 months into the process, so Prednisone, which should have given out to me immediately, wasn't, and I have quite a few residual issues from that.Here I should clarify that for two years I was treated by a very old neurologist who was probably competent but believed that patients and doctors do not belong to the same species, and need not communicate. So I wasted a lot a lot of time with her. During those two years I was diagnosed "tentatively" with so many things that all I can't remember is the fear rather than the diagnosis. Is it ALS? Leukemia? MS, after all? Meanwhile my condition became worse neurologically. I developed a bilateral Hoffman sign, my balance was very bad, the attacks kept on coming, my arms became paralyzed along with my legs and the diagnoses kept on "not being right." Eventually my husband and I ran out of money (despite being on a very good insurance) and moved to NJ with our toddlers. There, for the first time, I was treated by a pain specialist, which made a HUGE difference. We still didn't know what the issue was (Reccurrent Transverse Myelitis was the most likely) but I realized that the pain had truly been the most disabling symptom of all, even more than legs or arms paralysis. Being treated for it allowed me to start thinking rationally about the disease. A doctor had once told me that with my symptoms, I could show up in any emergency room anywhere in the world and I would be admitted right away. So I knew something serious was going on. I also knew it wasn't something "run of the mill." So I started doing research on the Internet, but this time I did it like a job: from 9 to 5 with 1/2 hour for lunch.Soon I found the Transverse Myelitis Center in Baltimore, the only one in the world, and I flew there two weeks ago. I had an intuition reinforced by all my research and some family history that maybe a vein was pushing on the spinal cord and causing my attacks. The doctor took me seriously and suggested an angiogram, which will be next Friday.If it's not that we're left with the Recurrent Transverse Myelitis, which eventually means a wheelchair I suppose, though maybe not. I thought I would never get used to a cane, but I did, or to a walker, but I did, so the wheelchair...I do encourage you to speak up every chance you get. Some doctors like it, some don't, but none is in your body, feeling your pain, your frustration, and you can help them by explaining how you feel.I apologize for this long message. I guess the anonymity made me more talkative. If you don't mind, can you tell me a bit more about when your symptoms began and what they are exactly? Are you able to walk? Is it more difficult in the morning? What makes them worse?Good luck!
    Nouria 1 Replies Flag this Response
  • With such pain, I would also check vitamin D levels and make sure they are at least 60ng/mL. Please do your own research. Best of luck.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • September 22, 2010
    • 11:43 AM
    • 0
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  • Ever find out what the cause of your symptons were?
    Anonymous 1 Replies Flag this Response
  • How are you feeling now? Did you find the reasons for your symptoms?
    Anonymous 1 Replies Flag this Response
  • Hi, I know this thread is from 2007 but wondering if you have had these episodes again. I have had almost the identical thing happen to me this week.
    Anonymous 1 Replies
    • October 2, 2014
    • 08:13 PM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
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