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Face numbness - not yet diagnosed

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Thought I'd come here for a bit of advice


I am 49 female and for the last few days have been experiencing numbness in my face - like when a dentist does a filling. My tongue and gums are also numb

I have had numbness in the hands for years, possibly due to a compressed nerve in my neck (diagnosed as tennis elbow, then spondylosis via mri, my feet also tingle with strange feelings in my knees


I don't have any pain anywhere apart from occasional lower lumber and mid back pain. 

I don't have any double vision, slurred speech.

I walk a lot and keep relatively fit


I've done some research hence being here. I know that it generally affects younger people, but can arise in my age group.


I've read that if the problem is MS that it could take months/ years to get a proper diagnosis and that there isn't much treatment available.


Early next year I will be 50 and I am planning a massive long-awaited holiday to America and Canada, however, I am fully aware that if I go to the Drs and they refer me to a neurologist I then can't get travel insurance due to having an 'undiagnosed condition'


I've looked at the medicines available and they seem to prevent flare-ups by 30-50% but most of the treatment is physio, exercise, cognitive therapy etc  (self managed) 


I don't know if I have MS, but if I go to the DRs and get a referral - then my 50th birthday gift won't happen 


Any advice - have I read the treatments wrong - is there a point going to the Drs at this point -   how long do referrals take


Thanks for your help

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Hi there and welcome to the forum,


Clearly you are worried about these new symptoms but I feel the main thing you should consider is just how important it is to put to rest some of those fears. The only way to do that is by first going to the doctor.

With regard to thoughts on MS. It is sometimes true that diagnosis may take time, however, these days, as greater understanding about MS is gained, diagnosis can often be a short process. However don't worry about specific causes, better to get the process started with a doctor. This can often be frustrating but the advice here would to make notes on just where your problems lie and then condense these into a short list so that the doctor has a clear understanding. You also need to be prepared for waiting times to see specialists and have tests done. 

I hope you get some more input here as the forum is pretty quite at the moment, but you are very welcome, lastly I'm sure your holiday plans will be OK but do get your priorities in the right order.







Just another Warrior...........

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Hi @ronyb and welcome from me too  :welcome:


As you've already noted, MS can be notoriously difficult to diagnose, especially when so many symptoms might be due to a different condition. You say you have cervical spondylosis; I take it you know it too can also cause things like numbness and pins and needles in legs, feet, arms, hands, and things like neck ache and headaches? It doesn't specify facial numbness as a potential symptom, but I've heard of others with spondylosis who've had facial numbness.


That said, the facial numbness you describe is something I had once (and some other MSers too), on the right side of my face, in the year leading up to my DX (when I was 49), when it was initially thought to be Bells Palsy but neuros later said it wasn't, so I was left to believe it was due to my MS. In my case, it lasted about 3 months, then went away and only returned once for a much briefer period of just 2 or 3 days and it was much milder.


Low back pain in MS can be due to changes in posture as a result of other MS symptoms or reduced mobility. If possible, an MRI of the lumbar region might help to see if there are any non-MS problems, eg, with discs?


I also have cervical spondylosis, and other lumbar spinal issues (stenosis, disc problems and more). This makes it even more difficult for the specialists to know whether it's my neck/back or MS causing some of my symptoms. In some instances, the back problems can exacerbate my MS symptoms and vice versa, eg, an achy pain in my right thigh. One example that I have right now is intense internal vibrations (like an earthquake!) in my feet, legs and abdomen; and right now, I don't (yet) know if it's due to pressure on a nerve in my back or neck or due to MS "neuropathic pain" as I haven't yet asked my specialists about it. I now have terrible posture due to pain from my back and other pain, so that falls into the secondary type of MS pain due to change of posture.


I can totally understand your not wanting to miss out on your fabulous 50th birthday gift! Might it be an idea to maybe first check with the specialist or doctor who deals with your neck spondylosis? If it is due to your neck, then it wouldn't be an "undiagnosed condition"?


(belated DX in June '05, SPMS)

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