7 Strange and Unusual Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease which is unique to each patient, which means no two people suffer from identical symptoms. While there are many symptoms MS patients share such as pain and chronic fatigue, there are also some very strange and unusual symptoms that some may experience.  We’ve put together a list of some of the stranger symptoms of the disease based on information from verywell.com and healthcentral.com.

The body reacts to the weather. 

Many MS patients say their symptoms get worse depending on the weather. Humidity can exacerbate the symptoms of MS for many sufferers and some even report feeling strange when there is a thunderstorm—that their body buzzes and feels tingly in an uncomfortable and unpleasant way.

The body reacts to dental work.

Some MS patients experience a worsening of symptoms following routine dental appointments. It hasn’t been established whether this is stress-related (because few people enjoy visiting their dentist) or for some other reason and researchers have been unable to find a link between the two.

38 comments

  1. Ken Krouse says:

    We really appreciated this article – it was very helpful to know others are experiencing some of the same things my wife is experiencing – she’s not “crazy” or “weird” in some way just a “normal” MS sufferer – my wife has MS and often experiences some of these “strange and unusual symptoms” – (maybe wish the title was changed to “7 less common but often experienced MS symptoms in MS sufferers” 🙂 – We feel that humidity, humidity with high heat, and cold affect her MS negatively – she feels worse after dental work is done and since she has had a lot of dental work done, we wonder also if there is a correlation with getting/suffering from MS due to the amt. of dental work she has had – anything negative (a cold, stress, a cut, etc.) makes symptoms worse – sun seems to help her feel better – she does not feel she can tolerate long flights well – hates the feeling of being in a plane for a long time – not so much “twitches” but muscle spasms for sure she experience, mainly while in bed it seems – feet getting hot but feeling cold (and especially while in bed) is right on – she has not experienced the hugging feeling – I sure wish there was more of these articles to help these MS sufferers know they are not alone – to realize that these are common or at least somewhat common symptoms of people who have MS – Thanks for the article – well written and right on!! MS affects people in many different ways – people need to understand that MS sufferers aren’t losing there minds when they talk about some of these things to others

    • Ellen Dobson says:

      OMGosh Ken Krouse!! You just described me to a tee!! I mean EXACTLY ME!! It was as if you were talking about me & my exact problems & symptoms! Thank you for sharing your wife’s symptoms because in some strange way it’s comforting to know I am not alone with these exact symptoms.. I mean even the dental issues, was spot on for me. Thank you for your compassion & understanding of your wife’s struggles, cuz it’s so refreshing to read someones comments about MS symptons with such clear concise description & understanding from a NON-MS sufferer.. – usually people who fo not have MS, no matter how close they are to a MS patient, still struggle with completely understanding or even totally believing the symptoms their loved ones experience & suffer from.. God Bless you! & thank you!!

  2. Scott says:

    I believe the reason these are not as common of symptoms and MS is because they are more than likely associated with primary progressive multiple sclerosis, such as myself. Other than the dentist, and flying, I have experienced all the symptoms frequently. I can sit and watch the muscles in my arms and hands flutter. My feet and hands both go from freezing cold to normal within minutes.

    • Sarah Jane says:

      I have suffer all of these symptoms frequently apart from the flying because I don’t fly but I have relapsing remitting MS so unless it has progressed I think it’s normal MS and the fact that they don’t list these symptoms that we suffer in silence every day.

    • Tara Taylor says:

      I don’t think they are all associated with primary progressive…I have RRMS. DX’d in 2005 I have muscle spasms, I twitch funny at times especially if I let myself get over fatigued. I have gotten the”hug” feeling it’s awful!!! And the The feet thing with the pain, I have been getting these pins and needles is how I have described them because they start all of the sudden and they are the most painful version of pins and needles you can imagine and then there just gone. But not fast. No they stay for awhile. I have trouble swallowing now too. Kind started slowly of a few years. I have had to have my esophagus stretched once already over 6 months ago and I already need to go back and do it again. So my MS friend, these “weird” symptoms aren’t only doled out to those of you suffering with the Progressive form of this monster. I also can’t tolerate heat at all. Heat with humidity is even worse. Did I miss anything? 😊 And pain I guess pain is a common symptom…lucky us! ❤️ I’ll laugh before I’ll cry…this monster won’t win! I won’t let it beat me not today!

  3. Amber says:

    Yes its nice to read about a lot of the stuff I’m going through I was diagnosed with ms almost a year ago I have been suffering from the symptoms since I was little a my parents and doctors thought I was crazy no one ever listened to me they said I was a hyperconderiact until I moved to. Michigan almost a year ago

    • Tara says:

      I’m sorry no one listened to you…you have a diagnosis now and you aren’t crazy! Good luck! Be brace and fight back against this monster! 😊

  4. Esha Sharma says:

    Rightly said… I feel many things so similar. This article is useful to keep a check. M.S symptoms keep changing every now then so such articles are necessary to know an outline of different things people can feel.
    Thank you regards Esha Sharma

  5. Geoffrey Boyarsky says:

    Thanks for this validating article. I have experienced all of these at one time or another in the past 35+ years.

    In ’97 while seriously symptomatic but pre MRI diagnosis, I was hauled out of my office by paramedics after I reported to my doctor’s office a tightness in my chest (the “MS Hug” as I later found out), and numbness in my arms & hands. They thought cardiac event, so suddenly I was transported to the ER, where that possibility was eliminated right away with a heart monitor. I was three weeks out from an initial appointment with a neurologist, who the ER contacted. He suggested a brain scan to confirm, seeing as the hospital I was in had one, and several hours later the MS diagnosis was confirmed.

    These days I don’t get that MS Hug often, although lots of other neuropathies stop by for a visit, beyond the ever-present numb hands & feet.
    Recently I have felt like, inside the flesh around my left waist, there is something small trying to dig its way out with a toothpick. For years I will occasionally feel like there is an insect deep inside my ear, just walking around. It’s amazing how much bodily weirdness we learn to accept and live with.

  6. Thank you for posting this.

    Tony from NY. I was diagnosed with MS 8 years ago. I thought it best i list my symptoms, maybe someone out there will be comforted knowing I know and understand your pains.

    Symptoms that end with “Thank You Mother Nature” are the one’s that have substantially subsided since starting a new Medication just 2 weeks ago, it can also mean that i personally discovered a my own natural way of dealing with it. The others ending with the sad face followed by the happy face are my persistent aggressive and stubborn symptoms. Sadly to say, these will probably persist and get worst for the rest of my life. The happy face is me reminding myself how precious life is, as well as having the passion of figuring out ways of coping with these stubborn ones without it affecting me and my loved ones, and sharing them with you all. Although i will not go into much details here, if you have any questions about me or just want someone to chat with that knows your pain, feel free to email me at tmarkovina “THE AT SYMBOL”CLINICAL-IT dot com (tmarkovina@clinical-it.com). Some websites automatically strip an email address if detected.

    EXTREME MUSCLE SPASMS “Thank You Mother Nature”
    COLD, wet feeling Feet. Numbness 🙁 🙂
    LOSS OF FEELING in my hands, not just the finger tips 🙁 🙂
    FATIGUE- Was constant, spontanious and sporadic now. “Thank You Mother Nature”.
    MEMORY LOSS SHORT TERM 🙁 🙂
    MEMORY LOSS LONG TERM 🙁 🙂
    CONFUSION ATTACKS 🙁 🙂
    SOCIAL ISOLATION “Thank You Mother Nature”.
    MUSCLE TWITCHES 🙁 🙂
    ANGER BURSTS, SADNESS. “Thank You Mother Nature”
    PINS AND NEEDLES, Mostly hands, feet. 🙁 🙂
    KNEES BUCKLE, increasing in frequency, very spontanious 🙁 🙂
    CONCENTRATION WITH TASKS 🙁 🙂
    FOCUS ABILITY – SHORT TERM “4 HOURS”, 🙂 🙁

    I sure there is more, losing my concentration on this :), also will be going to Dr’s office soon. Stay happy.

    • Jenny says:

      Thank you; I am having increasing problems with short and long term memory, as well as “confusion attacks.” It’s nice to hear someone else has similar problems. Well not nice but comforting that I’m no alone. Stay strong.

      • Dori Black says:

        Yes, I was diagnosed in ’01 but have had symptoms since high school years in the late 80’s. For some miraculous reason, I do not suffer with pain, but haven’t been able to work since the birth of my 3rd child, when I got terribly ill, lost my fine motor skills, and took a major setback graphically. After this, I started Tysabri and have taken it for 8 years and remain JC virus negative, thankfully. Everyday I tingle from the top of my head to my toes, suffer with eye twitches, memory loss and many other cognitive issues. I thank God for Tysabri and for my ability to remain on it.

    • Dawn says:

      Thanks Tony and thanks to Jenny. I agree; it’s not nice or fun but hopefully along the way we also are able to share what helps deal with these challenges. God bless! Focus and concentration issues are a bear. Wondering if either or both of you had the Neuropsycological testing?

  7. RuthAnn says:

    When I go to the Dentist and he works on my right side. It makes my right side of my face go up or down. I’ve had nose surgery twice, had a perfectly straight for 27 years. Now it is fallen over and L shape. I have had Vertigo for 14 years (24/7). When I go to lower altitude, my vertigo is better, but my feet and legs swell. Heat really bothers me. I can’t have loud noises around me. It makes my vertigo worse. They are building houses around me. It also gives me a bad headache. Little by little by body is going numb. It weird my toe will feel like it itches and I can’t scratch it, because it’s numb. I will be sitting and I will feel like something is crawling up my arm. I look and there is nothing there. MS hug sent me to the hospital, because they thought I was having a heart attack. I have had rashes all over my body and everyday they would switch to a different spot, they lasted for about 3 weeks. It seems there is a new problem every week. I won’t let anybody in my house that is sick or who have family members. I catch everything. What an adventure we have, with having MS.

  8. Jenifer says:

    Prescribed pain medicine worked, then stopped working. So the doctor upped the dosage, which started helping, then stopped helping, at all. So (at the end of this bottle of prescribed Gabapentine)I’ve purchased and used Ibuprofen instead. I have not felt the usual pain since swallowing it.

  9. Jenifer says:

    Prescribed pain medicine worked, then stopped working. So the doctor upped the dosage, which started helping, then stopped helping, at all. So (at the end of this bottle of prescribed Gabapentine, with about 4 more refills)I’ve purchased and used Ibuprofen instead. I have not felt the usual pain since swallowing it, today. #happyhappyjoyjoy But I don’t think Ibuprofen is safe to consume daily. But (now that my prescription won’t)it works. I’m waiting to see how long it will work.

  10. Amanda says:

    Amanda,from West Virginia. I was diagnosed 5 yrs ago and started the Paleo diet about 1 yr ago. After 2 yrs or so of going down hill fast and not much help from doctors? Except Copaxone injections, physical therapy, and pain medication. I suffered (still do at times) with walking, balance, numbness and tingling in hands and feet, perythal neuropathy, optic neuritis, and many more. This is one nasty ugly disease! I turned to the Lord and taking better care of my body. EVERYTHING we put our bodies is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT my friends. I’m not where I want to be, but I praise God I’m not where I use to be! Praying for anyone who has MS or any autoimmune disease! 😓

  11. Cathy says:

    Hi I’m Cathy,I have not been diagnosed with ms yet,but I’ve been doing research on it and a lot of reading I’m going to a a Nero,and going to have the nerve study test in may,I have a lot of these symptoms that are mentioned here.,last night in bed I had tightness in my chest and it scared me,I have tingling in my feet calves and now going up into my thighs ,hands and arms
    I get short term memory loss at different times,I have not had any muscle mass in my legs and arms for years despite all the excercise I’ve done I always wondered why I couldn’t build any muscle 😟the pain in my calves starts with ice cold ,then burns as and than pain and tingling no numbness as of yet,I get hot hot bottoms of my feet,they have gotten beet red while I was in bed,I can’t stand anything tight on my legs or feet.oh I have more symptoms ,but idk if I have ms or not .does some of the things I’ve mentioned sound familiar? I also have a constant ringing in my head ,sometimes a sharp pain in my eyes
    I guess I’m scared !.If anyone can help me with some ans..please do Thank You .Cathy 4/12/17

    • Yes they do please find a neurologist that will listen and take time to work with you and there are always website with ms information on it also if you have a good general doctor they will help you work through some of problems or willing to know you get best help
      Good luck

    • Jeannine says:

      Most ms people have what looks like very tone legs everyone used to say even in my thirties, why don’t your legs jiggle. Never had a problem building muscle, just keeping it from spasm and charlie horses. It maybe the only plus of ms. I hope they have done extensive blood testing. Vitamin deficency of b12,d3 and magnesium can cause some of those problems – no joke! I used to work in a lab. Look up b12 deficiency. Western blot Lyme, lupus panel. A spinal tap would answer a lot of questions (if b type cells or onylcolognal bands in fluid), along w MRI and brain scan. If u do have it and it’s active, you might need to go on iv steroids immediately to prevent further nerve damage. I was almost completely numb on one side foot to right rib cage and back shoulder. Felt like I was wrapped in magazines with duct tape. If someone stabbed me I wouldn’t feel it. Also weird no feeling between legs, front or back. It’s called transverse myelitis. Not everyone gets this.

      • Amy says:

        I have the same, went undiagnosed for a week until I was paralyzed from my chest down. IV steroids brought the inflammation down but the scarring of the spinal cord has done irrepairable damage.
        It’s horrible, no one would help me until I could no longer walk for 2 days. Two different ER’s saw me 4 times in 7 days and still wouldn’t admit me. Such a shame, now I am permanently disabled.

  12. Michelle Noe says:

    I have a weird symptom. I hear things others don’t. Music very quietly playing. People talking in the other room but no one’s there. I have called my husband to ask if he’s home from work because I thought I heard the door downstairs open and close and people whispering. Each time it was “Nope, you are freaking yourself out.” Has happened
    more than once. Creepy.

    • Donna says:

      Michelle, I have had strange things like this happen as well. If I have trouble saying a word,I look forward and upwards where I see letters and I can spell the word, I just can’t say it. I hear people talking, as well, and feel sometimes that I am losing my mind. Knowing that others are feeling,hearing the same things makes me more at ease. Also, I have never had a flu shot. My MS dr, told me the MS has its own immune symptom. He denies saying that, but, my husband verifies he said it. I have been sick 7 times in 37 years. NO SHOTS FOR ME!I was diagnosed in August of 1989. I am not on any medication for MS. I have the numb, tingling feet that are hot and cold at the same time.

    • Carole says:

      I’ve had ms since ’91 and I hear all those things you describe. Never thought about it being part of my ms. Thanks for sharing that.

    • Lori says:

      Both me and my mother have had this unknown voices. I’m not sure what that is either. I usually hear them in the shower, and it’s not the tv. Nor neighbors. My mother told me this, I said me too! No one has said we have MS, but we have the same medicines. But, she is 78, I’m 53.

  13. Patience says:

    I have had attention span, concentration and short term memory problems since before I actually got diagnosed with RRMS October 13, 2006. My nuerologist ordered a nueropsychological test done in February 2007 which they used to come to the conclusion that three parts of my brain were already hitting impaired range, my attention span, my concentration and my information processing part of my brain. My memory was actually still in Superior range. I often have issues with my feet and hands being numb or cold or hot and tingly with all…

  14. LAURA says:

    Maybe it’s the amalgam fillings people get their teeth filled with at the dentist? After seeing a program on 60 Minutes on this, a woman who had just been dx’d with MS had all her amalgam fillings drilled out and replaced with white fillings, and her symptoms went away. Sooo, I did the same thing(all 13 fillings) after being dx’d in 1987, and went into remission for 10 yrs. Now I am secondary progressive remitting, but I always wonder if that’s what helped.

    • Karen says:

      Yes, I have had ringing in my ears for quite awhile. It seems when I am at work (school),I don’t notice it, but I sure do when I am home.

  15. Brenda Johnson says:

    Another one is PBA, pseudobulbar affect. Which is uncontrollable laughing or crying at inappropriate times.

  16. Bernice says:

    70% or more people with Optic Neuritis develope MS. I don’t think that has anything to do with the other stuff the (Not quite finished DR described) Many things affect the nerves, even a computer job and curvature of the spine, but ON and if you find you have Dawson’s fingers, you are bound to be diagnosed quickly. That is the smoking gun.

  17. Lauren says:

    OMG to the flying. I thought I was going crazy. I could not stay still for even 1 minute. Sitting on my legs, shoes off, shoes on, standing up (yes I’m short) sitting down constantly. I have no idea how my husband didn’t throw me out the emergency door! I would have. I finally took one of my sleeping pills (yes severe insomnia ) to knock myself out. I couldn’t take it! I am not afraid of flying I’m afraid of this happening

  18. Kathy says:

    Thank you all for being transparent with your symptoms. I’ve had RRMS symptoms since the 80’s but was not diagnosed till 2015. I’ve had two years of terrible exacerbation of symptoms. Thankfully it seems to have calmed down a bit. It’s difficult to figure out what is MS and what is just my body showing I’ve had an active life😀.
    I deal with:memory issues, bad balance, fatigue, poor vision and pain in my eyes, hot feet that feel so cold, ringing in ears, numbness/tingling and sometimes feels like an earthquake is going on inside causing sharp pains and tremor feelings. After multiple IV steroids I have had success with Aubagio (I tested high JCV) All my life I’ve been a real people person and held an exciting work life but after 2014 so many changes physically/neurologically that now I can’t drive or get out alone so I have a more isolated life. I still choose joy every day and ask the Lord what I get to do today…. MS might have my body but God has my life and future so I refuse to complain.
    It is great to see I’m not alone and thank you for listening., Kathy

  19. Deborah says:

    I am currently being tested for all of my symptoms. I am the one that is finally putting all my symptoms together and telling my dr. I want to be tested for MS. I have frequently had the buzzing feeling throughout my body. I had to hold myself tight because it felt like buzzing electricity running through my body. I also feel so terrible when it’s humid without fail. I’m not hoping to be diagnosed with MS but I am hoping to find some answers to all of my symptoms and definitely some solutions. It is good to know I wasn’t imagining these weird symptoms.

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