Unusual Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis

MRI scans of a brain showing multiple sclerosis.
MRI scans of a brain showing multiple sclerosis. maciu17/Getty Images

If you have multiple sclerosis (MS), you're familiar with MS symptoms and the way they can come and go, sometimes very quickly. But you may not realize that some unusual symptoms of MS--or MS-related body sensations--can occur and go away so fast, you don't think of them in connection with your MS experience. 

Chances are, however, that at least some of them are related to your MS.

Here's a list of unusual symptoms of MS and related sensations that even many doctors don't know about. Has any of them ever happened to you?

Some Unusual MS Symptoms and Sensations

  • Lightning and MS: Some people with MS have reported that during a storm with thunder and lightning, their entire body tingles and "buzzes"--and that the feeling is usually unpleasant.
  • Humidity May Make MS Symptoms Worse: If you live in a dry or desert area, you may not have experienced this. However, some people with MS who live in humid areas say that their symptoms get worse on high-humidity days--and that they feel better when they visit dry regions, even if the temperature is uncomfortably high.
  • Sunlight May Make People with MS Feel Better: This one may surprise you, since many people with MS experience heat intolerance and tend to stay out of the sun, especially during the summer months. But some have reported that being outside on a cool, sunny day lifts their spirits in a special and satisfying way. And here's something else to consider. You may know that bright sunlight helps your skin produce vitamin D. But did you know that people with MS who have higher levels of vitamin D may have less severe symptoms and fewer relapses? Check with your doctor about how much sun exposure is right for you.
  • MS and Dental Work: MS-related problems following visits to the dentist have been reported. However, there appears to be no medical evidence that dental work can cause your MS to worsen.
  • Airline Travel and MS Relapses: Here, too, the medical evidence seems lacking, but reports do exist of MS relapses after long flights--for example, one person reported a major relapse with severe pain and optic neuritis after a U.S.-to-Russia flight.
  • Food Sensitivities and MS: No scientific studies support the idea that there is a link between what you eat and how your MS "behaves." But some people who have MS have tried cutting different types of foods out of their diet to see if their MS symptoms improved--and, in some cases, they did.
  • Fasciculations (Muscle Twitches) and MS: Have you ever experienced this? It's one of the more unusual symptoms of MS, but it does occur. Muscle twitches are more common in people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also called Lou Gehrig's disease).
  • Hot Feet and MS: This goes beyond the tingling of paresthesia (that tingling, "pins and needles" sensation). Some people with MS have reported that at night, their feet feel as if they're actually on fire--yet the skin of their feet isn't hot at all.
View Article Sources
  • National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Multiple Sclerosis: Hope Through Research. NIH Publication No. 96-75. Last updated November 19, 2015.