Tag Archives: Neurology

Difference between fibromyalgia and MS

Note: I am not a medical professional nor do I intend to provide any medical advice to anyone. Please see your physician or neurologist if you have any health care concerns. My intention is to provide accurate information from the perspective of an informed patient.

Sometimes it’s hard to pin down which illness you have, as symptoms can look and feel alike. This is the case with MS and fibromyalgia. However, they are very different illnesses.

Despite the overlap in symptoms, diagnostic methods and profile risks, having one doesn’t put you at a higher risk of having the other illness.

If you suspect you have MS or fibromyalgia, please seek medical advice. A rheumatologist will be able to tell you if you have fibromyalgia, and a neurologist if indeed you have MS.

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Preparing for your neurological appointment

multiple-sclerosis-s14-doctor-speaking-with-patientSeeing your neurologist can often make you feel anxious or afraid to speak up. Each appointment should be about exploring options, not about being bulldozed by a standardised litany of things you don’t want. Going in prepared will make you feel more at ease, so why not make a list of vital questions and things you need to discuss?

When you organise your thoughts, you feel more in control of the situation and sure of where you want to see your treatment go. After all, you are the one living with your illness. Don’t feel ashamed either in what you want to ask your neurologist, chances are they have heard similar things before, and they will be the least likely people to attack you for asking. Remember, the only silly question is the one that hasn’t been asked yet! Continue reading

TN triggers, symptoms, examination & diagnosis

Trigeminal imageBackground

A number of causes can be attributed to facial pain, which makes a trigeminal neuralgia diagnosis an often challenging experience. Patient distress, as well as the clinical overlap with general dentistry, can lead to different kind of outcomes before the diagnosis is made. Because of this, close attention needs to be paid to avoid misdiagnosis, especially as one of the symptoms of a neurodegenerative illness.

In those without MS, compression of the trigeminal nerve is a common cause of TN. It is believed to be the pressing of a blood vessel on the trigeminal nerve as it leaves the brainstem, causing the wearing away of the protective coating around the myelin sheath around the nerve. When the nerve fibres short-circuit, electric shock-like pain happens.

People with MS are 20 times more likely to develop TN, of which approx. 20% can experience it on both sides of the face (although rarely at the same time). Compression is unlikely to be the reason in those living with MS, where the cause most likely is a demyelinating scar or plaque.

More rarely, symptoms of TN may be caused by nerve compression from a tumour. Injury to the trigeminal nerve (perhaps the result of sinus surgery, oral surgery, stroke, or facial trauma) may also produce neuropathic facial pain. Continue reading

How (not to) be sick!

Image Charles Darwin

You’ve probably been there before.

You say to yourself… “I will absolutely, unequivocally, no-doubt-about-it stay under the duvet to get rid of a bad ear infection, facial pain, relentless fatigue and a bout of the flu.”

Sometimes you also think, “I suppose everyone has a point when they say I have to listen to my body a little bit more.” Continue reading

Medical terminology?

Image terminology

Click image to view Medical Dictionary

One of the many issues ill people struggle with, is trying to explain how or what their clinical symptoms feel like. Vice versa, and after another round of being a guinea pig during clinical excellence exams for already established doctors, it was clear that many people request non-medical terminology from their doctors also. Continue reading

How far do baby germs fly?

Oh yes, you’re reading correctly. That was my thinking last week while sitting in a warm, crowded neurology waiting room in a hospital that was advertised as closed to ill visitors of hospital patients. At least, that’s what posters on the entrance said, ‘No can do peeps, if you’re ill, you have to stay away’ (that kind of defeats the purpose of a hospital, right?). Reason: the winter vomiting bug, otherwise called the Norovirus.

While watching people walking in and out, and talking to another patient, an unknown, small entity entered the waiting room in a red pram. You know the type, tree wheels, and as red as a Ferrari Formula 1 vehicle for mature, adult babies. I saw that Little Schumi was cute, and was introduced to his very strong vocal range when not hurling coughing and sneezing microorganisms in all directions.

Perhaps more of a rock star than a F1 pilot, I gathered that dad would rather see him behind the wheel. Another sneeze came my way as the distance between the little fella and the ultimate destination of his bacilli was less than three feet between his tiny nose and my adult nose. Yes, that nose, that sniffling thing attached to an immune-compromised body that happens to be owned by myself.

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MS in numbers


Because not every country has a MS register yet, it is difficult getting exact figures about how many people have MS. This means that some figures are estimates only. While the numbers below (taken from different websites), may sound frightening, it’s important to focus on the good. Continue reading

History of MS: 1960 – now



History of MS: 19th century

Jean Martin Charcot, 188619th century

Until the early years of the 19th century, physicians relied on superstition, hearsay, and “the wisdom of the ancients” to care for the sick. Medical ideas were not scientifically tested. Even so, physicians were often good observers and we can look back today and identify people who undoubtedly had MS from descriptions written as long ago as the Middle Ages.

Drawings from autopsies done as early as 1838 clearly show what we now recognize as MS. Then, in 1868, Jean-Martin Charcot, a professor at the University of Paris who has been called “the father of neurology,” carefully examined a young woman with a tremor of a sort he had never seen before. He noted her other neurological problems including slurred speech and abnormal eye movements, and compared them to other patients he had seen.

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History of MS: 1900 – 1960

CC120th century

In the 19th century, scientists first learned that bacteria cause many diseases. As the 20th century began, they discovered even smaller organisms, viruses, and developed techniques for growing and studying bacteria and viruses in the laboratory. This later led to research on viral causes of MS.

In 1906, the Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded to Dr. Camillo Golgi and Dr. Santiago Ramon y Cajal, who perfected new chemicals to enhance the visibility of nerve cells under the microscope. With this new technology now available, Dr. James Dawson at the University of Edinburgh in 1916 performed detailed microscopic examinations of the brains of patients who had died with MS. Continue reading



Journal of Neurology & Neurosurgery

Journalwatch Neurology

Neurology Care

Neuronetwork Ireland

Neuroscience Ireland

Updated: June 27th, 2017

© WVE and Ireland, MS and Me, 2011-2017. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner are strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to WVE and Ireland, MS and Me with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Types of MS

Animation showing dissemination of brain lesions in time and space as demonstrated by monthly MRI studies along a year

Doctors divide the symptoms into three groups: primary, secondary, and tertiary.

Primary symptoms come from damage to the protective sheath around the nerves in your spine or brain. The damage is called demyelination. It causes scarring, which makes it harder for signals to travel between the brain and the body.

This process can lead to bladder or bowel problems, loss of balance, numbness, paralysis, tingling, tremors, vision problems, or weakness. Medicine, rehabilitation, and other treatments can keep many of these problems under control. Continue reading

Not my face!

162974080234952360_x4ok1y8s_fSomeone once said “Babe, you may have MS, but you’re still sexy. Never forget that.”

Shortly after my diagnosis, my then-boyfriend uttered those very words. He must have seen me look at myself in a critical manner one too many times since returning home from a two-week stint in hospital, wondering if ‘MS’ really was written on my face.

Even though I don’t usually give in to superficial words like this – after all, beauty is literally a fast-moving downward spiral – and with my own alternative fashion sense, hearing this was just what I needed to hear. His words became a quick-fix mantra to pick myself up when I needed a boost. The relationship didn’t stand the test of time, but sometimes I still say those lines to myself. Continue reading

Positive MS News: May 2014


With a 14-day delay in posting some positive news about MS, I’d like to offer my apologies and no, I absolutely haven’t forgotten about you. As many people with MS know, May is about the busiest month for those who advocate and volunteer. World MS Day is the main day of the year for MSers, but before and after… sigh… there’s a lot to be said, done and needless to say… lots of sleep to be had. So without further ado, here is some news that might make your lips curl and your mind coo! Continue reading

MS Organisations


Can Do Multiple Sclerosis

Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers

ECTRIMS (European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis)

European Multiple Sclerosis Platform

HealthCare Journey


MS Trust

Multiple Sclerosis Discovery Forum

Multiple Sclerosis Foundation

Multiple Sclerosis International Federation



Updated: June 27th, 2017

©Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, MS and Me, 2011-2017. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner are strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to WVE and Ireland, MS and Me with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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