Lhermitte’s sign

Most of the posts I’ve written have been pretty self-serving in that they are a way I work through multiple sclerosis. It’s cathartic much of the time.

But I feel like I’m doing a disservice if I don’t explain certain symptoms and my experience with them.

Cue the latest: Lhermitte’s sign.

Also called the barber chair syndrome because it happens when you tilt your head down, this sensation is fairly typical in MS (around 38 percent of MSers experience it at some point).

Lhermitte’s sign is marked by the jolt that is felt when flexing the neck, usually the chin-to-the-chest move. The jolt is an electric shock that radiates down the spine and into the torso, and sometimes the legs and arms.

It tingles, like ants walking down the spine.

It’s not exactly painful, but it is discomforting. And you can’t exactly control your neck movement, except by wearing a brace, which is one of the suggested options to combat it.

A lesion in the cervical spine is the most likely culprit, which could signal increased disease activity.

A trip to the neurologist is probably the best course of action, because while it may be part of an acute exacerbation, there are drugs (anti-seizure medications) to help lessen this symptom.