Is It An NMO Relapse? New Symptoms

A few months ago, I decided to go off my nerve painkillers because I was getting recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) and was trying to find the culprit. However, they weren’t the reason, but I still haven’t gone back on them as the withdrawal process was quite something.

Anyway, after a while I began to feel a slight ache in my lower back. It was there all the time but it was bearable. I remember the exact moment it started, I was doing squats at the gym and felt a sudden pain. I thought it was something that would go away in a few days. However, a few weeks later it was still there and the pain was progressively getting worse.

I tried massages with hot oil, heating pads, codeine, hot and cold showers, exercises but the pain wouldn’t budge.

Radiating pain

A few weeks later, I noticed while sitting that the pain was radiating down my left leg and that’s when I started to worry. As you do, I began searching my symptoms on Google, which suggested I either had a trapped nerve or a herniated disc, or something called sciatica.

At the time I was also working as a carer along with exam season, and life was pretty hectic so I couldn’t afford to rest. I had to go about my life as usual and bear the pain until I could see my neurologist next.

Burning sensation

Now, it’s been over six months and the pain is still there. I don’t work as a carer anymore so I assumed the pain would lessen but that wasn’t the case. I have been really down lately and I thought I’d give painting a try to get my mind off things.

So there I was, sitting on a chair painting away. Not even half way through of the painting, the pain began on my left leg, like a burning sensation along with excruciating pain. A little while later, I felt it in my right leg and that’s when I lost it. I tried getting up but my body was so stiff. It felt like I was unable to walk or breathe at that moment because the pain was so bad. I didn’t know what to do so I called my mum crying.

My mum brought down some ibuprofen gel and gave me a massage. Sadly it didn’t help, so I tried using my TENS machine which usually works for my back and left leg. This time it didn’t, the pain was too intense to feel even a little bit of relief. I decided to take some codeine and a heating pad and went to bed to lie down. After a few days, pain began on the left side of my neck, the same burning sensation I experienced in my legs was now present on my neck, and it would radiate down my left arm.

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NMO relapse signs

I’m due a spinal MRI in a few weeks. I usually blame my flare ups to the fact my rituximab is due, but this time it feels really different. It may be that my painkillers were masking the pain. My fatigue is at its worst, it feels like death to do basic tasks.

I have all these new symptoms and I’m worried it may be a relapse. I’m hoping it’s not.

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