I have burning sensation on my arm. Does this sound like MS or anxiety?

Q. I have burning sensation on my arm. Does this sound like MS or anxiety?

Answered by
Dr. Shivam Om Mittal
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Apr 23, 2018 and last reviewed on: Sep 08, 2023

Hello doctor,

Since yesterday I have had this burning sensation in a patch on the side of my left arm. It is not warm to touch but an internal warm sensation that feels like you put a warm cup of coffee against a patch of skin for a second or two and then it goes away. It appears in a wave-like pattern. It shows up in one-two seconds, then it disappears for about 10-15 minutes, then shows up again. So it is not constantly present. It is not painful at all, just annoying and it is really sending my health anxiety off. Does this sound like multiple sclerosis (MS) or anxiety? I do not take any meds. No other symptoms.



Welcome to icliniq.com. The intermittent burning sensation in your left arm could be due to several reasons. Most commonly, we see this if there is any cervical spondylosis with the nerve being pushed. This can lead to a certain area in the arm to be painful. Again, the pain can be intermittent depending on the neck movements. Another possibility is a neuropathy due to vitamin B12 deficiency which could be tested on a blood test. Multiple sclerosis is another possibility, but that seems less likely as the symptoms would persist for few days and then they start improving. It would not last only for 10 to 15 minutes and come back again. If all of these possibilities are ruled out by clinical neurological exam and/or diagnostic testing, then this could be a somatoform disorder which can be associated with anxiety. I hope this helps.

Hello doctor,

Thank you for the reply, I had the same symptom, same pattern, last month, and then I had an magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of the brain. Unfortunately, I do not have access for the pictures, but I have the description. Based on the description, do these findings sound like multiple sclerosis (MS)? Cerebral: A total of 12 predisposed puncture white matter (WM) lesions are distributed equally in both cerebral hemispheres. Not all can be found on the previous scan, which may be due to the fact that current scanning is done with thinner cuts. Two of the lesions are more stringent; one is located in the left corona radiata and one is located juxtaportically frontally on the right side. None of the lesions are located in corpus callosum. No lesions in cerebellum or brainstem. Nothing roomy. There is a slim, centered ventricular system and normal swallowing. Spinal: Medulla spinalis appears unobtrusive with normal signal. Normal height and signal ent. co-vertebrae and disci. No significant degenerative changes. Conclusion: Multiple non-specific WM lesions in both cerebral hemispheres.



Welcome back to icliniq.com. As per the report, there were 12 lesions in the brain which were not felt to be in the classical distribution for multiple sclerosis (MS). The nonspecific findings can be seen in patients with a history of a migraine or history of high blood pressure/diabetes. It will be convenient for me to look at the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain myself. Again, to call it MS, there should clinical signs of neurological weakness or sensory problems or brisk asymmetric reflexes. Also, MRI brain with contrast (gadolinium) should have been done to look for any uptake of contrast which will suggest new or acute lesions. But based on these findings, on the MRI and present symptoms, I would recommend getting a complete neurological exam by a neurologist. You should check your vitamin D and vitamin B12 levels. Low vitamin D level is associated with MS. So, it will be helpful to correct the levels if low by taking medications. Please do not hesitate if you have any other questions or concerns.

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