Reflexes again

November 13, 2006 at 12:50 am


Before I had my diagnosis of CIDP, I was pretty concerned about what might be going on. In our first meeting, my neurologist sensed my concern and asked me about it. I said I was concerned about MS or ALS, pretty much the only two nerve diseases I had ever heard of. He said I probably did not need to worry about MS, as my reflexes were slow, and in MS they are generally fast.

So the reflexes are indicative of the disease, apparently the first clinical clue. Still, normal reflexes can be present in both CIDP and MS. And it must be possible for them to be in the wrong direction (fast in CIDP and slow in MS), just because people are different.

I have a friend with MS who is helped by IVIg. While unusual for it to be much help in MS, it clearly can work. Perhaps you are one of those people.

Your neurologist should do a nerve velocity conduction study. It is a painful test (I take a tooth guard to bite down on), but it is about the best way to decide if your problem is peripheral (nearly everything not brain or spinal cord) or central.

Get him to do it soon or refer you to someplace that can. The results may well change your treatment course. If MS, you might be helped better with the standard MS treatments. If CIDP, then IVIg, therapeutic plasma exchange, corticosteroids, and/or cytotoxic immunosuppressants will probably help.

If you can, it never hurts to get a second opinion.

Godspeed in this.