Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What is L'Hermitte's Sign?

The neurologist asks me to bend my head forward and immediately I feel a shock of sensation travel down my arms into my fingers.  It’s kind of a vibration, buzzing, or tingling more than a shooting pain.  I have just shown a positive L’Hermitte's sign.

The extra buzzing I felt is called a dysesthesia since the unusual sensation was provoked by bending my head forward, in contrast to a paresthesia which describes spontaneous tingling, buzzing, partial numbness, sharp pains, or electrical shocks.  I get those too.

Not everybody experiences the L’Hermitte's symptom in the same way.  For some patients, it is described as an intense electric shock which feels like you’ve just shoved a finger or toe into an electrical outlet.  For some, it may just be a very subtle tingling in the fingers, legs, or toes.  Or for others, the wave of sensation can also travel down the truck or upwards to the head.

I have been asked, “Is L’Hermitte's a sign or a symptom?”

Read this post in its entirety:

Signs vs. Symptoms: What is L'Hermitte's Sign?


  1. When I was going from doctor to doctor, in an effort to be diagnosed -- with anything -- I began to experience L'Hermittes. I can still remember the look on the doctor's face when I told him about that shock-y feeling. MRIs with and without contrast were ordered. I think he knew then what was wrong...
    BTW, it has gotten much better and I don't always feel the 'shock' anymore.

  2. After 15 yrs I never feel it. I used to like it, made me feel I had control over something.

  3. Haven't had the "shocky" feeling in years but once I thought a lightening bolt came thru the window and fried my hip/side/belly.

    Turns out it was MS. It was the most painful thing I have ever experienced and hope it doesn't happen again!