Wednesday, March 28, 2018

An Interview with Body Builder David Lyons

Competitive bodybuilding is one way that David Lyons conquers multiple sclerosis (MS). Diagnosed with MS in 2006, David is motivated to educate and inspire people living with the disease to focus on fitness and nutrition and to develop a mindset that anything is possible.

In 2012, with his wife Kendra Lyons, R.N., David founded the MS Fitness Challenge (MSFC) charity to help bring his message worldwide. David has received the Milestone Award from the National MS Society, and in 2015, he was presented the Health Advocate Lifetime Achievement Award by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

He’s also the author of “David’s Goliath: Winning the Battle Against All Odds” (2013) and “Everyday Health and Fitness with Multiple Sclerosis: Achieve Your Physical Wellness While Working with Limited Mobility” (2017). He’s working on a new show called “Pumped: The Muscle Hustle” with Lou Ferrigno.

He spoke with HealthCentral about his experience.

HealthCentral (HC): What were the initial symptoms that led to your diagnosis?

David Lyons: MS caught me off guard in the gym. Initially I experienced severe pain, numbness, tingling, and lack of coordination in my left arm while working out. Within a few weeks, the symptoms radiated throughout my body and moved into my legs. I became bedridden for months during the pre-diagnosis and diagnosis stage. When I was finally hospitalized, I was almost paralyzed from the chest down.

HC: What did you most fear when you learned of your diagnosis?


David: After a five-day stay in the hospital, the symptoms were still so severe that I felt I could not continue as a bodybuilder, or might not step foot in a gym again. The neurologists said that MS would quickly make me wheelchair bound due to the tremendous nerve damage I experienced during that initial attack. I began to fear that would become my reality. Twelve years later and almost 60 years old, I’m still not using a wheelchair.

Read this post in its entirety:

Building Your Fitness Future With MS: An Interview with David Lyons

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

How to Reduce the Pain of Injections

Self-injectable medications

Several of the medications used to treat multiple sclerosis are injectable drugs. The requirements for storage and administration differ for each drug, but here are some universal tips that will help reduce the pain of the injections. Please note that if you have questions or difficulties with a specific drug, call the drug company’s helpline or ask your own MS nurse for help.
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Room temperature medication

Medications which must be kept in the refrigerator for storage are often much less painful upon injection when at room temperature. Before injecting, remove one pre-filled syringe from the refrigerator and leave the syringe out for at least 30 minutes before using. Or alternatively, while still in the wrapper, hold it in your armpit to bring it to body temperature.

Read this post in its entirety:

7 Tips To Reduce the Pain of Injections

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

What is Spinal MS?

Maybe you have heard the term “Spinal MS.” What is that? I thought MS could be relapsing, primary progressive, secondary progressive, or “benign.”

The lesions caused by multiple sclerosis can occur anywhere within the central nervous system, which includes the brain, the spinal cord, and the optic nerves. Approximately 55-75 percent of patients with MS will have spinal cord lesions at some time during the course of their disease. If a patient does have lesions in the spinal cord, he/she may be said to have Spinal MS.

A smaller number of MS patients, approximately 20 percent, may have only spinal lesions and not brain lesions. I am an example of one of those 20 percent of MS patients who only have spinal lesions.

Symptoms of Spinal MS

Spinal MS occurs more commonly with lesions in the cervical spine (the neck area) in approximately 67 percent of cases. Lesions in this area often affect the corticospinal tract. Neurological signs which indicate lesions in the corticospinal tract include the Babinski Sign and the Hoffmann Sign. Additional indicators of lesions in the upper spine include the l’Hermittes phenomenon and the Romberg Sign. At one time or another, I have shown each of these signs of neurological involvement/interference due to MS lesions.

Although the location of lesions do not always closely correlate to areas of clinical disability, there are cause/effect patterns which do emerge. Patients with spinal cord lesions are more likely to develop bladder dysfunction (e.g., urinary urgency or hesitancy, partial retention of urine, mild urinary incontinence), bowel dysfunction (e.g., constipation or urgency), and sexual dysfunction (e.g., erectile dysfunction or impotence in men, genital anesthesia or numbness in women, pain with intercourse for either sex). Complete loss of bladder and bowel control may be lost in more advanced cases of MS.


Spinal cord lesions can also lead to sensory and motor deficits, including dysesthesias, spasticity, limb weakness, ataxia or other gait disturbances.

Read this post in its entirety:

What is Spinal MS?

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Common Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms

Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system (CNS) with symptoms that can affect almost anything from head to toes. The disease is so variable that no two people with MS are likely to have exactly the same combination of symptoms. As MS symptoms mimic dozens of other conditions, it is also important to consider that this list is not exclusive to MS.

Here are 50 of the most common MS symptoms:

Sensory problems

  • Abnormal sensations (dysesthesias)
  • Numbness, tingling, burning, or tightness
  • Pins and needles
  • Severe itchiness (pruritus)
  • Hypersensitivity to touch
  • Pain - acute or chronic, mild to severe
  • Loss of proprioception (sense of body position in space)
  • Inability to detect vibrations
  • Impaired sense of taste or smell
  • Trigeminal neuralgia - stabbing pain in the face
  • L’Hermitte’s sign - electrical shock-like sensation running down the spine and into the limbs when you bend your neck forward or backward
  • The MS hug

Motor problems


  • Loss of strength or muscle weakness
  • Loss of muscle tone (hypotonicity) or increased muscle tone (hypertonicity)
  • Spasticity - continuously contracted muscles and/or muscle spasms
  • Myoclonus - sudden involuntary muscle contractions
  • Tremor
  • Foot drop
  • Problems walking, impaired gait, or mobility problems
  • Paralysis
  • Loss of balance
  • Loss of coordination (ataxia)
For more MS symptoms, read this post in its entirety:

Top 50 MS Symptoms

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Marcus Gunn Syndrome and Multiple Sclerosis

One test which my neurologist, ophthalmologist, and primary care doctor each conduct during every office visit is the “swinging flashlight test.” You know the one. The doctor asks you to look ahead then shines a penlight first toward one eye, then the other, alternating quickly to observe your pupils’ response to light.

I strangely enjoy this test because I know that my pupils will show something unique. Something which proves that I have damage to my optic nerve. My pupils show a Relative Afferent Pupillary Defect (RAPD) or Marcus Gunn Sign.

What does the doctor look for during the “swinging light test”?

The pupils (the black centers of the eyes which dilate or constrict in response to light) are inspected for size, equality, and regularity. Did you know that the pupils will constrict or dilate when you look at objects far or near? They do, which is kinda cool.

More importantly, each pupil should constrict quickly and equally during exposure to direct light and to light directed at the other pupil (the consensual light reflex). Using the swinging light test, the doctor can test and observe the pupillary response to consensual light in order to determine if there is a defect present.

Normally, the pupil constriction does not change as the light is swung from eye to eye. When the light is moved quickly from eye to eye, both pupils should hold their degree of constriction.

What is a Relative Afferent Pupillary Defect?

The Afferent Pupillary Defect (APD) or Relative Afferent Pupillary Defect (RAPD) is an abnormal and unequal response in the pupils of the eyes when exposed to light. It basically demonstrates that one optic nerve transmits a different message to the brain than the other one. Testing for RAPD is a good way to implicate or rule out optic nerve damage such as is caused by optic neuritis.


My temporarily blinding case of optic neuritis in 2000 left my right eye impaired. It doesn’t register light in the same way as my left eye as the optic nerve has permanent damage. When the doctor shines the light in my left eye (the “good” eye), both pupils will constrict. This is normal. When the doctor quickly moves the light to my right eye (the “bad” eye), my pupils begin to dilate since the brain thinks that less light is coming in. This shows that there is damage to the corresponding optic nerve.

Read this post in its entirety:

MS Signs and Symptoms: What is Marcus Gunn Syndrome?

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Nystagmus and Multiple Sclerosis

Nystagmus is a condition that causes the eyes to make quick, repetitive, uncontrolled movements — from side to side, up and down, or in a circular pattern — making the eyes appear to bounce around. The jerky motion may be triggered by optical stimuli or physical motion, or may occur at rest.

Nystagmus can be mild, occurring only when a person looks to the side, or it may be severe enough to impair vision. Nystagmus often makes it difficult to focus steadily on a fixed object.

What causes nystagmus?

Nystagmus can be an inherited condition, showing up in early childhood, or it can develop later in life due to an accident or illness. Nystagmus is often a symptom of an underlying medical problem, such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, or head trauma. Other causes of nystagmus include severe nearsightedness, albinism, inflammation of the inner ear, central nervous system diseases, and medication side-effects. Sometimes the cause may be unknown.


In persons with multiple sclerosis, lesions in the brainstem and cerebellum may interfere with the nerve signals that affect motion of the eyes causing nystagmus. According to the MS Foundation, approximately 35 percent of individuals with multiple sclerosis may develop nystagmus. Abnormal gaze-holding mechanisms, vestibular imbalance, and impaired fixation are the most common causes of nystagmus in multiple sclerosis.

Read this post in its entirety:

MS Signs and Symptoms: What is Nystagmus?