Cold weather causing MS to flare up - My MSAA Community

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Cold weather causing MS to flare up


Anyone else have the COLD weather cause your MS to flare? I know most people have problems with heat, but the cold bothers me. Right now we are in an arctic cold front with temps in single digits and it is to get below zero.

I have severe aches and pains in my legs.. Stumbling around, fell a couple of times. My hands ache and finger tips are numb. I've dropped 3 glasses and broken them. And to walk, o m gosh. Painful and shuffle.

I have electric blanket to sleep but my legs still painful. Anyone have any ideas what I could do to help with cold legs, other than dress in 50 pairs of pants and socks?

Thanks········Freezing in Washington

34 Replies

I wear thick wooly socks and my slippers inside. Have a big wool "horse blanket" to wrap around me. (my weine dog likes to get under that with me).

Oh yeah, layers when outside. Helps some. Tylenol helps some with the pain.

Wish I could move to Tahiti. LOL

I wear legg warmers and ski socks and if still cold stick on heat patches used for campers (I buy those in bulk) and I live in Fla! Cold inc. my neuropathy and spasticity

Kath55 in reply to erash

Oh, me too erash. The cramps in my legs are horrid. Neuropathy in my feet really bad and now noticing my fingertips tingle and hurt

erash in reply to Kath55

Kath55 i have both neuropathy and ranauds and even swimming slightly cold pool makes my thumbs ache (weird)

Same here in upstate NY. All syntoms as you and more. Worse I've been in 10 years

erash in reply to Christopher04

Christopher04 i grew up in Rocester, NY. I can't imagine...

Kath55 in reply to Christopher04

Sorry to hear that Christopher 04. Hope you feel ok soon. Warm thoughts being sent your way

Hello kath, I have both cold and heat sensitivity, they both SUCK, GOOD LUCK in the future!

Kath55 in reply to Jbahnan

Oh, good luck to you! You must hurt all the time

Do you have Raynaud's? This affliction causes your fingers and/or toes to become numb, turn white and painful because the blood flow is switched off; it is also painful when the blood flow returns and the affected areas warm up. Mine can be triggered by the refrigerated section of the grocery store, on just an index finger, or one hand, or both. Sporting goods stores carry handwarmers that can be activated and tucked inside gloves or socks, but I have found them only minimally helpful. It was diagnosed before the MS, when I lived in Delaware where winters are cold and damp. Right now, early morning, the thermostat says the house is at 64 (currently I live in So Cal), my left index finger is white and numb. I am comfortable, but my finger apparently disagrees. You have all my sympathy: when our internal thermostats go awry, it can be painful, uncomfortable and irritating...and when we become unable to deal with heat AND cold, what are we to do?? I wish I had a solution or that a warm long distance embrace would fix it!

Kath55 in reply to goatgal

I have never had a diagnosis of Raynauds. I don't think my fingers turn white. I know my middle daughter has it. She was diagnosed while in middle school. Sounds like everyone gets hand warmers, duh. I should of thought of that. My husband works outside and has a bunch of them . Maybe I'll snag some and try it.

The cold can make my muscles spasm more, which hurts. Sorry you are in such pain.

Kath55 in reply to Morllyn

Sorry for you also. Muscle spasms are bad. Especially the ones that wake you up in middle of night screaming. Wish there were an answer for all of us

I too live in Washington and the cold weather has basically trapped me in the house. Even though I keep the house at 70 degrees, I start to feel like my legs are cold from the inside out. This usually starts around 1 PM which puts me under the blanket on the couch for most of the afternoon. I feel like I am actually fortunate that it hits me in the afternoon and not all day long. Hoping that you find some method to alleviate these miserable conditions. I am going to try the suggestions from all of you. Bless you one and all.

Tutu in reply to Vlbrown57

Vlbrown57, where in Washington do you live? I'm currently in San Diego, where it has been cold, windy and rainy, but much warmer than what I understand it is in the Seattle area right now. I return home to WA on Thursday. I live near Port Townsend.

Heat (and humidity) is my main problem, but my feet and hands hurt in the colder temps. I'm sorry for all of you who suffer in both weather extremes. That has to be hard.

Vlbrown57 in reply to Tutu

I live in Spokane Valley. My husband is the rock I lean on through this polar vortex we are experiencing. The wind chill factor has brought our 12 degree temperature down to below zero. I spend my days crocheting, reading, praying, and sometimes watching Netflix. We are human barometers! And in the heat of summer, I would love to take an RV and move to Port Townsend. Love that part of our state. Take care Tutu.

Tutu in reply to Vlbrown57

You get the weather extremes where you live. So hot in the summer and frigid in the winter. Sorry about that. Yes, it's much milder where we are.

Happy you are blessed with a good husband too. Also good to hear you can stay warm indoors and do all you do!

Kath55 in reply to Vlbrown57

Vlbrown57. Isn't that inner pain awful? My bones actually ache. I see you live in Spokane Valley. !! I live in Spokane also. Over by SCC.

I know it's cold as my little dog will barely go outside. I bought her a sweater, she really likes it. I crank the heat up during the day. Try to stay busy like you. My prayers will include you (and everyone here) to stay warm and not be in such pain. Take care. Kath55

Vlbrown57 in reply to Kath55

I hope you stay warm also! We have a cat who likes the snow. She goes out and hops around like a rabbit. Strange little creature. The chill and pain really overwhelm us. My neurologist told me that if the pain gets to be too much, she will prescribe pain meds. But, there aren't any meds for the chill. My mom used to take cayenne pepper to warm up. She said it worked. I sometimes wonder if she had MS, not Alzheimer's she was diagnosed with. Oh well. Kinda rambling on here. Take care. VLBrown

I live in realatvely mild Southern California. The cool cloudy rainy days we are experiencing seem to make all of my symptoms worse. I have MS and my wife has Ranauds. She uses my hot pack from Copaxone to warm her hands. When she visits our daughter she buys the chemical hot packs for her hands and feet.

@Kath55 Hi Kath it's KrittyKat60 here. I have sensitivity to both heat and cold. I don't have a resolution for you. I dress in layers all year long. I'm cold most of the time and even in the summer I freeze especially if the AC is too cold at work. I leave and it's 90 plus degrees outside and usually the dew point is up in the 60's plus area so I have to take off clothes when I leave work. It's not a real resolution but it does help me so I don't overheat and I don't freeze. I've often thought of buying an electric snuggle that I can wear at work to keep my arms free to type and multitask. Instead I turn on my little space heater and close my office door.

Hi Kath55!

Another Washingtonian here but I'm on the Western side. I'm actually enjoying our cold snap except for driving on ice. I hate that.

I'm super heat sensitive and not so much cold sensitive. If the cold does bother me, I'll feel some spacicity mostly in my legs. Consequently, I keep my house on the cool side. Unfortunately I'm temporarily staying with family members that keep their house at 70 during the day and high 60's at night. It's not good for me.

Some suggestions I have to stay warm are to wear close fitting knit hats even inside. Have you ever tried knitted fingerless gloves? My daughter who lives on the east coast loves those in the house. I wear a kind of leggings with a long sleeved sleepshirt to sleep and sometimes socks too. The leggings are by a company called Cuddlduds. You can find them on sale sometimes. I even wear them under my jeans as an extra layer when it's bitter cold outside.

Kath55 in reply to Raingrrl

Raingrrl Hello to fellow Washingtonian!

I've heard of Cuddleduds. I should look into them. I've never thought of fingerless gloves either.

I do wear pajama top and bottoms, and I have an electric blanket. I have a rice bag that I heat up and put between the sheets to warm them up. Also the rice bag keeps my feet warmer. It kinda helps with the pain in my feet. So many things to think about while reading this thread. This site is great !!

johnMSAA just for the records, read another strange symptom, internal thermostats go awry. hot AND cold just as devastating. even living in Florida MSers complain of the misery of fingers going numb when picking up something from the frozen food section and staying cold for hours. That's the kind of weird symptoms that I am talking about that scare us and make us think something ELSE is wrong and we bug our doctors and they look at us like we are hypochondriacs! We think our hearts are getting weak, or our circulation is slowing down and we are going to have a stroke, or some weird place for pain may be a sign of cancer, or a hidden tumor, or whatever. To read someone has had this crazy symptom for years is such a relief. But it may take years to accidentally find that post! Just commenting, John.


Kath55 hello and welcome to this amazing chat room from Fancy1959. I am not certain I've spoken to you before so if this is a duplicate i'm just saying hello again! There is a syndrome called Rinaldi's syndrome that MS patients can suffer from. It causes extreme reactions to the cold in the hands and feet of MS patients affected by it. If you get your hands your feet too cold, whether by being out in cold weather areas or getting in frozen foods, you get an extremely painful reaction. I guess the first time it happened to me was actually about 2 years ago. I got my hands too cold going out to the barn one evening to check on some horses getting ready to foal. I got back inside and my hand hurts from the cold. As I was trying to warm them up the pain hit me out of the blue. It was as if somebody was driving of thousand small nails into each hand. My hands also got extremely pale looking , and I am told they can even turn blue sometimes. Nobody was around then and long story short I wound up on the floor in a fetal position with my hands cradled up under my body screaming my head off and bawling my eyes out!. And it lasted for a good 10 minutes or more. It can also happen to your feet. So be very, very careful testing your cold intolerance as well as your heat intolerance. Believe me the pain is excruciating if you suffer from Rinaldi's syndrome. A very wise doctor i see told me the only way to speed up the recovery time when the pain gets bad from Renaldi's syndrome is to put a heating pad on your back between your shoulder blades. It seems the nerve gangaly ( I'm not certain about that spelling) that affects your hands is centered there. Buy warming that spot up quicker it will help to warm your hands up quicker. My hands are sometimes uncomfortable in even getting in extremely cold water or like someone else said in the deep freezer. I always am extremely careful. I also have extremely good winter boots with a lot of insulation in them to prevent me from getting my feet too cold.

I'm always just a post away if you need me text. I hope this information helps. And I pray to God you never have to suffer from either heat or cold intolerance. Please be careful and take care of yourself! And remember please together we are stronger! Fancy1959


Never new that Fancy1959 lm going to have to try that. That's why the neckwrap works so well for me in summer also.. it's on my shoulder blades. 🚨 😁. 🌠

Cold affects me as well. When I get cold my body seems to tense up. As a result last year for example my leg became so stiff that I couldn't bend it. This man had to push me in the car which was like trying to bend a metal pipe.

This year is different I'm not as stiff I take 2 muscle relaxers tizanidine hcl 4mg x 3 and baclofen 30mg x 3

What really help is these long johns I found at Walmart called ClimateRight by CuddlDuds. I got the frigid and I am pretty warm. I have just been wearing those and a pair of nylon jogging pants. I live in Chicago and I was recently in one of the coldest places on earth Rochester Minnesota when I was there they were claiming they were having a heat wave at 20 below.

I also have an ancle length north face coat.

Hope this helps.

Yes. Was in CA for holidays and now home in TX. Same symptions as you. Never had them before. Are you getting any better?

Cold can definitely worsen spasticity, & not everyone is aware of it, so that might be part of your problem. :-( I often get the "ice block" feet. I end up massaging my feet, try to warm up & then put on those slipper socks so I don't slip! My daughter just got me an old fashioned hot water bottle & I'm going to try that. If you can, don't wait until they get really cold, & try to ward off that freezing state! I know that I often don't seem to notice anything until I'm REALLY cold.

Kath55 in reply to Lisacpa

Yeah, I forget about my feelings in my feet. "I think my feet feel a little cold" Then I really get touching them and they are just ICE. !! Found some really good ,thick,socks to wear that have the little rubber gripy things on them. Pretty nice socks

By the way, I live in NW Indiana (think Chicago), or as I call it, Little Siberia. Miserably cold lately. Now I gotta get out of this basement! LOL

Somewhat better. The temp is a whopping 30* and is warmer than the 10* we had. Still gotta use my cane as my legs are pretty wobbly. But on the end of it(cane) is an ice pick type deal that jabs into snow and ice and helps stabilize me.

Bet you're doing well in Texas


Kath, I'm going through much the same experience. Cold numbs my legs up to my knees and it feels like lead weights hanging off me. Feet are leaden except for the needles sticking between my toes. The feel of socks and pants give me electric shock waves from feet to waist. This is my first winter with ms, so I'm trying lots of different ways to stay warm or at least trick my body into feeling warm. Some on on here suggested Diabetic socks which are less binding and a little more comfortable. I got some at Walmart, then found some at the $ store for a buck a pair and they are identical. Also, when I'm up and about the house, I wear leg warmers that I got from Ebay. Less than $3. a pair. As far as your bedding is concerned, we have a heated mattress pad that we got at Kohls. We've used that for many years, perhaps the combination of that and the electric blanket might be helpful. I also keep a couple of small blankets on the foot of the bed on my side only so that I've extra warming for my leaden feet. Hope you find some relief. Message me if you need the link for the leg warmers. Lynn #Calfeechick

I find change of seasons and the ups and downs with barametric pressure, cold / hot, rain, cloudiness will cause an excacerbation but once the weather settles into the season I don't have any problems. What I'm finding as I get older the excacerbations are getting worse. I was in wheel chair and completely recovered in remission but the past few years this is what I have been experiencing.

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