It lasts just a few seconds, but it can be startling: An intense burst of pain like an electric shock that runs down your back into your arms and legs when you move your neck. It’s called Lhermitte’s sign, or barber chair sign, and it’s often one of the symptoms that people mention when they’re first diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
The problem can be painful, but it’s not life-threatening. With time or with treatment, some people stop having Lhermitte’s sign.
It’s a matter of simple anatomy: Women tend to get more UTIs than men, Berger says.
“Bacterial and viral infections can make symptoms worse and spur relapses, he says. “UTIs tend to worsen clinical symptoms that people already have.”
For some women with MS, ovulation and menstrual cycles can temporarily worsen their MS symptoms, says Thomas Leist, MD, director of the Comprehensive Multiple Sclerosis Center at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia.
It doesn’t mean you’re having a relapse. It usually gets better within 24 hours.
A woman with MS who wants to become pregnant should talk to her doctor about what her treatment plan will be, since none of the MS medicines are approved for use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.