Heat and My Multiple Sclerosis – Uhthoff’s Phenomena

I have always hated the heat, even before I was diagnosed with MS, after Multiple Sclerosis and I were acquainted I became really sensitive to the heat. The heat made my symptoms flair or sometimes even started a relapse. This is known as “Uhthoff’s Phenomena” and most people with MS suffer from this. Basically, heat can slow down nerve conduction in the CNS which makes symptoms worse. I have not done any research on this yet but to me, what doesn’t make sense, are the claims I come across here and there that some people with MS like the heat and hate the cold, the cold makes them feel worse! I can understand how cold can make symptoms like spasticity worse but the MS itself? I have to look into that more.

Until then, I wanted to share something I have been noticing lately. I have been keeping a close watch on the temperature since it’s summer and it’s the worse time of the year for me in the desert where it is usually around 100F (37.7C) degrees this time of year. 110F (43.3C) is not uncommon either… I have a clock in my room that also tells me the temperature and I try to keep it between 70F and 76F (21C and 24.4C) because that is where I feel comfortable enough to move around a bit. I think it’s nicest outside in the 60F’s (15.5C’s) I should mention. What I have noticed though, is it does not take much to raise my core temperature making me feel like I am burning up even when it is only 70F (21C) in my room! If I have been sitting a while and not moving I can feel perfect when it’s 76F (24.4C)! 

When I was in Ireland it was around 32F to 53F (0 to 12C) and I felt great! I could walk around the city all day and not feel fatigued or overheated! My symptoms felt absent! If it wasn’t for me not being able to run I would not even have felt like I had MS… and I get it now. All the walking and moving raised my core temperature but because it was so cold there I felt “balanced” whereas here, even when it feels nice, I start moving around and my core temperature spikes too high making me feel overheated. I just got back from putting a dish in the sink and hanging my laundry and I feel like I just ran a mile… So it really does not take much at all to “over exert” myself and feel overheated…

I am trying to take frequent breaks, keep my room cool, and I should be using my cooling vest inside rather then hoping it will compete with 100F (37.7C) degree weather… I will be looking into this more later since it seems to be one of my greatest triggers along with stress.

11 Responses to Heat and My Multiple Sclerosis – Uhthoff’s Phenomena

  1. Larry says:

    Matt I feel better at higher elevations. The more I stay the better I feel. I live at 5300ft went camping at 9600ft for a week was so nice!

  2. See, I have read before that high elevation is bad! Not sure why! After I flew I felt fine, the mountain I go to are about 6,000 feet up and I always feel good to go there. So I dont get it haha we are all different I guess!

  3. Larry says:

    Over 8000ft for ago time can hurt you!

  4. I can't even do aerobics anymore, I get my core temperature up too high, I pass out!! Even before I was diagnosed if I worked out too hard I would get light headed and did not know why, now I do!! I can't wait to make enough money to move to Alaska

  5. Haha Alaska, I'm not ready to shoot bears and wolves and then ride a sled pulled by dog to go buy dinner, I am thinking Washington. I wonder what the elevation is there? Probably like 0 since its so close to the sea haha!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I cant stand the cold and i live in northern Canada. Once i start to shiver i cant stop. This problem seems to be resolved after i played lab rat in a experimental treatment for my ms.

  7. Hmm, see, that is so odd, I wish I understood the science of that!

  8. Anonymous says:

    I think i just had less control of my damaged nerves. I used to have a hard time swimming in cold lake water it was almost painfull.

  9. Does it make you feel tight? Cold makes spasticity worse but cold is supposed to speed up nerve conductivity, that is where I get confused. But I have met many people who say the cold is killer for them.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Ya i guess it does make me feel alite tight. Nasa has some "cool" stuff for working out. Check out nasa's vasper workout system.

  11. Maybe you have some spasticity going on? IDK? But yeah, I'll check it out, thanks!

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