Lhermitte's sign barber's chair phenomenon
MS Sign

Named after the person who first described it Jacques Jean Lhermitte, the condition also known as Barber’s Chair Phenomenon, and erroneously referred to as Lhermitte’s Sign, characterises an electric-shock like sensation felt down the spine when the head is flexed forwards.

Most often associated with multiple sclerosis it can occur in other conditions where trauma exists in the cervical portion of the spinal cord. Conditions such as electrolyte imbalance, cervical cord tumour, cervical spondylosis, or even vitamin B12 deficiency.

I have experienced this, where the sensation shoots down the spine, but in some case it can radiate out through the arms or legs.

Lhermitte’s Sign

As the cause of the Lhermitte’s sign is thought to result from the spread of ectopic excitation in demyelinated plaques in the cervical and thoracic regions of the spinal cord, it is hypothesised that the effects of EMFs are related to the reduction of axonal excitability via a mechanism involving changes in ionic membrane permeability.

I imagine that this might only occur in patients with spinal Multiple Sclerosis. The flexing of the neck somehow exacerbating the already impaired nerves in this region. Where demyelination has occurred only on cranial nerves, it is thought unlikely that this indicator would present.

I have not had these shooting pains for many years, so I guess my disease activity has migrated elsewhere.

Treatment

It is most likely that any occurrence of Lhermitte’s Sign will require no treatment. Like many MS symptoms it will appear and disappear unexpectedly.

  • Extracranial picotesla range pulsed electromagnetic fields

References:

Who Named It?

McFox’s Page

Resolution of Lhermitte’s Sign in multiple sclerosis on PubMed

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4 thoughts on “Lhermitte’s Sign or Barber’s Chair Phenomenon

  • March 16, 2016 at 1:49 am
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    Nice blog here! Also your website loads up very fast! What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

    • March 16, 2016 at 7:22 am
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      My hosting provider is Namesco Hosting
      Your comment showed up in my Spam folder so, hopefully it was an error.

  • December 19, 2015 at 6:11 pm
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    I too had this happening for the longest time and the doctors couldn’t tell me why. Ty for sharing this

    • December 20, 2015 at 8:21 am
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      There is never a dull moment with MS. No two days of symptoms are the same.

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