A temperature sense reversal can be a very difficult sensation to describe. But, I am nothing if not up for a challenge.

Temperature Sense Reversal (possible Dysautonomia)

This is a symptom I have experienced but have been unable to find a clinical definition for. In it, my extremities experience temperature in reverse. Hot feels cold and cold feels hot.

The condition only lasted for a matter of weeks, and it only affected my right leg. One evening I took a hot bath, as is my wont, and upon immersing myself in the water, my left leg felt the water as hot, which it was, but my right leg felt as if the water was cold. This was peculiar but I had become accustomed to the vagaries of MS by this time. The following morning I walked out of the front door, I can’t remember why, and there was a cold wind blowing. Again my left leg felt the cold, but my right leg felt it as a warm breeze.

I decided to look on the Web to see what this unusual symptom might be, and drew a complete blank. The closest I came was a page by a Mrs Gina Wolfe who had developed arachnoiditis adhesions, scar tissue around the spinal cord, following some back surgery. She described experiencing very similar sensations. It also seems that tetrodotoxin, the toxin from a puffer fish, can produce similar sensations.

temperature sense reversal
Cold Wind Blows Hot

In MS, the lesions that develop on the nerve fibres are a form of scarring so I assume there are parallels here. I guess that, due to the complete dearth of information, this must be quite a rare symptom.

However, the neural scarring of multiple sclerosis is predominantly in the brain.

Other minor causes

Other causes of feeling hot and cold at the same time may include extreme fatigue, migraines, flu-related illnesses, starting a new medication or hormonal imbalances. Sometimes, these are accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, chills, itching, frequent urination, palpitations, tremor or a feeling of dread.

Rare causes

A very rare disorder that can cause sensations of feeling cold and hot at the same time is known as dysautonomia. In this disorder, there is a malfunction of nerves that control the bodily functions. One may experience a whole host of other symptoms besides feeling cold and hot simultaneously, like excess sweating, excessive thirst, slow of fast heart rate, difficulty breathing, abdominal distension, dizziness and fluctuations in blood pressure.

Nerve disorders

People suffering from Multiple Sclerosis also complain of feeling hot and cold at the same time. This complex disorder of the nervous system can cause vision problems, fatigue, muscle weakness, incontinence and often presents in the third or fourth decade of life. The disorder is progressive and results in severe disability.

There are several other nerve disorders known as peripheral neuropathies that can also present with sensations of hot and cold. Most people also have other associated symptoms with peripheral neuropathy that include tingling, numbness, constipation, weakness or pain. These disorders require extensive work up and treatment is done with a wide range of medications that include painkillers, antidepressants and antiseizure drugs.

Temperature Intolerance

Temperature Intolerance where symptoms (particularly of Multiple Sclerosis) are exacerbated by extremes of body temperature. Can, perhaps, best be understood with a little knowledge of our own biochemistry.

This heat or cold intolerance is not the same as temperature sense reversal. It is the inability of your body to correctly regulate its own optimum temperature.

Mitochondria are the cell organelles responsible for producing the energy our bodies need to function. This energy is produced as chemical energy and as heat energy.



Some other possible causes for temperature sense reversal can be found in this Yellow Pages article
Brain inflammation could be Arachnoiditis

Why not take a peek at our most recently added post?
newest oldest most voted
Notify of

You are not alone.

I have M.S. and have experienced this hot/cold reversal too. Mine also only lasted a few weeks each time.

Right now I am experiencing a similar issue on my right hip. A cool object on the skin causes pain, almost like I have a very sore bruise there. Warm objects don’t cause any abnormal sensation.


I would say it’s nice to know I am not alone but it’s not! MS is NOT nice. I have experienced something similar where my legs feel bruised for no apparent reason.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.