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I have been trying for the past year or so to exercise regularly. I'm 30 and have been an active person on and off for the past decade. I'll start exercising, get lazy and stop, and then start again. However, the last few times I've attempted to do this, I end up with a gradual onset of tingling and numbness that begins in my toes, spreads up my feet to my ankles, then begins in my fingers, spreads up my hands to my wrists, and then moves beyond my ankles to my calves. It is not just when I'm exercising - it's something that develops after a few days of working out, and remains constant throughout my day. When it first happened, I just pushed through and ended up with some shooting nerve pain in my calves. So I stopped exercising, started getting medical massages (which provide immediate relief) and acupuncture, and after a few months it subsided. I tried to start again, slower this time, and the tingling is coming back. It's just like a limb that's starting to fall asleep, except no amount of changing position can stop it. Worse when I'm lying in bed, sitting down, or standing in one spot. I don't notice it so much when I'm moving around a lot.

I tried going to a neurologist but she wanted me to do a $3300 set of MRI's to rule out MS. My insurance is high deductible and I can't afford that. She also had me try prednisone which did nothing. So far, the only thing that relieves it immediately is massage, and if I stop exercising it goes away after a while. I know that the tingling is directly related to exercising and seems to be worse when I am doing the home dvd stuff (lunges, squats, crunches, pushups, jumping jacks etc.) than if I'm just doing running or elliptical (however, knee and foot injuries make running difficult and aerobics are much easier and more fun). Certain yoga poses or doing lunges can instantly put my hands or feet to sleep, with relief happening as soon as I exit the pose (much like what any normal person experiences with the typical lack-of-circulation thing that happens in the middle of the night) - I'm not sure if this is related to the constant tingling I feel otherwise.

My experience with doctors trying to figure this out so far is just steroids and tests I can't afford. None of them seem to care that it's related to exercise and therefore could be muscular or circulatory or a pinched nerve from some structural problem. They just want to zero in on MS and assume it's a brain problem, which requires a series of expensive tests, a long diagnosis time (which is difficult to be certain of) and has no cure anyway. I'd rather rule out other things first. Since this is exercise-related, is there some other kind of doctor that would be better? A physical therapist or orthopedist? Has anyone else had this and found out what it was from or what can help? It's frustrating - I'm scared to exercise but I know I'm not doing my health any favors by being a couch-potato either. Catch-22.


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