I am sorry to see you having to worry about an MS diagnosis on top of your chronic pain. You are asking the question that everyone wants the answer to. If you ask most neurologists, they will say not usually or even no. Multiple Sclerosis indeed means multiple scars. BUT........if you ask many many many MS patients, they will say that it took years to get a dx and they had symptoms far longer than they had lesions showing up on an MRI. The thinking is that very small, early lesions don't show up on an MRI. MS is a disease of the CENTRAL nervous system. If your "dying nerves" are peripheral then that would not be MS. MS is exclusive to the brain and spinal cord. It might feel like a pinched nerve or local nerve damage but that is just perception, the damage comes form dead/damaged areas of the brain and or spinal cord.
Most MSers have lesions on the brain, many have lesions on the brain and spine, a rare few have lesions just on the spine. If you have not had MRIs of your cervical spine or thoracic spine specifically checking for MS then that might be a logical next step. Also, many people feel that your images on those MRIs are better if you do the MRI with contrast (gadolinium). The gadolinium dye is very toxic so be sure to let them know if you have any reaction at all or if you are allergic to many things. Drink tons of water afterwards if you do get the contrast dye.
Other common tests are evoked potentials (extremeties, vision, hearing), a standard neurological test that checks for normal responses and reflexes. Reflex tests can be good indicators. A lumbar puncture is common if you have lesions showing up. 70 - 90 percent of MSers show oligoclonal bands in their spinal fluid.
There is no one test that shows MS. It is a diagnosis of exclusion. I had two brain lesions, one spinal lesion, 0-bands, I failed my visual evoked potentials and had abnormal lower extremities evoked potentials. I had abnormal reflexes and some neuro responses that are typical for MS (for example L'Hermittes syndrom). I had blood work that showed no other reason for these symptoms. My diagnosis was straightfoward and fast. (lucky me) This is not typical. Most people have months - years of symptoms and issues before MS is deteremined.
I hope this helps. Sorry it is so long.
Gretchen ~ diagnosed with MS July 2006
I have no lesions on my soul and so I will live with no limits.