THE condition known as "the electrical sign," or "Lhermitte's symptom," is a rare manifestation of disease of the central nervous system. Patients with the full blown syndrome complain that on bending the head and neck forward paresthesias begin in the base of the neck and radiate into the upper extremities, down the spine and, finally, into the lower extremities. The sensation is variously described as "vibrating," "just like sticking your finger into an electric socket" or "like bumping your funny bone."
In 1918 Babinski and Dubois1 described the syndrome as a sequela of injury to the neck. One year previously they had reported similar disturbances following head injury. Between 1922 and 1929 Lhermitte and associates2 reported that the syndrome was also found in cases of multiple sclerosis. It was Lhermitte's original opinion that it occurred as an early symptom of this disease, but this has been disputed by
LITTLE SC. ELECTRICAL PARESTHESIAS IN THE EXTREMITIES FOLLOWING INJURY TO THE CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM. Arch NeurPsych. 1946;56(4):417–427. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1946.02300210061004
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