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Forum Name: Neurology Topics

Question: Neuro-Sensations and Cardio-Palp Symptoms


 JasonWiest - Fri Apr 04, 2008 10:53 pm

I'll try to be as short but information filled as possible.

29 years old, active, never smoked/drank, 5'11 145 pounds. I don't suffer from anxiety or panic attacks, very calm level headed person, not much caffeine

I Was in a car accident at 26 where my chest muscles were very sore for weeks after the accident, no visible injuries.

2 years ago I started getting odd sensations throughout my body, where it felt like I got a pin prick on my right finger, then thumb, then left finger, then toes, etc... Not really painful, just annoying.

Lasted about 3-4 months. I went to my dr(internist), and had several tests done(EMG/MRI head/CT scan head/neck/abdomen, gall bladder ultrasound) numerous blood work(lyme disease, diabetes, etc...) which was all negative. Still had the sensations, so I went to a chiropractor. The day after I went to the chiropractor I got my first palpitation that I ever felt(hard thud in my chest like a skipped beat)
I Went back to the dr again, and they ran an EKG, Echo Stress test/Holter MOnitor, all negative.

My palpitations started getting more frequent and at odd times. When I layed on my right side, when I coughed/sneezed, when I bent down forward. Not all the time, just intermittent, and not at the typical times when other people seem to have them. They didn't hurt, just annoying.

Here I am about 3 years later, and still don't have any answers, and things are still present and worse. My palpitations happen about every day, and happen still at the odd times, and also when I'm moving my body, such as when I jump, or when I do a sit up, or when I'm running, take a slapshot, swing a baseball bat. I don't get out of breath/dizzy,etc.., and they normally don't hurt.
Sometimes I do get a hard thump in my chest that is a stabbing pain right in the middle, but I feel it only on the thump, and then I feel all jittery and weird for the next 30 minutes or so, and have a hard time thinking. This happens maybe once a week, and not every day.

My sensations throughout my body have gotten worse and more frequent, where it feels like an arthritic pain in an area about the size of a coin. I will feel it in my fingers on either side of body, my hands, feet, wrists, even my tongue. It's like a jumping game for whatever this thing is.

I'm not sure where to proceed from here.
I guess my questions are, does anyone have a suggestion on where I should go from here?

I've done tons of research, and because I have no medical background, I don't understand half of the stuff and become empty handed.

In my non-medical opinion, I would think I've got a nerve somewhere that is causing my palpitations, and when I move just the wrong way I hit that nerve. I've read on subluxations, and thought maybe that could be it.

The nerve thing I can't explain even in a non-medical opinion. I'm having a hard time just thinking it's normal for me now and have to live with this. Like I said I don't dwell upon it or anything, but it's quite annoying. The palpitations do concern me, obviously since it's the heart, but it hasn't killed me yet, and have had tons of tests to rule out major medical things, which is cool.

Should I be going back to my dr for about a 5th time and tell him to check me again?
 John Kenyon, CNA - Fri Aug 01, 2008 9:29 pm

User avatar Hello -

Well you did provide very detailed information. I think your conclusions, however, may be precisely the reverse of what you've arrived at. Here's why:

The pinprick pains, sensations, etc., are far more likely to be caused by one or more nerves being impinged upon. The palpitations are normal, but you have become aware of them now and perhaps they are more frequent than before, which can be due to any number of benign causes, but also can cause unrecognized anxiety as well (mainly because it is one's heart, after all, and it is misbehaving).

Since you have a history of auto accident with mechanism of trauma to the upper body, although nothing serious was found to have happened. However, as you mention, subluxations and other disturbances of skeletal parts (and consequent nerve impingements) are possible, as are delayed neurological symptoms such as your odd sensations. This is not to say that's what's causing them, but it is at least a possible cause.

The palpitations, on the other hand, are, as I said earlier, quite normal. Why we begin to notice them or to have them more -- or less -- frequently at one time or another remains partly a mystery, and partly just too much trouble to trace to their source. Caffeine, nicotine, anxiety, stress, digestion of food, trapped gas, lack of sleep, changes of position, all these and many more quite innocent things can cause these. Usually they are premature ventricular contractions (PVCs)although sometimes premature atrial contractions (PACs) or both. PVCs are most often responsible for that "kick in the chest" sensation which, while often actually painful, are almost never of any consequence nor of any diagnostic value, yet they are often a major source of anxiety and concern.

Palpitations, if the precipitating cause can be found (check the short list, above), often can be reduced to the vanishing point. Other times one just has to put up with them. The only time they raise any concern at all is in large, usually athletic people who might have the remote chance of having an overdeveloped (thickened) left ventricle. There is often a family history in these cases, and the condition is rare. Other than that, since most everyone has PVCs (but not everyone feels them, regardless of frequency), they are usually dismissed by doctors, leaving the patient to wonder if something serious has been overlooked. Since cardiomyopathy (another word for the overdeveloped, thickened, left ventricle) can generally be ruled out by EKG, you've pretty much cleared that one remote hurdle.

Even the nerve pains and sensations you experience could be caused by things I hadn't even thought of at first, and some of those are also normal too. However, it would be worthwhile to rule out any nerve compression which may have developed slowly since the auto accident. A neurologist might be your best bet for that part of the problem.

I certainly hope this is helpful and eases your mind some. Please follow up here if you have any additional questions, concerns or ideas. Good luck to you.
 JasonWiest - Tue Apr 07, 2009 11:09 pm

Thank you very much for your response. I greatly appreciate it. I have read over it several times since you had posted. One item that I am curious about and wanted to get your thoughts is about food intolerance or allergy. I'm thinking an allergy would be a lot more noticeable, but I went back to when my symptoms started and realized that I was at the time drinking a soda like Mountain Dew for awhile. Mainly every day. I avoided it for about a month or so, and was actually doing very well. Many days without any symptoms. Then I tried it again, and a couple days afterwards started noticing some of the symptoms again. (Yes I'm aware my mind could be playing tricks on me) But I had again laid off of it, and the symptoms seem to be a lot better, yet not perfect. I don't drink soda much at all anymore, because It's not worth it to me if it exacerbates the symptoms, which whether it does or not in reality, seems to. I'm aware caffeine can cause odd symptoms in people, so I try to avoid is as much as possible(Never do I drink thinks like coffee or red bull, but maybe once a week a coke or something) That being said, could there be something like a food dye or ingredient or something that could cause anything like this? I'm aware that there are tests for food allergies, but haven't had any yet.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Wed Apr 08, 2009 3:28 pm

User avatar Well for one thing -- and this is significant -- Mountain Dew is probably the original energy drink, as it has not only tons of sugar but more caffeine than any of the other non-specialty soft drinks. Put enough of that in yourself and you're bound to at least develop some cardiac symptoms (mainly palpitations). There's also some unusual food colorings in it, not sure what exactly, but this could be contributing in other ways as well. Mountain Dew is potent stuff. I haven't done a comparison with drinks like Red Bull, but I'd say it's likely pretty close in potential kick. This really could be a big part of what's going on.

There are still tests that need to be done, and you could add food allergens and coloring agents to that list. But perhaps your provocative test with the Mountain Dew discontinuation has answered the larger part of your question. Give it a little more time (caffeine can be slow to eliminate) and see where the improvement ends and what's left afterward. Follow up with us and let us know what you think.

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