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Date of last update: 10/04/2017.

Forum Name: Neurology Topics

Question: loss of balance, numbness, a tic

 peace - Tue Jan 01, 2008 4:01 pm

I feel like I am hitting a bottom. I cannot endure this any longer. I have little or no ability to balance myself anymore, holding onto the railing as I trek down stairs. I feel numb in my extremities--all over, really. It is like I have to wiggle my toes and feet and flex my leg muscles to know they are there. I am a 46 year old smoker who does not drink alcohol or take any drugs or medications (except all natural progesterone cream to control my perimenopausal symptoms). I was diagnosed many, many years ago with temporal lobe epilepsy (complex partial seizures) and an MRI of the brain in the early 1990s revealed a lesion on one of my temporal lobes (can't remember which one), finally confirming my diagnosis. However, unlike my complex partial seizures and many years later in my early 40s I began experiencing feeling as though I was going to "go down", like something above my head was "pushing" me down, and a much more difficulty maintaining my already imperfect balance. Now, at times, my lack of balance and equilibrium is so pronounced it elicits scornful looks from others, as though they have deemed me drunk or intoxicated. It is very, very embarrassing. Also around the same time I developed what I call a "tic" where my head moves or shakes involuntarily for just a second. My kids noticed it, were alarmed by it, and insisted I get checked out. My doctor referred me to a neurologist who did an MRI of the brain, perhaps 10 years after the one confirming my complex partial seizure diagnosis, said she found nothing--including no lesion although the doctors 10 years before found one. I am very frightened by my symptoms, and when they get bad enough to send me to the ER, ER personnel become irritated at me, telling me it is not a life-threatening emergency and to go to my regular doctor. However, now that I am in graduate school and working only part-time, I no longer have health insurance. Is there any neurologists out there who could test and diagnose a very poor graduate student/mother/grandmother with such frightening symptoms as mine for free?
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Mon Feb 04, 2008 7:43 pm

User avatar Hello Peace,

It sounds like you are having a problem with the balance center in your ear or possibly the nerves that connect to it. Seeing a neurologist is an appopropriate thing to do. Unfortunately, it may be difficult without insurance. I would recommend that you contact your local health department to see if there are any clinics in your area that see patients on a free or reduced fee scale for those without insurance. Most likely this will be a primary care clinic not a neurology clinic but it may be the best way to get into the medical system so that others can then evaluate you or testing can be done.

Best wishes.

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