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Date of last update: 10/04/2017.

Forum Name: Neurology Topics

Question: Tingling, neck and low back pain, headache, urination issue

 tonydutt - Fri Jan 16, 2009 2:25 pm

38 y/o cauc/male. No family history of anything. 500 mg of Valtrex daily.
Head trauma at age 24 due to car wreck - no issues since.
Septoplasty in 2003.
On 12/23 I slipped on the some slippery steps and both feet landed flat on the next tread. I didn't think anything of it at the time. I took a nap that day and had a terrible headache at the base of my skull/top of my spine. Thought it was jet lag due to a recent long business trip and changing 6 times zones and back again in 7 days.
12-23-12/26 - I didn't really notice much more than a headache but I did have some dizziness/lighthedness. The neck/spine pain or headache was not prevalent at this time.
12/26 - I started noticing some tingling on my left hand and fingers along with lightheadedness/dizziness.
12/26-1/1 - The tingling in my fingers and left palm continued. I felt some tingling on my head too. Still lightheaded.
1/2 - The tingling went down my left side to my left leg. My middle back was not affected by this numbness/tingling. I went to the ER and my diagnosis was anxiety. Baloney!
1/2 - 1/5 - The tingling continued all over my left side and head.
1/5 tingling made it to right side. Middle back not affected. Went to ER again. I had a CT scan which was normal. The ER doc said I need to have a neurology consult ASAP. He said this could be any 1 of a 1000 things, the worst of which being MS.
1/5-1/11 - The tingling came and went all over my body. But, seemed to get worse in my legs when I sat down. Sometimes, I wake up feel very good all day, other mornings I wake and feel awful. I started noticing I was bothered by light and my eyes were watering a lot.
1/12 - I had my neurology consult. It lasted 1 hour. Two doctors performed all types (independently)of tests associated with my motor skills and strength. They looked in my eyes, poked my with a sharp object, scraped my feet, made me push and pull every movable part of my body. Their diagnosis - psycho somatic generated symptoms. They said to come back in 6 months. They ruled out MS by doing those tests. That was great news as far as I was concerned.
I did ask them many questions and explained in excruciating detail about my fall on the steps two weeks prior. They said no big deal, but, took 7 neck xrays and they came back normal. Good, but I still felt weird.
Later that day, I started noticing some urinary problems. That is, I couldn't stop the stream easily and I had to go all the time. Coupled with that I had some rectal incontenance. Not much, just had to go to the bathroom and wipe in addition to peeing all the time. Additionally, my appetite is gone and I have a pain in my gut that won't subside.
1/13 - Eye exam is normal. 20/15 combined with no glasses or contacts. Optometrist says my optic nerve is amongst the best she has seen. She says no chance of optic neuritis.
1/14 - Abdomen and urination symptoms persist. Numbness and tingling is all but gone. Only in my neck and head do I feel any amount of numbness and tingling and it isn't too bad. My lower back and neck hurt more now than ever before.
1/15 - I stopped by to see neuro and explain symptoms. He was visibly frustrated by my visit and was really not interested in my concerns. He ordered an MRI because he said I wouldn't be satisfied until he did. MRI will be of neck and lower spine. MRI might not be until 2/10/09. Neuro says not to go to a chiropractor.
1/16 - Saw Primary care doc and he finally ordered some blood tests - 7 vials to be exact. Urination freq has returned to normal and no more rectal incontenance (2 full days good). Pain in abdomen continues, eyes still water, and lightheadedness persist. It is basically day by day on how I feel. I feel like I can focus on any topic and still do my job as an engineer. I would like to get back to how I was on 1/22.
I am convinced I hurt my back it all seems just too coincidental not to be a causal realtionship. But, my PCM today said that was unlikely based on the variety of symptoms. What in the world could be going on then? I am a very healthy guy. No smoking, social drinker, but only 1 beer in past month, eat good, active duty military and exercise regularly. Anyone else been here and done that? Please make a post.
 2452bentley - Sun Jan 18, 2009 11:21 pm

I feel for you, I'm a 32 year old male. For over 2 weeks now, i've been experiencing facial numbness on the left side of my face, with nausea, diahrea, frequent urination,dizziness, it causes me to just not feel right at all. It started as a partial numbness in my tounge, and then it spread through my face, I thought I was having a stroke or heart attack, I did not feel right, I was confused, paniced and sick to my stomach, and my blood pressure was high. I went to bed, I urinated like 5 times during that night, and just felt totally drained the next day. I went to the doctor, and because my blood pressure has been high lately, and was very high when this happened, he put me on high blood pressure medication. My blood pressure is now down, and normal, but this problem is still there. It hapens mostly in the morning and in the evening. It will start with some sort of numbness in my left part of face, tounge, lip,nostril, ear, or cheek. Then I will get dizzy, and feel very strange, and uneasy, almost like a panic like I'm going to die. It has happened almost every day for over 2 weeks, and is affecting my life. I went back to the doctor and they did a bunch of blood work, and an MRI, the blood work has come back negative for anything unusual, and I have an appointment with a neuroligist on Tuesday 1/20/09 to go over MRI and what has been happening. I have started to take tylenol when I feel it coming on, and the last 3 or 4 days, I have been taking 2 tylenol every morning, once in the middle of the day ,and 2 in the evening, and it has lessened the effects. I still have the numbness and feel sick and off, but not the dizziness, and panic feeling. I am suspecting it is some kind of aurora migraine with no normal headache pain. I do feel a pressure in my head, and the dizzyness is sometimes like things are shaking or moving wierd if I'm staring at like a tv or computer screen. I feel stupid describing my symptons, the doctor even suggested, anxiety, and stress. I'm not stressed, my life is great, I'm not crazy, and not a hypocondriac. I don't like going to the doctor, and am normally active, happy and healthy. This is getting to really bother me and my family. I have gone to the chiropacter twice, and he thinks I have a pinched nerve, and has been adjusting my neck, he says he can fix it in a couple more visits, but im unsure. Even nervous that could earlier chiropractic visits have caused this, I went maybe a month before this all happened. I had a severe miraine back in 1993, I lost vision in one eye, and became so out of it, I couldnt spell my name, had light and dark confused, and couldnt remember or articulate that I was allergic to penicillin. I'm thinking this is a strange form of migraines, but can they go on for weeks like this , I hate taking medication, and am afraid the Nerologist will just put me on drugs. Keep me posted and I will do the same, I hope this gets resolved, I cant live like this .
 tonydutt - Fri Jan 23, 2009 11:58 am

So here is an update since my first post.
1/17-1/20 each of these night I woke up with my left forearm and hand more "asleep" feeeling than ever before in my life. I shook it breifly and it came right out of that "sleep" phase. I am trying not to sleep on my arm anymore.
I still have neck pain and lower back pain. The lower back pain is more predominant now. The neck pain is more of a stiffness and I can hear clicking- like sounds in my neck when I move my head toward the extreme of each direction and back again.
I received 4 of the 7 vials of blood tests back. All normal/negative.
Still have difficulty stopping a urine stream and I have to go all the time now. Although, in the night I am only going once - which is normal for me. My lower abdomen hurts on both sides. Like I have the flu or something, but, no other flu symptoms.
1/21 - No significant changes. Left hand and are "sleep" thing gone. But, I noticed a pain from my neck into my left arm, which is more like a dullness on a bone than something else. My appetite is still gone. I barely eat anything compared to what I used to ( 5'9" and 183 lbs).
1/22- I had to take a long business trip and fly about 5000 miles today. 2.5 weeks on the road. Lower abdomen still hurts. Appetite still gone - I feel full all the time. I have a weird sensation in my muscles like I would if I hadn't eaten in days. It is almost like a twitch, but very minor in amplitude. I feel a small pulsing sensation on the left of my lower abdomen too, larger in magnitude.
Vertigo like symptoms all but gone. It is a every now and then occurrence.
1/23 - I am one month into this today. all blood results back and normal or negative. I am convinced I have hurt my lower back and hurt my neck on a smaller scale. I think it is related to spinal comression from my fall on the steps 1 month ago. I would would really like to hear from anyone who hurt their back and experienced some weird symptoms like me. I am not totally out of the woods yet. Any of the doctors that monitor this forum your response would be gretly appreciated. BTW - these symtoms are not somatic in nature. I am just not that kind of guy. MRI scheduled for 2/12.
 tonydutt - Fri Jan 30, 2009 12:44 am

1/30/09: Update:
I have taken a long business trip to the other side of the world - literally I am 15 time zones ahead of EST right now. I left on 1/22.
My symptoms have evolved - I think - into something more defined than before and more consistent.
My neck and lower back still hurt.
Everyday, I have lightheadedness, some dizziness, and headache. I have started taking Meclazine and Ibruprofen to help. The pain is centered at the back of my head.
I have started having some pretty intense abdominal pain. An intense burning sensation right below my solar plexus. It is mostly on the left side, though, and it is on top of my abdminal muscle not below. Also, I have lower abdominal pain like a stomach bug. I always feel full and my stomach seems to be pushing out.
I seem to be retaining urine because I go all the time.
I am convinced my neurolist is not proficient at diagosing anything and am switching to someone with more experience. He still believes I am not really experiencing anything except symptoms my mind is making me feel. He won't even order an MRI of my brain until he analyzes the one of my back on 2/12. Should I demand he scan my brain for lesions now? Or wait until afterwards? I would just as soon have as much information up front as possible.

Anyone have any thoughts? I am starting to fear that I have MS. I really thought if it was my back/neck it would have started to subside by now. I am 5 weeks into these symptoms.

Any thoughts on how to get to the root of my symptoms quickly would be really appreciated.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Fri Jan 30, 2009 11:39 am

User avatar Hello -

My first impression is that your theory of spinal compression is probably correct, and may be what's known as a "double crush" injury, from the slip in the steps, causing a lower spine compression or perhaps only a strain in the local muscles, combined with an injury or compression to the disk at C7-T1. I'm unclear as to whether a cervical MRI has yet been done or not, but apparently one of the brain has not, which is also important in the event this is all just a coincidence and you're really developing symptoms of a central neurological disorder (such as MS). I'm disinclined toward the latter, however, for a lot of reasons, among them your continued visual acuity and lack of visual disturbances, plus the fact that the symptoms have remained fairly static over this time.

An evaluation of the cervical spine and the brain are going to be essential to narrowing the field on this. I don't for a moment believe this is psychosomatic in nature, as the whole thing doesn't fit, and the slight difficulty with urinary incontinence (or near-incontinence) would be consistent with cervical injury as well.

I'm going to be away over the weekend, but will try to follow this at my destination if possible. Please follow up with us as needed, and definitely push for the MRI to be done as soon as practical.

I hope this is helpful. Best of luck to you. I'll be checking back here as soon as I can.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Fri Jan 30, 2009 11:45 am

User avatar For 2452bentley:

The most likely cause for your symptoms would be your own guess of migraine aura without headache, or atypical migraine. This happens more often than generally realized, since it's so often unrecognized for what it is. Of course it could also be a problem with a cranial nerve (most probably the glossopharyngeal or trigeminal nerves), but these usually involve intense pain rather than numbness.

There is also the possibility this is the result of partial or focal seizures, and sometimes these and atypical migraine can overlap or really look almost identical.
Since you already have a history of migraine with somewhat similar symptoms, this seems a very likely extension of that problem.

There are neurological tests that can rule much of this out or in, but they have to be ordered. An EEG, MRI of the brain, and electronystagmogram would all be very helpful in sorting out the symptoms and developing a treatment plan.

I hope this is helpful to you. I'll be checking back in here over the weekend, so please do follow up with us as needed. Good luck to you.

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