Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Elk Grove, CA
Unexplained head/neck/body numbness w/loss of taste & smell
For the past six months, I have been experiencing symptoms of body numbness, that seem to me to have started in my neck, and since then has adversely affected my scalp, and face on the top side, and the left and right sides of my chin (in that half of my body is losing sensation), my entire left ear and surrounding area, and my hip to my leg. Down to my body, my left arm is numb on my forearm and on my ring and pinky fingers. The bulk of the numbness is on the left side of my neck, sternocleidomastoid muscle is very stiff and numb. I do exercises for my neck ever since this has been happening. This onset of numbness and pain in the areas that experience numbness are consistent with when I had a huge increase in the amount of stress. I have never managed stress well, so my body takes the brunt of it, even when my mind is handling it fine.
This all started six months ago when I had what appeared to be spider bites on my ankles. One day I was at work, and in the afternoon, I had this bug bite-looking mark on my leg, that was not a welt, did not protrude from the skin, did not itch; it just made my entire foot go numb around the area. This indicated to me that I was bit by a spider with some type of neurotoxin in the bite. Then, when I was driving home, I felt this sudden numbness in a different portion of the same leg involved, on my ankle. I literally felt the numbness start and spread. As I was driving, I looked down, and saw that I had two additional bright red marks, but no bugs could be seen. No protrusions, no itchiness, no pain. After calling the poison control people, they said it wasn't a bug bite. It was at this time that I noticed a consistency among these bites; they were all on top of a vein either on my ankle or on the top of my foot, and I have big ones that protrude.
Since the foot and toe and ankle numbness was still there the next day, I went to the doctor as I was worried about the numbness. Instead, they treated me for anxiety, did some blood tests, and called me the next day to say it wasn't a spider bite and that my blood results showed hyperthyroidism. This hyperthyroidism was confirmed the next day through another round of blood tests, and they explained that once my thyroid was under control, that that would make the numbness go away. This hyperthyroidism was diagnosed as being caused by graves disease, which runs on my mom's side of the family. At the time, they also prescribed atenolol for my fast beating heart. After a month or so of taking that, they took me off the atenolol because it was giving me bad sensations of my heart rate suddenly increasing and me getting incredibly hot and sweaty. I have taken nothing for the heart since then, and the only medicine I do take is methimazole.
It seems that right after I started taking the thyroid med, that's when I started getting problems in my neck. Before I get into my neck, I must note that I am 25 years old, 95 pounds (4'10"), generally healthy, was a premature baby by 3 months, lazy eye, have asthma, bad back (herniated l4/l5 disc), now have hyperthyroidism, and to compound this, I smoked for 7 years. I use the past tense because I quit smoking on December 23, in the hopes that something in me will feel better. Now that I have that out of the way, when I started taking the thyroid med, it was almost three days later that I felt something was sitting on top of my thyroid, like a light weight. After that, it felt like something is clinging onto the left side of my throat, onto my thyroid. When I breathe, I can feel the air moving past something in my neck, and I constantly worried and still worry that its’ going to swell my throat closed one day and won’t be able to breathe. The endocrinologist noted that my thyroid felt hard, and that that was interesting, was but nothing to worry about. So, I feel this thing sitting in my throat, that feels very similar to a "frog" in the throat, and then my neck went stiff and numb at the same time. Since then, that feeling has not gone away, and instead, has started to make portions of my head go numb. The most discomforting numbness, other than the neck which is very painful, is in my nose. This neck thing has been a problem since the beginning. I also get this bad taste in my mouth at odd intermittent intervals (I mention this because I did have a root canal as this was all happening as well-it was a pretty bad infection they said).
The foot numbness never went away on my right leg, and now my left leg is experiencing sever numbness. I can literally feel my toenails sitting on top of my big toes.
One other thing to note in all of this is is that I lost my sense of taste and smell, and every now and again I can get a glimpse of what something tastes like or smells like, and that's it. I have had an increase in food intake as a result of this inability to taste and smell, and still haven't gained any weight, not that it's crucial, but I thought gaining weight would make something inside me feel better, because at this point, my anxiety levels increased with the onset of pain and numbness throughout my body.
I went to the doctor's multiple times, predominantly focusing on seeing my endocrinologist because I felt that this was all thyroid related. It seemed to me that this started when I took those meds, so I went to the endocrinologist multiple times for numbness and this feeling of something stuck in my throat that was causing me discomfort and numbness and loss of taste/smell. Throughout the course of going in and out of the doctor's, I had a bout of bronchitis, that was corrected with antibiotics. I constantly feel this pressure in my head ever since this all started, and when I bend over, it take a milisecond to make me feel like my eyes are going to pop out. Instantaneously with seeing my endocrinologist, I saw my regular doctor, who equated this all to my lower back being out of whack. I doubted this theory the whole time, and one last time when I saw my endocrinologist, she put an order for me to see my regular doctor, about these issues I had been complaining about for four months. She included many notes about what I complained about for my doctor to consider, which was something that my regular doctor never really did, because I frequently came in with too many things happening all at once.
Not only what I have addressed thus far, but as this is all happening, my eyes are getting bad, when they use to be good. My left eye has amblyopia, and that has gotten worse since this all started, leaving me with my one good eye, but that good eye is starting to see things in a very dim light, and it's making me feel like I'm seeing things that aren't really there. My eyes feel numb also, but I have no problems opening or closing them. I have had a sensitivity to light these days, and blurred vision. I feel like a sheen of some sort is sitting on top of my eyes, and when I move forward, I can feel air brushing on top of whatever seems to be on my eye.
When I saw my regular doctor about this problem again, with the notes she had from my endocrinologist, she referred me to a neurologist. Before my doctor did that, she did a test for lyme disease and told me that my symptoms seem very much like MS. When she said that, I again explained to her the stress I went through, and said that couldn't it be possible this is all due to stress? She said she wanted to rule out other things before she made that diagnosis. At this time, MS and stress seem to be the possible culprits. Lyme test came back negative, though I am not sure which Lyme test they did.
Did a neck x-ray which came back normal, only with muscle spasm. While I don’t doubt the existence of muscle spasms, I disagree that that’s what’s ailing me. I think something is in my throat that is causing this, coupled with stress and that made everything worse and put me where I am today, health-wise.
When I met with the neurologist, he did the normal nerve tests, and they came out fine, and he then referred me to get an EEG done and a brain MRI. So, one day I was deprived of sleep and went through with an EEG, and then shortly thereafter, I had a brain MRI. The images from the brain MRI have been posted to the below IMG link (I hope it doesn’t get removed).
At this point, I will not know the results of the MRI or EEG until the 18th of this month. However, my neck is hurting worse despite my exercises, and my body is getting number. Now this is starting to affect the right side of my nose as well, so now my entire nose feels numb, in addition to the left sided body numbness I still have. Still can't taste or smell anything. At this point, I was going to wait until the 18th. However, that frog in the back of my throat is back, and every time I laugh, a snort comes out, so it's like whatever causes people to snore is severely inflamed.
With the information provided above, doctors have led me to worry about possible MS and seizures, and my theory is still stress. Has anyone had these symptoms before? Does it really sound like MS, does it sound like a root canal infection gone bad (despite the fact that I took antibiotics), or does it seems like stress exacerbated by anxiety? If any of this sounds familiar to you, what medicines do they give you for this? I repeatedly requested my regular doctor give me something for anxiety, but she won’t until my nerve issues are resolved (which is understandable); however, I am at a point now that I don’t want to feel these things anymore and would rather mask them to give the doctors time to come up with whatever diagnoses they will give m.
So that I can be better prepared with the proper questions when I see the neurologist next, can someone look at the MRI pics I posted onto the hosting website and tell me a general impression of any slightest abnormal findings that could possibly contribute to the sensations I am experiencing? Anyone that has had a brain MRI, I would imagine you could look at mine and tell me if you see any similarities. What about those little bright dots and black dots? Lesions? I have tried to do my own research on the matter, and it is inconclusive, hence I have gone to this forum for help.
This body and head numbness is beginning to adversely affect my performance at work. I am getting this confused. I can’t find the right words when I know what I’m trying to say, but I can’t get my mouth to verbalize the right word. When parts of my body aren't numb, they ache with pain, and if that's not the case, I have a feeling of a burning sensation throughout my body. It's quite uncomfortable. Then, only in my neck, I periodically get a “blood run cold” feeling in my neck and head, accompanied with terrible scalp pain that feels like a perpetual hair ache.
I am just seeking a little comfort to know that my brain looks fine, or whether there's something there that seems like it might lead to the feelings I have been having for six months. I have my appointment, but I need a little support from anyone that has gone through something similar. What were the end results with their situation?
I fully understand that for whomever responds to this post, if I am so lucky, then I Know that it is for informational purposes only, and in no way constitutes the advice of a doctor, and will certainly in no way supercede the information that will be provided by the neurologist when I seem him next on the 18th. I am just in need of some input into this matter, as I can't keep going to the doctor every time something gets worse. I already went past my limits last year, so I am trying to avoid that by doing whatever research I can, so I can be better informed.
I hope I haven't been too all over the place, and I will be happy to answer any questions anyone might have regarding this issue.
P.S.: Could anxiety cause this as well?
Last edited by moderator2; 01-07-2010 at 09:46 PM.
Reason: please do not post pictures - as per the posting policy