Re: Pinched Nerve & Numbness on head/arms/legs help with advice please
HI Jenny, Sorry you haven't gotten the reposnes you may have been looking for. Part of the problem is the widespread area of numbness that's a bit confusing. Numbness of the face arm , hand and shooulder can be caused by nerve or spinal cord impingement in the cervical area. My wife experienced similar symptoms, Headaches, numb face, teeth and toungue after a car accident and they found she had brain deformity where the the brainstem grows down at the base of the skull and prevents the flow of spinal fluid, This was probably exaserbated by whiplash. The problem is called Chari malformation and doesn't usually present in women untill their 3rd or 4th decade.
IF you research it you can scare the crud out of yourself, so don't self DX. Follow up and get MRI's and CT scans that can DX this and any nerve or spinal cord impingement caused by degenerative discs disease, bulging or protucing discs, compresion fractures of the spine if you have Osteo perosis or any other problem. By the way, My wife didn't need the terribly invasive brain surgery for Chiari even though we went through about 4 months of seizures and abscant seizures. Very scarry when you talking about your brain but don't rush to any conclusion or decisions. The head, face and mouth numbing was improved greatly by a serries of epidural steroid injections at cervical levels. She also had botox and greater occiptal nerve blocks done at cervical levels and the shoulders and base of her head. The numb face and toungue was the most concerning or hardest to ignore but was resolved by these procedure.
Surgery for Chiari is a last step and doesn't gaurentee relief of all symptoms.So I wouldn't even start worrying about t ununlesss your diagnosed with it, via CT.
Where it gets confusing is the lower part of your body, a disc pressing on a nerve in your neck won't cause leg problems, but a cord compresssion can. So you really need your entire spine looked at. I would see a Neurosurgeon, not an ortho for proper DX and testing.
They can also do EMG's, Nerve conduction studies to varify the symtoms or isolate the cause of the numbeness and the nerves involved. With symptoms as wide spread if your getting the run around you have to be insistant and not let docs dismiss you untill you have had all these tests and all the posibilities have been ruled out, or confirmed.
Standard treatment for neuropothy is usally antiseizure meds and or antidepressants, Cymbalta an antiD is the only anti D actually aproved for the treatment of nueropathic pain but many other antiD's are used too. They simply haven't done the clinical trials and sought FDA aproval for the frequent off label use of this class of meds,"AntiD's."
Some of the anti seizure meds are also aproved to treat migraines and chronic daily headaches, particularly Topamax but neurontin, lamyctal and several other antiseizure meds are commonly used for chronic pain and neuralgias.
The complexty of your symptoms can through the average doc for a loop. I try not to swamp my GP with more than one or two complaints or he seems to become lost and doesn't know where to begin or even how to address a miriad of symptoms, But a good Neurlogist or neurosurgeon won't be intimadated by extensive symptoms and can likely link them or isolate them.
IF you hav e DDD at many levels you may have compression or impingments at those same levels giveing you so many symptoms. But you have to be your own advocate and not wait untill you find you can't get out of bed to start demanding the diagnostics and referrals.
The chiari is just a shot in the dark because the symnptoms sound familiar, but if you self DX you can really confuse things and subconsciously develop some of the symptoms to match your own self diagnosis, let a doc do the DXing and find the root of the problem. Things aren't as scarry once you know why things are happening and the why can be found with the right diagnostic tests but can't be determined by a simple physical exam that you may have gotten at the ER. What was gained by the ER trip if they didn't do any diagnostics, ie MRI and CT?
You need to have these done if the symptoms are that dramatic and severe and they need to be done by a neurologist or neuro surgeon that can read and interpret tests themselves. IF a GP orders them and relies on the radiologist report, things get missed. I've broken two sets of harware where both the radiologist and the GP missed it. Surgeons generally read and interpret diagnostics themself and file radiologist reports in the round flile.
Good luck and keep us posted.
Take care, Dave