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  • What Could This Be? Tinnitus, brain zaps, tingling, twitching. Please Help.

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    Old 01-29-2008, 01:39 AM   #1
    ShadowRider540's Avatar
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    ShadowRider540 HB User
    What Could This Be? Tinnitus, brain zaps, tingling, twitching. Please Help.

    I'm a 31 year old male that's been having some really strange symptoms for about a month. I'm really worried about it and am hoping some of you people can help me figure it out. This will probably be long, but if you have any ideas or think you can help then please read this and tell me your ideas.

    First let me rewind a little. I started having panic attacks in my mid to late teens. By my early twenties they had finally resolved themselves and I quit having them. Then about 3 years ago out of the blue I started having massive panic again that was much worse than in my teens. In addition, when the panic returned I also had a major state of anxiety 24/7. After 3 visits to the ER because I was convinced I couldn't breathe and was dying the doctor finally gave me a perscription for a few ativans. These really helped and after a month or so the anxiety and panic attacks disappeared again.

    Since my anxiety and panic went away again three years ago I've had small panic attacks but nothing I couldn't deal with. And when I did have one it was very rare. But then about a month ago I was sitting at the computer and out of the blue I had some sort of brain zap episode. I didn't know what to call it at first but after some digging on the Internet, a brain zap similar to what someone who is quitting antidepressants feels is the closest thing I've found that describes it (I've never taken any sort of antidepressants BTW). When I've had anxiety and panic in the past I've never experienced any of these strange zaps, but right around the time these things started back up I've noticed a definite elevation in my anxiety level. I don't know if the zaps are because of anxiety and just a new anxiety symptom, or if the zaps brought on the anxiety. Sort of a chicken or egg question if you will.

    For me, these "zaps" are a mixture of the feeling you get when someone startles you and a sensation of falling. It sort of feels like electricity running through my head and down my spine. Also, I don't know if the adrenaline rush is part of what's going on or a result of it, but when I have a big zap I usually get a big surge of it.

    I usually have these zaps several times a day, but at least once a day I have a really big one and a couple of times it seemed like my vision went blurry. When these things happen they're less than a second long but they're VERY disturbing to me.

    Also right around the time I started getting these zaps I started getting a ringing in my right ear. By ringing I mean a high pitched squeal. Sometimes it's worse than others but it's been there for several weeks now.

    And finally, I've been having tingling, muscle twitches and frequent headaches. The tingling is usually mild and in my scalp and/or face. I've also gotten the tingling in my arms and legs but it's mainly in my scalp and on the sides of my face in the cheek area. As I said, it's mild, and only lasts for a few seconds but I've never experienced it before.

    As far as the muscle twitching, whenever my anxiety has gotten bad my muscles twitch so I assume that the twitching is from good old anxiety. Usually it's my calf, upper thigh, or bicep that twitches.

    Headache wise, for years I've gotten the occasional tension headache on the right side of my head. The pain usually runs from my neck at the back of my head to my right eye. And while I've been getting a few more of these than usual (which I assume is from all the stressing about my other symptoms), I've also been getting headaches in my forehead that can get pretty bad sometimes. The forehead headaches are new and something I've never really gotten before so that's why I'm mentioning it.

    So what have I done about all this? Well, first of all I live in the good old US of A and have zero health insurance. And since my wife and I don't have much extra money these days I ended up going to the health department about 2 weeks ago where I was seen by a nurse and only a nurse. I explained what was going on and when I told her about the headaches in my forehead she said "sounds like sinuses" and told me to take some Claratin. When I told her about my other symptoms and how much they concerned me I got the vibe that she had no clue of what my problem was and said "I wouldn't worry about it". She looked in my ears and said they looked okay and that it's not an ear problem.

    The health department did send me for some blood work to check my cholesterol, thyroid and electrolytes and it all came back good but I think the nurse only did that because she didn't know what else to do. They also checked my blood sugar which was good. My blood pressure was a bit on the high side at 140/90 but I'm a little overweight and smoke so that's probably why. She wanted to put me on blood pressure pills but I said no way and have since started a diet, cut my smoking in half, and been walking on the treadmill for at least 45 minutes a day. If my BP doesn't come down in a month or two I might consider a very low dose, but at this point I don't think it's necessary.

    So basically the health department told me zero. Even though I don't have allergies and I'm not congested I took the claritin for a few days anyway but of course it didn't help.

    At that point I just said to myself "maybe it'll all go away soon", but it hasn't. As my concern continued to mount I scraped up some money and went to see a "real" doctor. I've never really had a family doctor and the doctor my dad sees isn't accepting new patients so I just found a General Practitioner out of the phone book that was close to my house and made an appointment.

    My appointment was for early the next day and because my wife and I both work second shift we're usually up late and sleep until around noon. I could have waited a day or two and gotten a later appointment but I wanted to get a second opinion ASAP. So as a result, I only got about 4 hours sleep the night before my appointment.

    When I got to the doctor the nurse took me back and took my vitals before the doctor saw me. I don't know if the nurse just didn't know what she was doing or what but when she weighed me she came up with a number that's about 40 pounds lighter than what I usually weigh. The scale was one of those sliding type and I didn't pay attention to see if the thing was balanced when she came up with her number and I just let it go. Maybe the scale was broken or she just screwed up who knows. So then she took my blood pressure and told me it was 145/100. Maybe my BP was high because of stress and lack of sleep, but based on the fact that my weight was so out of whack, I think maybe she took it wrong (at least I hope so).

    The doctor then comes in and I tell him whats been going on and he looks in my ears and says they're ok. Then he says I'm going to refer you to a neurologist. Up until this point I've been worried about a brain tumor and the word neurologist only compounded my fears. He wrote me a perscription for some BP medicine but I don't plan on taking it. I think the nurse just had her numbers messed up. I should have had him take it again or he should have had common sense to take it again but he didn't and I didn't mention it because after hearing neurologist, I just kept thinking brain tumor. I didn't even bother to ask the doctor what he thought might be going on because my mind was racing so fast and I was so worried.

    So they refer me to a neurologist but again I have no insurance. The neurologist said they accept payment plans after the inital visit but you have to pay for the inital visit in full which is 300 dollars and I simply don't have the money to go. They'll probably want to do an MRI and god knows what else and I'd be in debt for 100 years.

    So here I am. I still have no clue of whats going on and I'm still getting all these symptoms. If it wasn't for the brain zap/pass out feeling I might not be so worried about it, but when I get that weird zap feeling its VERY disturbing. Based on my symptoms and what I've been able to dig up, the worst case scenario is a brain tumor, multiple sclerosis, or some type of seizures. Even though my ears looked good on both occasions, there's a possiblity that it could be my ears. I suppose there's a possibility that it's anxiety but my gut tells me it isn't. I suppose another possibility is my blood pressure but I don't know. If it is my BP, my only explanation is that I'm on the verge of a stroke or that I'm having TIA's (mini strokes). My total cholesterol was only 190 though and I thought that high cholesterol was the main cause of strokes and heart attacks. I know 190 isn't the best but it isn't terrible either. My good cholesterol was a little low and in the high 30's but I don't think 190 is all that bad in the overall scope of things.

    It might also be worth noting that about 4 years ago I began having heart palpitations. I had an ECG, stress test and was seen by a cardiologist and was told that I have mitral valve prolapse which from what I understand is pretty common. I was told not to worry about it and that I should quit smoking and lose some weight (which I'm just now getting around to). Maybe this is cardiac related. At this point I don't have any answers and I'm sick to death of worrying.

    I go back to the health department in about 3 more weeks so that she can check my BP again. I plan to stick to my diet be off of cigarettes by then and keep up my walking program so hopefully my BP will be better. If it's not I'll probably go on some BP medicine. At this point though, brain tumor or not, I'm gonna get in shape once and for all. If things havent gotten any better hopefully I can tell them at the health department that I went to see a private doctor and he reccomended a neurologist. Maybe then they'll refer me. Back several years ago when I started getting the palpitations I went to the health department and they referred me to a the cardiologist.

    Another alternative that I've thought about is going to the ER and telling them what's been going on. Hopefully they'd get to the bottom of it but I figure they'd see I don't have insurance, tell me it's anxiety and send me out the door. If something doesn't pan out soon though I guess I'll have no choice.

    I know that if I'd made some better choices when I was younger I'd have more money and health insurance right now, but I didn't and I don't and that's all there is to it. I just hope that I can get some answers soon because this really sucks.

    I guess that's about it. Thanks for reading. Any ideas or comments welcomed. Thanks.

    Last edited by ShadowRider540; 01-29-2008 at 01:52 AM.

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    Old 01-29-2008, 05:30 AM   #2
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    Re: What Could This Be? Tinnitus, brain zaps, tingling, twitching. Please Help.

    Hi! Sorry you're going through all this.

    My first thought would be thyroid. Get a copy of your tests and post them on the thyroid board on this forum. There are people on that board who are better than most drs at interpreting thyroid test results.

    My second thought would be Lyme. There's a LOT of lyme in Va. The drs will probably want to run an ELISA test. This test has close to a 75% false negative rate for people who have long-term lyme infections. Insist on western blot testing. While no test for lyme is perfect or accurate at this point, its the best there is right now. Igenex is said to be the most accurate lab to run lyme testing and you can order only the tests you need. The IgG and IgM western blots run about $95 each. Heckuva lot cheaper than the neurologist and it might just give you an answer. You'll still need to find a dr to order the blood testing for Igenex. You might also consider posting over at the Lyme board on this forum. Folks there have more info than I do on it and might be able to give you more insight on this.

    Good luck and please keep us posted.

    Old 01-29-2008, 07:34 AM   #3
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    itburns2004 HB Useritburns2004 HB Useritburns2004 HB Useritburns2004 HB Useritburns2004 HB Useritburns2004 HB Useritburns2004 HB Useritburns2004 HB User
    Re: What Could This Be? Tinnitus, brain zaps, tingling, twitching. Please Help.

    It really still sounds like anxiety. Also, nutrition deficit. Your nerves seem shot and your adrenal glands are probably exhausted. Enymatic therapies makes a really good energy booster vitamin drink ( packed with vitamins and minerals!!!-my doctor recommended it-it tastes like a smoothie). I would definetly suppliment. In a perfect world you would get a brain mri, but you noted insurance. I would absolutly request a FULL blood work and a chem scan (it does minerals in your body) also have them do a b12 blood test and hormone tests (all blood). All the tests would be to tell you were you stand. It really, really sounds like GAD (general anxiety disorder mixed with vitamin deficencies from massive self induced stress).Please do not shrug off the enzymatic drink, your body needs the resources to pull from to supply your muscles and nerves with what they need to heal. Ringing in the ears is unbelievablyyy common and has sooooo many causes. Your startle reflex is sensitized-wowowow sounds soooooooo much like anxiety. Good luck and I wish you well.

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    Old 02-02-2008, 03:36 PM   #4
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    leopard HB User
    Re: What Could This Be? Tinnitus, brain zaps, tingling, twitching. Please Help.

    I have had MS for 20 years. The only symptom similar to yours that I have experienced is the feeling of electricity going through my scalp, almost as if my hair was standing up You can go to the drug store and get your blood pressure checked. There is a machine in almost all of them. I think you need to get on Medicaid and get some finicial help. The hospitals can be helpful in sending you to the right place to get free Medical Care. There are free clinics in most cities. Good luck

    Old 02-04-2008, 02:48 PM   #5
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    Re: What Could This Be? Tinnitus, brain zaps, tingling, twitching. Please Help.

    please read about what benzodiazapines can do as far as brain zaps, muscle problems etc. it could be you are having a rebound effect to these drugs. I was convinced I had ms. If you decide to get off of the drug, PLEASE taper slowly. I know how scary and perplexing these symptoms are. Mine are gone after getting off. there are great web sites that explain this. ****** benzo

    Old 02-14-2008, 09:58 PM   #6
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    Re: What Could This Be? Tinnitus, brain zaps, tingling, twitching. Please Help.

    Hi shadow, when was your last dose of Ativan? For a fact, Ativan will do that and it can be within a couple days or even weeks, i experienced the same threw my experience with ativan, when i got the brain zaps i would of bet my life that i had a brain tumor, well, i went for a cat-scan after a bout of zaps and nothing, but just get checked if your not comfy

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