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  • Cervical Spine

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    Old 09-03-2014, 02:34 PM   #1
    MJB12345
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    Cervical Spine

    Hello All,

    I am a 21 year old healthy active male. Over the past two months my life makes me sound more like an 80 year old. For about a month I was experiencing a persistent dizziness accompanied by strange sensations that the left and right sides of my body are off balance. I experienced some strange visual disturbances (blurriness, shaking) on and off too. The dizziness has been very debilitating and made me move back to my parents house. When this all started I was taking no medication. Two weeks in I went to my neuro and he said it was anxiety but ordered a brain MRI anyway. MRI showed two brain lesions but they were not active and were nothing to really worry about. I thought it may have been an inner ear thing and I got that tested it all came back normal.

    For two weeks symptoms were still there but they werent as strong anymore. I was working and living my life as normally as possible. Then at the end of the two weeks I started to experience a burning and tingling sensation in my arms. The next day it had spread down to my legs and the day after up to my face and neck. The sensations are focused on my left side. I no longer feel burning anymore but I do feel that I have lost a percentage of sensation on my arms legs hands feet neck face and in weird places like the inside of my ear. When I do things like open up a water bottle and exert pressure on my fingers the feeling lingers for a minute.

    The neuro ordered an MRI of my C Spine a new Brain MRI and a Spinal Tap. I am now waiting for the results of these two tests. My physical neurological tests were good besides that I had hyper-reflexia. I notice in my arms and hands from time to time that the muscles seem to be tremoring or are hyper and when I walk down stairs I feel the internal tremoring in my knees.

    This week I have also noticed my vision has been off. I seem to be experiencing palinopsia which is when you see an after image of light on almost every surface you look at whether its a bright light or just something as dim as your hand in a dark room. I was on and off a low dose beta blocker and before the symptoms started was taking diazepam every day. Would this have affected my vision? Ive noticed it get worse simce Ive been off the meds.

    Throughout all of this Ive had weird fatique spells sometimes even upon waking up in the morning.

    Also through the past year about once a month I would get this strange sensation that my calf was tremoring internally. When the burning was at its worst I felt the sensation every day. Now it is more on and off.

    Does anyone have a clue about what might be going on or can anyone relate. I am suprised that I am still alive after all this and really need to hear about a similar experience for my own sanity.

    Thank You,
    Michael

    Last edited by MJB12345; 09-03-2014 at 02:38 PM.

     
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    Old 09-03-2014, 03:44 PM   #2
    teteri66
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    Re: Cervical Spine

    Welcome to the board. I wonder if your neurologist tested for multiple sclerosis?

     
    Old 09-03-2014, 04:35 PM   #3
    ChuckStr
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    Re: Cervical Spine

    Hi Michael,

    How long were you taking diazepam? That, and to a greater extent withdrawal from diazepam, can cause many of the symptoms you are experiencing. Symptoms tend to dissipate after a time dependent on the dosage and length of exposure. You may want to discuss that with the prescribing physician.

    I assume that your neuro was looking to rule out MS with the brain MRI and then the spinal tap. The lesions not being active on MRI just means they didn't get brighter with the addition of contrast, indicating that if you did have ms, there are no new lesions actively causing symptoms. Did the neuro mention anything about monitoring for additional lesions over time? You are starting into the age range where MS is generally diagnosed, but there are many explanations for long-standing white matter lesions including past trauma and migraines. You should have some more good info to discuss with your neuro once your other tests come in. You also may want to make your neuro aware of the diazepam usage I they dont know.

    Let us know how it goes and good luck...

     
    Old 09-04-2014, 08:14 AM   #4
    MJB12345
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    Re: Cervical Spine

    Hi Chuck,

    Thank you for the reply.I was only taking the diazepam for a week once or twice a day. Its a panic attack drug. The Neuro actually prescribed it to me when I first went to see him.

    Im just nervous because I've been having symptoms for two months and now the tingling and loss of sensation has spread to my other side. I thought MS and spinal cord issues were more isolated and didn't last as long at the beginning of the onset. He hasnt really said much about monitoring the lesions over time although I did get a new MRI done that he will be reviewing.

    What has your experience with ms or cervical spine issues been like?

    -Thanks

     
    Old 09-05-2014, 08:24 PM   #5
    ChuckStr
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    Re: Cervical Spine

    Yes, diazepam is a member of a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines. It does seem unlikely that such short exposure would cause problems. A search for "benzodiazepine withdrawal" will show how serious that can be.

    I had an MS scare a few years ago when a brain MRI turned up some white matter lesions. At least one was periventricular as well which is a stronger indicator for MS. I also had some MS-like symptoms like numbness and tingling so I went to see an MS specialist neuro who was fantastic. She had an MRI of my spine done as well and basically said that since the clinical and MRI pictures weren't really indicative of MS that we should watch the lesions. I've had yearly MRIs since with no change. The neuro believes that the lesions are due to chronic high blood pressure or possibly previous trauma (I've had a couple of concussions).

    I've had c-spine issues for at least the last 7 years. I've had pinched nerve type symptoms (numbness, tingling, pain) on and off, always helped by PT. Then about 6 months ago I had incredible pain radiating into my left arm which developed significant weakness and atrophy as well. That was pretty scary. MRI shows some spinal cord compression and severe foraminal narrowing at C4-c6. After going to 5 surgeons and 3 neuros, I decided on aggressive PT/traction etc. The pain resolved in 3 weeks or so and I now have about 90% of my strength back.

    I've done extensive research on all of these things and have quizzed all of the Drs as much as I can. So, I'm not a Dr but I know a bit about these topics.

    Spinal issues can be progressive (like moving to both sides of your body) especially in the case of myelopathy due to spinal cord compression. You should be able to get a good idea of the extent of this, if any from your c-spine MRI. Most typically c-spine issues are progressive over a longer period of time, and commonly follow a more symptomatic/less symptomatic cycle.

    MS presents in a variety of ways but the most common does include visual disturbances often as side effects of optic neuritis, as well as bilateral weakness and/or sensory disturbances (numbness, tingling, burning etc) and muscle tremor (myokymia). Often the symptoms come on over a few days to a few weeks and may persist for weeks to months. There are many variations that require a neuro experience with MS to sort through and correlate with the MRI and spinal tap results. Often there needs to be clear progression (additional lesions on MRI, enhancing lesions etc) or clear evidence on both MRI and spinal tap correlated with symptoms.

    One other thing I thought of is Lyme's disease. If you'd had any significant outdoor exposure I would discuss this possibility with your neuro. The movement of the sensory symptoms into your face is reminiscent of Lyme's.

    It seems like you'll have lots to discuss with your neuro at your next appointment. If you're having trouble getting a diagnosis, perhaps a second opinion with an MS specialist neuro would be valuable. MS is a difficult diagnosis to make as it's a diagnosis of exclusion.

    Good luck and let us know how you get on...

     
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    burning, cervical spine, dizziness, loss of sensation



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