Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

Lots of Scary Symptoms

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 6 Replies
  • Posted By: seedtime
  • October 31, 2006
  • 04:28 PM

Right now my wife and I are pretty scared about what is happening to my body. We really do not have any answers at this point. Supposedly we have ruled out MS with the MRI but my symptoms seem to much in line with MS to not be it. I posted the below before but never got any responses, I would really appreciate any insight that anyone would have.

Okay, so my medical history is pretty irremarkable up until feburary of last year when I had an apendectimy.

After about a month after my apenedectimy I my left arm started going numb. I went to my PCP, he did an MRI of the C-Spine (without contrast) and it came back normal. At that point he reffered me to a sports medicine doctor and he did an EMG, which came back normal with the exception of some slowing of the ulnar nerve through the cubital tunnel. At this point he told me it was probably just reffered pain and sent me to physical therapy. I went to all my apointments and my pain just kept getting worse. THe numbness was now pain. The PT kept evaluating me for TOS and treating me as though I had it.

After PT I kept up with the exercises and did them regurlary up until about two months ago when my arm was in constant aching / buring pain. At this point I called my PCP back up and made an appointment. He reffered me to a vascular surgeon to rule out TOS.

Before I had the appointment I had severe chest pain, burning from the chest up through the neck, and made a trip to the ER to rule out anything lifre threatening. The checked me out for an aortic dissection by giving me a CT and they found nothing. The wednesday after this I had a bout of hazy vision lasting about 5 hours. I called my PCP and we both thought that this symotom seemed more like a neurologic issue, such as MS. He scheduled me for a Brain MRI with contrast, I went and got the MRI and during this the Radiologist elected not to use contrast because he felt that is was not nessecary since he did not see anything without it. The MRI of the Brain came back normal.

Since then I have an appointment with a neurologist but I have no idea what is going on with my body. I am not convinced that a brain MRI without contrast will show MS. Although my doctor and the radiologist both seem to think so.

Since then the symotoms continue to get worse, the new thing I noticed today is that when I wash my hands with hot water my entire arm aches along with my neck and head. All on the left side.

I also get left side facial numbness and lightheadness.

If anyone has any idea I would be ever so grateful.

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6 Replies:

  • You don't mention your age, Are you in your 40's or older? The 'crucial' elements You seem to be describing appear to be Transient Ischaemic Attacks (Called TIA's) (occasional numbness on one side etc.) It's down to the blood supply to your brain being temporarily interrupted, even if observed by a clinician as it happens, it's notoriously difficult to diagnose the cause!I would suggest you speak to your MD about the possibility of TIA's and ask if an INR test to calculate your pro thrombo time may be suggested? A course of anticoagulant treatment (using Coumadin/Warfarin) may be a possible solution? I don't see anything in your description to suggest a serious neurological problem? Left untreated, TIA's (which are actually mini-strokes) can cause greater problems including a full-blown stroke (CVA) or even pulmonary embolism! A 3 - 6 month course (or even life-long treatment) with Coumadin (and the obligatory weekly INR blood tests that accompany it) seem to be the obvious solution!! It may also be useful to suggest to your MD that an ultra-sound scan be considered in case you have a DVT present? (Deep Vein Thrombosis) I'm pretty confident of this diagnosis based on the symptoms you describe!
    WelshDoc 6 Replies
    • October 31, 2006
    • 06:30 PM
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  • Sorry, I should have mentioned that, I just turned 30. The Doctor thinks that TIA's are unlikely due to the fact it constantly effects the same area. In his thinking if it was a TIA then I would not have constant pain in the same area. This has been on-going for 8 months now.I am in constant pain in my left arm (along with my neck, back, and chest). I am also lightheaded a lot of the time. My arm only occasionally goes numb. It seems that if it were a TIA the pain would go away. Is my thinking incorrect? The more interesting development is that when I take a hot shower or put my hand in hot water (such as washing hands) the pain in my arm neck and back all increase.
    seedtime 14 Replies
    • October 31, 2006
    • 06:48 PM
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  • Sorry I just turned 30. The Doctor thinks that TIA's are unlikely due to the fact it constantly effects the same area. This has been on-going for 8 months now. For that reason alone, I would strongly suspect TIA's!! Insist on the pro-thrombin test!! Meantime, a baby coated-aspirin (3mg) wouldn't go amiss either! (Not before any blood-tests though!!) I am in constant pain in my left arm and it occasionally goes numb. It seems that if it were a TIA the pain would go away. Is my thinking incorrect? The more interesting development is that when I take a hot shower the pain in my arm neck and back all increase. Again, a seeming 'pointer' to the possible location of a DVT (any Oedema in the left leg by the way?) Does the skin 'redden' etc. when hot water from the shower is on it? (Numbness often exacerbates the heat!!) Insist that your MD eliminates DVT and/or artery compression and subsequent TIA's primarily, if anticoagulant treatment eliminates the symptoms even temporarily then you are on the right track? Ask if an INR range of 2 - 2.5 is appropriate for the pro-thrombin treatment! The pain will persist until the INR-level is increased by the way? (It's usual to suffer non-specific pain in the limb - it can be very painful too!!)
    WelshDoc 6 Replies
    • October 31, 2006
    • 07:00 PM
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  • First off thanks for your replies, I read up on DVT's and they usually effect the legs. And my pain is specific to the Arm, neck, face no pain whatsoever in the legs. The skin does not redden much. The odd thing is I can duplicate the pain in the shower but just placing my hand in hot water. I did go see a vascual surgeon to eliminate TOS, and he thought that my symptoms were much more consistent with a neurologic problem. No swelling in the leg. I will call my doctor and ask him for those tests and see where we go. For that reason alone, I would strongly suspect TIA's!! Insist on the pro-thrombin test!! Meantime, a baby coated-aspirin (3mg) wouldn't go amiss either! (Not before any blood-tests though!!) Again, a seeming 'pointer' to the possible location of a DVT (any Oedema in the left leg by the way?) Does the skin 'redden' etc. when hot water from the shower is on it? (Numbness often exacerbates the heat!!) Insist that your MD eliminates DVT and/or artery compression and subsequent TIA's primarily, if anticoagulant treatment eliminates the symptoms even temporarily then you are on the right track? Ask if an INR range of 2 - 2.5 is appropriate for the pro-thrombin treatment! The pain will persist until the INR-level is increased by the way? (It's usual to suffer non-specific pain in the limb - it can be very painful too!!)
    seedtime 14 Replies
    • October 31, 2006
    • 07:38 PM
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  • Have you ever thought of an emotional trigger to your problems? I am 28years old and have been having scary symptoms almost to the same degree that you have been having. I have been to several emergency room trips, and many different blood tests. I also had ecg's done on my upper and lower body, specifically the arms and legs and found that my nerves are actually very normal. I then went to a "mind-body" doctor in the nearby city after reading his book entitled "Doctor what's wrong with me?" by Dr.Shanduil Islam. This is not some weird type a holistic doctor either. He has degrees and worked at Harvard and Vanderbuilt Hospital and University for over 20 years. He is also a Colonel in the US Navy Reserves. ( A very smart man in my opinion). Anyways, I was diagnosed with GAD, General Anxiety disorder. After changing my diet, getting more exercise and going on a very low dose of anit-anxiety med for a short while I am much better. Some of the physical symptoms are still hanging around, but in time I believe they will go away, along with my doctor. If anything I would suggest at least reading his book, or talking with your doctor about possible anxiety, even if you don't feel it mentally, it can be masked by only physical symptoms. Sometimes depression can do the same things. The mind is very powerful when it comes to your body's health, stress, and anxiety in general can do many weird things to you. Sometimes they are not always found with "test". I say this out of experience, it's worth a try.
    zionlion 8 Replies
    • November 1, 2006
    • 01:59 AM
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  • My life has been stressfull lately and I have brought the subject of anxiety up to my doctor. The question is, is my anxiety related to not knowing what I have or is it the causation of the pain?Lately I have been not able to sleep at night so my doctor prescribed me ambien which seems to help. He also gave me a prescription for Xanax which I am not sure is helping at all.The only thing that makes me think that this is not GAD is the fact that i can execerbate the pain by putting my hand it hot water or a couple other things also execerbate the pain.I will ask my doctor about GAD thanks!
    seedtime 14 Replies
    • November 1, 2006
    • 02:26 PM
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