Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

What in the world could be wrong in my neck?

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 3 Replies
  • Posted By: karljv
  • December 4, 2008
  • 00:26 AM

I am a 47 year old male. I am suffering from what appears to be a problem in the top of my neck. I've had several MRIs (two 25 years ago and two recently, one each of the brain and neck). I've also had ENT tests, EEG, x-rays, etc. I've seen a lot of doctors of various specialties and most have been very sympathetic but haven't found the cause of my problems.

I have constant problems with "lurching" where I feel like I'm falling to one side or the other but I don't actually fall. I get periodic attacks that feel like my head and ears are inside a box but I can hear and talk just fine but I feel like something is disconnected in my head.

I also have ringing in my ears, occasional episodes where I get flush and and then it dissipates. I feel better sitting than standing. When standing or walking I have trouble with my balance. I have to work hard with my feet to keep things going properly. Talking will tend to bring on my symptoms.

This all started 25 years ago when doing bench presses. I felt woozy and stopped and felt like I was in a fog the rest of the night. The next day I kept having those "lurching" feelings like I was falling. Eventually these symptoms subsided and I continued working out. After a while they came back and got worse and I stopped working out. However the sysmptoms did not go away this time, they kept getting worse until I couldn't work.

So I was off work for a couple years and went back into the job market working on computers, which was a lot less physical and stressful than my last job. For 20+ years my symptoms were lessened and manageable and I was OK with my limitations, which sometimes weren't all that bad.

But the symptoms are back and harshly so. Since July 2008 I've been having them a lot and I can't seem to shake them. Only resting on my one side or the other lessens the symptoms. Too much walking or standing or lifting, etc. makes them worse. Any pressure to the back of my head exacerbates the problem. I think I might have helped kick this off by holding my camera gear out in front of my during a session for too long (it was heavy, around 12 pounds). It was that night that I got a severe reaction which bad imbalance and my other typical issues.

There's more to this story which I can speak of in followup email, in order to keep this from getting too long.

I really want to find out what is wrong. Is this congentital perhaps and the exercise just bothered something already there? I've had two surgeries in the past (Paten Ductus heard surgery) and jaw surgery which re-constructed my face to eliminate a severe underbite. I have a right-sided head tilt (scoliosis?). The MRIs apparently haven't shown much of interest to the Neurologist and Neurosurgeon I consultere here locally.

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  • Sad story. Just a few questions:Thinking about your imbalance problem, have u got your ears checked?Did u have a lumbar puncture?Do u have headaches?If u stand up and bend forward to put your head down, does it help?Can your head move in every directions without trouble?You say your head is tilted, are the muscles in your neck ok?You say that when you press behind your head, it makes you feel bad. Can you elaborate about that? What do you do to press it? Where more precisely? What happens?Do u have sensory problem like numbness or tingling, from time to time?Do u have electric like shock in your back or elsewhere?Do u have vision problem?Do u have nausea?Did u ever lost consciousness? Black out?What about the flushings, can u elaborate? Feeling hot? Cold? Sweating? Redness? Everywhere in your body? Upper part only? Hands? Feet?What do the neurologists say?The otolaryngologists?Which other specialists have u consulted?I know u talked about that in your message, but may be you have something more to say about the following questions:What helps to alleviate your symptoms?What makes them worst?Do u feel pain? When? Where? Does the food you eat matters?Does alcohol help or aggravate the problem?Anything else you think should be said?Sorry for so many questions. Bye for now,Frederick
    frederickjeanguerin 1 Replies
    • December 5, 2008
    • 04:34 AM
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  • Has anyone thought about Meniere's Disease? Try here: http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/balance/meniere.asp
    aquila 1263 Replies
    • December 5, 2008
    • 05:16 PM
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  • I'll reply to each question indidivually: q. Thinking about your imbalance problem, have u got your ears checked? a. Yes, it doesn't seem to be an ear problem and from all I have learned I don't think the source is my ears either. q. Did u have a lumbar puncture? a. No, never. q. Do u have headaches? a. Almost never. Even when I'm feeling extremely poor I do not get headaches. q. If u stand up and bend forward to put your head down, does it help? a. No, leaning forward is one of the triggers that can bring on a spasm in my neck that leads to days and weeks of imbalance and foggy-headedness. q. Can your head move in every directions without trouble? a. No, moving my head is often what brings on a spasm and imbalance problems. q. You say your head is tilted, are the muscles in your neck ok? a. Seem to be. It's my spine that is tilted to the right. q. You say that when you press behind your head, it makes you feel bad. Can you elaborate about that? What do you do to press it? Where more precisely? What happens? a. When I press around the atlas/axis (C1-C2). I'm not sure what I press that causes the problems, be it a artery, nerves or soft tissue. I don't get symptoms immediately, but I will get vertigo hours later, but it's cervical vertigo, not the kind associated with inner ear problems. After I get that then I feel out of it for days and weeks. q. Do u have sensory problem like numbness or tingling, from time to time? a. Not really. q. Do u have electric like shock in your back or elsewhere? a. No. q. Do u have vision problem? a. Not all that often but when my symptoms are really bothering me I get light flashes in my eyes and my vision seems "strained". q. Do u have nausea? a. Usually no, only very rarely. q. Did u ever lost consciousness? Black out? a. No. q. What about the flushings, can u elaborate? Feeling hot? Cold? Sweating? Redness? Everywhere in your body? Upper part only? Hands? Feet? a. I feel like I have a fever. It seems to start in my head and then involve my whole body and it usually goes away within 10 minutes. q. What do the neurologists say? a. They seem stumped. I just got some more results. An MRA/MRI of my brain showed normal vascular function and normal brain matter. I haven't had an MRA of my neck yet, although I asked for one. q. The otolaryngologists? a. They don't seem to think it matches anything in their sphere of medical influence. q. Which other specialists have u consulted? a. Neurologists, neurosurgeons, MDs, homeopath, ENT. q. What helps to alleviate your symptoms? a. Rest. I have to rest lying down on my right side or left side. I cannot lay on my stomach or back at all. I have found no medicines or supplements yet that seem to help. Anti-inflammatories don't seem to help, fish oil supplements didn't seem to do anything, aspirin didn't help. I took some homeopathic copper for a while which didn't seem to help. q. What makes them worst? a. Walking, standing, moving my head. q. Do u feel pain? When? Where? a. No, oddly enough there is very little pain, almost nothing. q. Does the food you eat matters? a. Not that I can tell, although when I get hungry my symptoms worsen and then get better about an hour after I've eaten. q. Does alcohol help or aggravate the problem? a. Makes it much worse. q. Anything else you think should be said? a. Sometimes I get a feeling of fullness in my ears. The problem feels like some kind of "damage" around my C1 vertebrae. Everything seems to emmanate from that location. I was stable and able to lead a fairly normal life for 22 of the 25 years so far - I couldn't do a lot of things but I could walk around, go on vacations, carry wood, do housework and lawn work, I didn't get very many attacks during that time and when I did they would clear up in a few weeks and none of them ever took me off work. This last episode has knocked me off work and made it tough to walk and stand for very long. I saw an upper-cervical specialist chiropractor around the end of October who tried to adjust my atlas (C1) and I felt even worse about 24-48 hours after seeing him. I think I was mending until I saw him. I haven't gone back and never will. I think that tends to show that he hit the sensitive area. Maybe he tore something in there. Regular chiropractors never caused problems like this although I saw one 25 years ago when this all started and I didn't really improve significantly until I stopped seeing him. MRIs haven't shown anything. I cannot fathom why. These symptoms are INTENSE. If something is torn or damaged in that area then why don't the MRIs show it? Sorry for so many questions. Bye for now,Frederick
    karljv 6 Replies
    • December 16, 2008
    • 11:58 PM
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