Join Date: Jan 2013
Undiagnosed with Head and Face Numbness
I'm new to the forums, and a very friendly member directed my post here, since all of my symptoms started with back pain.
I've had back issues since I was 13. I woke up one day and couldn't move my head because my neck hurt so badly. I saw a bunch of doctors, including a neurologist, had physical therapy done, etc. I don't remember much of the details, but I was diagnosed with chronic muscle spasms because they didn't know what was actually wrong with me. I'd also lost some curvature in my neck, though they never were sure if it was the muscle spasms that removed the curvature or the curvature that was causing the spasms.
And that was that. I just lived with it and became used to the back pain and knots. When I get massages, I am usually in agony, but on a daily basis, I am just used to having a stiff back to the point where I don't notice it any more.
Fast forward to March of 2012. I woke up with some nasty pain between my shoulder blades. My shoulder was throbbing. I couldn't turn my head to the left. My hands were tingling painfully (ring and pinky fingers mostly), as was my middle back on my left side. After a few weeks of no relief, I saw my PCP, who sent me to physical therapy.
Physical therapy seemed to make my neck pain worse. I was doing neck extensions that seriously killed. I was also having HORRIBLE tension headaches and my lower back was starting to hurt, as well. The tingling in my right hand didn't change, but the tingling in my left hand started to encompass my entire hand, not just two fingers. My left arm was starting to buzz, as well, and nerve pain was shooting into my palm. My back was still tingling, and worst of all, the back of my head started going numb and itching incessantly, like bugs were crawling on it.
In June, after 1.5 months, I quit PT and scheduled to see an Ortho.
The ortho did some x-rays and a cervical MRI. The curvature in my neck was now non-existent, with some reversal of curvature. There was some narrowing of disc space, and I had 3 partially bulging discs (c4-c6, I think). However, my Ortho didn't think that anything was all that bad even though I was in pain, and he definitely didn't think it was the cause of my tingling. The nerves were fine. So, he gave me some NSAIDs and a muscle relaxer and said to see a neuro if nothing improved.
I schedule to see a neuro in October. The numbness in my right hand was gone and my back and neck were back to normal (still pretty achy but normal achy for me-- at least I could turn my head), but my head and back were still going numb, my left hand was still going numb, the weird sensations in my arm continued, and my crown of my head still had the incessant itch.
I had a brain MRI which was clean. Blood work was all normal. I experience little hand numbness in my left hand now after wearing a brace for Carpal Tunnel for a month or two as recommended by my neuro.
However, the head numbness was started to encompass my entire head... it started in the back of my head, then moved up towards the crown, then my ear lobes, temple, until finally, one day, my entire face was numb from cheeks to forehead. The itching also continued without fail. I was still having tension headaches, and every so often, my head would get fuzzy, like it was floating away from my body.
Also to note, none of my numbness is constant. It happens in short bursts, usually never longer than 15 minutes, but those bursts can happen every 30 minutes to an hour on a bad day vs. two to three times on a good day. Sometimes I will have burning pain, but it's rare. The numbness has only woken me up from sleep a few times, and thats because it was coming with nerve pain. Sometimes, random places will go numb or tingle (like my foot when I sat down on a couch or above my eyebrow) and then it will never happen again.
The neuro put me on gabapentin, which made me suicidally depressed, so we switched to Lyrica (50mg once a day), which has helped. If I skip a single night's dose, though, my head is a numb, itchy mess by morning and my middle back will continue to tingle.
They have NO IDEA what's wrong with me. One neuro actually said I should just deal with it since it's not affecting my daily life. I dunno how you guys feel about that response, but as a 25 year old woman who's head and face go numb and itchy without meds, I find it to be bull.
Any thoughts? Should I get a second opinion from another ortho or neuro? So sorry about the novel length! I'm just kind of lost, since I've had two different specialists just kind of go "eh" and leave it at that.
Thanks in advance!