Family Health Expert Forum
Problems with neck and facial/tongue burning, numbness, tingling
About This Forum:

Questions in the Family / Internal Medicine forum are answered by medical professionals and experts. Topics covered include general health issues, adolescence, babies, child health, eating disorders, fitness, immunizations and vaccines, infectious diseases, medical tests and procedures, and senior health.

Font Size:
Blank Blank

Problems with neck and facial/tongue burning, numbness, tingling

Past History:  In 1993 I began suffering from a neck injury while at work. I used a computer and sat for long hours doing so. I was also lifting large manuals from above my head. I woke up with a stiff neck along with the muscle on the left side of my neck cramping and feeling hot. I also experienced numbness to my left jaw. The Doctor prescribed a muscle relaxant and rest for a week. I also had some physical therapy and chiropractic work done. Things seemed ok until 1998. At that time my employer moved my computer terminal from the left side of my work station to the right side of my work station. That simple change brought on my sysmptoms again. After a week of rest and taking a muscle relaxant along with the computer being moved back to the left side of my work station I have had minimal symptoms.
Current History:   In 2003 I began experiencing burning at the back of my neck. I felt good when I arrived at work on Monday morning; but, after working a couple of days the burning began and increased. I also had cramping at the left side of my neck and numbness to my left jaw again. My symptoms improved on my days off and returned again each week while at work. They continued to worsen each week until finally I went off work in October 2003. I have numbness, burning and tingling on my lips, tongue, chin, face and earlobes. The symptoms occur when I sit at the computer, drive, rotate my head from side to side, turn my head and look down, and even when I sing (hobby). The neck muscles tighten and I have a hard time swallowing. I also have difficulty speaking when the lower part of my tongue/throat goes. My entire body also becomes very tired. I sleep well at night. I can no longer sleep on my stomach because lip numbness occurs when I turn my head to the side with my pillow. Lying down relieves symptoms.
Tests:  Blood work and ultrasound of arteries in neck: ok
X-Ray of cervical spine: Evidence of mild degenerative change in C5-6.There may be a slight inferior end-plate loss of height posteriorly of the C-5 vertebral body. The disk and end-plate processes result in a slightly exaggerated lordosis at C5-6.
C-Spine MRI: No cord signal abnormalities to suggest a process of demyelination. No cord compression is present. Tiny left disk protrusion at C3-4 may minimally impinge on the exiting dorsal left root. Physical Therapy: Tingling, numbness and burning of tongue, lips and left chin along with tightness of supra and infrahyloid muscles, dizziness and sudden loss of energy symptoms occur with cervical traction, cervical rotation and back bending.
Questions: Any thoughts of further tests that should be done? What type of Doctor should I be seeing? Diagnosis or treatment? Could this be a neck injury caused from years of repetitive motion? Any help or ideas would be appreciated.
Related Discussions
If you are having continuing symptoms, then the next physician you should see is a neurosurgeon.  There is evidence of a small disk protrusion on the MRI.  Any type of disk protrusion has the possibility of causing some of the neurological symptoms you are describing.  If this is the case, surgery can be considered.  

If it has been established that the neck issues are not causing the symptoms, you may want to inquire about a neurology opinion.  Tests to rule out stroke and its risk factors (i.e. MRI of the brain and an MRA of the neck vessels) can be considered.

Yes, it is possible for a neck injury to be caused by repetitive motion.  

Followup with your personal physician is essential.

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.

Kevin, M.D.
I suffered for 3 yrs. with migraines and nothing helped.  I had them as little as one each 3 wks. to 2-3 per week, last Nov.  I
had been on Neurontin, and quit due to short term memory loss.
And 15 mos. ago, my tongue began burning only on the left side every single day. Of course this pain was worse with migraines.

Then after an ER visit, MRI tests, and xrays, my dr. asked me to go to Mayo Clinic. There I was diagnosed with burning mouth syndrome, but also some degenerative disc problems in my neck.

I was given a median branch block from Dr. Huntoon, using fluoroscopy - into the C2 vertebrae.  Within hours, my neck pain
was released.

I am also taking Nortriptyline, which helps with the tongue pain
a lot.

I have a bulging disc in C5,6, but they say there is no nerve compression.  

I am doing cervical home traction and it is wonderful also.

Mayo drs. were great, but I also hear that the Cleveland Clinic
is great too.

If this helps just one person, it has made a difference.
There is hope!
Dear Sandytobe,
Need to know what the outcome of your problem was.
A related discussion, SAME exact issue was started.
A related discussion, numbness was started.
Continue discussion Blank
This Forum's Experts
Christina Palmer, M.D.Blank
University of California San Francisco
MedHelp Health Answers
Weight Tracker
Weight Tracker
Start Tracking Now
RSS Expert Activity
Emotional Eaters: How to Silence Yo...
Mar 26 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
Vaginal vs. Laparoscopic Hysterecto...
Feb 19 by J. Kyle Mathews, MD, DVMBlank
The Death by Heroin
Feb 03 by Julia M Aharonov, DOBlank