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Cervical bulging disks, weird symptoms
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Cervical bulging disks, weird symptoms

I am a 35 year old female, I recently had a brain MRI w/ and w/o contrast in Apr. coz of tingling in face, upper legs, back , and arms, that seems to be worse with clothing on.  In Sept I had a c-spine, and a bulging disk was found at C-3, C-4, doc says that this would explain the left sided headaches, left sided facial tingling, and left sided earache, she gave me trigger point injections, and my lower teeth and ear have not hurt since, but the tingling in face still remains.  The bug crawling sensations that I used to experience is now turned to a feeling of cold water running through my veins, in arms and legs.  I had a bad delivery with my son 10 years ago, and the next day my entire leg was in terrible pain, the nurse told me that sometimes they knick the sciatic nerve with the epidural, it went away after a few days.  I fell in a hole in 2002, landed on my tailbone, I went to chiro, was adjusted, started burning in lower back and upper legs, just recently took a 4 mile walk and the burning came back, lasted a week, no weakness, no numbness.  To date these are my symptoms: all kinds of weird sensations (bug crawling, water in veins), my left leg goes numb when I go to sleep at night on the outside from knee up, and the bug crawling sensation on my face is now replaced with stinging sensations.  1. Where is an epidural injected, I though it was higher than where the sciatic nerve is? 2. What else could this be, MS? 3. Do you think that the childbirth got this all started, and the fall put the doozy to it?  What should I do, it drives me crazy these sensations.  Thank U!
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Avatar_n_tn
First of all, keep in mind that I am unable to diagnose you because I am unable to examine you, this forum is for educational purposes.    
   I have answered your posts a number of times in the past. A cervical lesion (at C3-C4) can not explain facial numbness.  There are migraine headaches that are contributed to by cervical problems, but they can also be contributed by other things as well.  It is encouraging that you had some relief with trigger point injections (which makes migraine headaches more likely).  As I have mentioned in the past, the most likely explainations for your symptoms is migraine headaches (with the "weird" symptoms related to central sensitization), followed by multiple scelrosis and/or psychiatric manifestations.  Although, I think MS is unlikely, I would recommend that you have a complete MS workup to rule out this treatable condition.  I know that you have had some MRIs in the past, but they should be repeated if they were not done to specifically look for MS.  Your MRI of the brain and cervical spine should be done with GAD contrast and a MS protocol (that includes a saggital FLAIR).  You should also have visual evoked potentials and somatosensory evoked potentials to assess if demyelination has occured in your optic/spinal system (MS causes demyelination).  Finally, a lumbar puncture should be done (spinal tap) to examine your CSF for signs of inflammation (tourtelotte, IgG index, oligoclonal bands).  For the migraine headaches taking a preventative medication (Elavil, topamasx, nadolol, etc) is the best strategy when "weird" symptoms are involved, and trigger point injections with marcaine/kenalog and/or botox are also very effective.  The epidural does not enter the spine itself and only tracks along the outer coverings of the spine to provide nerve blocking agents.  The sciatic is more likely to be injured in the positioning of your pelvis in labor and/or stretch/manipulation during delivery.  This is unlikely to be related to your current symptoms.
I hope this has been helpful.
19 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Have your doctors suggested seeing what you spinal fluid pressure is? Too high of pressure in the spinal fluid may cause some of your symptoms.
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Avatar_f_tn
No they never suggested that.  which symptoms are referring to?
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi again, I hadn't seem your posting before.

Did your doctor give any explanations about the C3-4 causing facial symptoms?? Because I thought our nervous system didn't go backwards (from neck to face, a lesion on the neck would cause symptoms toward your feet, not towards your head).

This was what I learned at vet school, and what at least 3 doctors told me (I saw this online and asked, they laughed at me).

Hope we can find answers to our questions (and prays).

Good luck

rcs2

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Avatar_f_tn
I know, thats weird about the facial tingling and the bulging disk.  I have a paper here that I got at the pain center that I have been going to for migraines, it has all the different levels of the spine and where the nerves go to, It says C-1: blood supply to head, pituitary gland, scalp, bones of the face, brain and eyes and ears C-2:  To eyes, optic nerves, sinuses, mastoid bones, tongue, forehead, and heart C-3:  To cheeks, outer ear, face, bones, teeth, trifacial nerve, lungs C-4: To nose, lips, mouth, eustachian tube, mucus membranes, lungs and so forth.  I know that the neuro here said that a lesion (MS) in the cervical spine wouldn't cause the facial tingling.  Does your face tingle?  Is it everyday?  Its so annoying.  There is actually a spot on my neck that is real tender to touch and when I push on it, it will cause the tingling to start, weird.  Talk again!!!
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Avatar_n_tn
I too have had facial tingling. When it first happened my left hand went numb as well. I went to the ER and they thought I threw a clot and had a TIA. I spent the night in the hospital.

Since then my hand hasn't gone numb, but my cheek has had that tingling many times. At first I thought maybe I did have a TIA. It even happened when one of my docs was giving me a nerve conduction test. Now I think it has something to do with the severe stenosis in my neck.

However I did ask my surgeon's PA and she said it doesn't have anything to do with my neck problems. I think in many cases even the doc's just don't know. JMO
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Avatar_m_tn
if you press on your neck and aggravate symptoms, there is a good cahnce your problems are muscular, especially if other tests are revealing nothing to sink your teeth into (most people have bulging discs).... relieve your neck muscles w massage. get a trigger point manual. nerves run through muscle. when muscles are tight, nerves that are in them fire, causing symptoms. you cant aggravate a nerve root directly by pressing on the side of your neck. you are pressing on muscle.
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Avatar_f_tn
Do you think that the other symptoms are muscle related also?  My husband tells me that I need to exercise, I weigh 123 lbs, 5'3", I guess he thinks I'm getting fat. LOL. This facial thing is there even if I don't touch my neck, I noticed this one day by accident while showering.  Can muscles burn?
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Avatar_n_tn
Hey there, I have seen your symptoms described on several threads.  I too am having the burning, tingling in my face.  Both sides.  Mostly in my scalp, checks, jaw, sides of my face.  Sometimes I can even feel it in my eyes.  It is driving me nuts.  I have had it for about 4 months now.  It started out just a little jolt here and there, now it is like a burning or ice water feeling dripping. It started after a neck adj from a chiropracter.  I think it is muscle related.  I have huge knots on the back of my neck.  When I press on them, I can feel the tingling start.  I also have TMJ and scoliosis.  So my body is really unproportioned too.  Have you been to a neuro?  What tests have you had done?  I am just curious.  I have had a CT on my brain to rule out tumor and a nerve conduction test to rule out a pinched nerve.  Both were ok.  I have an app with a neuro coming up.  I also have panic disorder but I really don't think that has alot to do with it, maybe a little.
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Avatar_f_tn
I've been to a neuro, after 6 years of the facial tingling, she finally sent me for a brain MRI w/ and w/o contrast, was normal, she said that if it was MS it should have shown by now, this was just this April, then Aug I was in a car accident and the tingling got worse so my PCP sent me for a cervical MRI, this is when I found out about the bulging disk, I could have had this for a long time though, I dunno, I started getting migraines about 8 years ago after another accident,  so that could have got the ball rolling.  Yes, I know that when my face does this, I can feel like something pinching me at the base of my skull, like muscle tension, and certain head movements will cause the tingling to happen, but it only lasts for a few seconds and might not do it again for hours, but this happens everyday, some times more or less.  Neuro says exam is perfect, had bloodwork, normal, don't know what to think.  Have you had anything else done besides the CT scan, any MRIs?  Thanks for the response.  Hope you find some answers, its realy frustrating!!!
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Avatar_n_tn
No, I have only had those 2 tests so far.  I really can't afford anymore.  I have racked up so many doctor bills over the past year.  I forgot to mention that I am a hypocondriac too!  Maybe that is what it is from? LOL who knows.. I know how you feel about being frustrated though.  IT seems there are a lot of people with the tingles trying to find answers..
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Jenny - haven't got much time right now, but just had to tell you what has been working for me. 2 months ago I was using 5 imitrex injections a week - would have used more, but neuro said no more. Had terrible muscle pain and migraines every day and was at the end of my tether. many People had told me to exercise before, but if I even took a walk it would cause my spine to burn for days, so I didn't think it was an option. Then the lady at the MS society told me to go to a gym here and get help from a special sports med who deals with disabled people. She set me up with light weights and cycling on special equipment that support the back - all gyms usually have these. It was real hard at first, but I am feeling a whole lot better for it and am able to work some decent hours at last. Migraines are back to once a month and I have a whole lot more energy. I still have funny eyes and buzzing toes, but I care a whole lot less because I'm having a life again! I also use a cream on my muscles every day called PERCUTANE - its made here in NZ. Look it up. Its like wearing a heat pack all day and seems to keep my muscles relaxed - they were always rigid before. must go now - good luck.
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Avatar_f_tn
I just got my lumbar/sacral MRI results back today, everything is normal, infact he used the term "perfect".  Then why do I still have these feelings?  Can muscle tension cause these weird feelings? Thanks
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Jenny,

I'm not sure if you are still checking in, but I had to respond to your post.  I have been having the same facial and neurological symptoms for two years now.  I have to be honest, I have not been to a doctor about this.  I know that is not the smartest move, but I've been so scared of what they will tell me.  The best way that I can describe my facial symptoms is as a numb sensation, but I still have feeling a full movement in my face.  It is only on the left side and runs along the out part of my left cheek down my jaw line.  This also comes with a left sided headache (not severe, just kind of annoying) that is primarily on the back of my head but can shoot up to the top left side of my head.  I have also recently noticed some left arm symptoms.  Sometimes my left arm feels kind of week and stiff.  My job requires a lot of typing and sometimes my left hand will like I don't have as much movement in my fingers as my right hand.  My symptoms have come and gone for two years now.  I might have symptoms for two or three weeks and then they will go away for a short time just to return again.  I guess I tell myself that if it was something very serious it would be here all the time and not ever go away.  I'm starting to get more and more scared of what this could be though.  I have wondered alot if this could be coming from my neck.  I sit at a computer for most of the day at work and will catch myself resting my head on my left elbow.  I also have a bad habit of holding the telephone between the left side of my head and left shoulder.  Could all these symptoms really be coming from my neck?
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Avatar_f_tn
I have those same symptoms as well, and many more. Mine is the whole side of the body and it doesn't go away.  I know it's scary but you really should see a neurologist and get an MRI of your brain with and without contrast.  I've seen 4 neurologists and none know what my problem is.  Neck problems do not usually cause facial symptoms.  Good luck.
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Avatar_f_tn
tHE NEUROLOGIST HERE EXPLAINED TO ME A FEW MONTHS BACK WHEN I POSTED THAT HE FELT IT WAS CERVICOGENIC MIGRAINES, BEING THE MIGRAINES ARE COMING FROM MY NECK PROBLEM, THUS THE FACIAL TINGLING IS PART OF THE MIGRAINE.  I HAVE A SHEET HERE FROM PHYSICAL THERAPY, AND I ALSO SEEN THIS ON THE MSWORLD WEBSITE, C-3, SUPPLIES TRIFACIAL NERVE, EYES, BLOOD SUPPLY TO HEAD, EARS, BONES, CHEEKS, AND NOSE.  THE TRIGEMINAL NERVE LOOPS DOWN SOME IN THE NECK, AS FAR AS I HAVE READ, I THINK IT IS DOWN TO C-4.  MY SENSATIONS ARE MADE WORSE BY NECK MOVEMENTS, AND ALSO WHEN I PUT PRESSURE ON CERTAIN AREAS OF MY NECK AND SHOULDERS.  THE PAIN MANAGEMENT DOC SAYS THAT THE FACIAL TINGLING IS CAUSED BY INFLAMMATION AND MUSCLE SPASMS IN MY NECK.  GO TO ROUND-EARTH.COM AND READ UNDER HEAD AND NECK PROBLEMS, MYOFASCIAL TRIGGER POINTS, IT EXPLAINS ITSELF CLEARLY.  WHEN MY NECK AND SHOULDERS ARE TIGHT, THE FEELING IS WORSE.  TALK AGAIN!!!!
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Avatar_n_tn
Jenny,

When you have this headache how long does it last?  Does it ever go away?
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Avatar_f_tn
I have neck pain just about everyday, sometimes its minor and annoying, but then the true migraine kicks in and sometimes it lasts for 4-5 days, since I started PT I have only had 3 true migraines since July, and they have only lasted about a day.  I also got trigger point injections along with the PT, probably the combo of both helped. Talk again!!!
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Avatar_n_tn
Jenny,

Your problems are triggered from your C3/4.  One thing some docs don't take into account is the limited space in the cervical spine for the nerves & spinal cord.  You stated that the MRI says you have bulging discs.  Did the radiologist happen to mention any neural foramina nerve root impingment, annular tears or cord compression?

I have the pinching/tingling/sunburn sensation in my neck & between the shoulder blades.  I have C3/4 root impingemnt w/no mass effect on the cord from an accident 1 year ago.  I also had ACDF C5/6 & C6/7 back in June due to protrusions with annular tears with mass effects on the cord.  Being that I still have the burning neck sensations and all the other pains that go with it, I'd say your C3/4 is definitely the culprit!

Best wishes,

Kim
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