Avatar universal

Is this just normal aging?

I’m a 41 year old female.  

About 10 yrs ago-random vertigo. No other sx.  Unstable walking in the dark. Positive Romberg.  

3 yrs ago-mild epigastric abdominal pain through to my back.  Started intermittently, has become almost constant.  A few attacks of increased pain going around my left side. CT, MRCP, blood tests, urine tests all normal except for mod reflux.  No GERD meds or IBS meds help (no bowel symptoms)

1 yr ago (June-August) Pinched nerve in right arm.  Aching shoulder. Little finger and fourth finger numb and tingling.  Numb spots & tingling on forearm.  No problems moving head or neck.  Chiro did not help.  

November-New light-headed/dizzy.  Like standing up in boat.  Lasts 2-3 minutes.  Unpredictable.  Moving my head does not precipitate spells.  Still occasionally have a boat spell or feel light-headed.

January-Sharp pain and pressure behind my right eye.  Lasted for 4-5 days. Rewet eye drops did not help.

April-Happened again.  Like looking through a white veil (just right eye).  Vision problem cleared up in a week.  

May-Pinched nerve again.  Same two fingers and forearm were numb and tingling could not feel temp.  Shoulder achy. Hand clumsy & weak. Dropped things.  Most comfortable to hold my hand twisted with the palm out and close to my body/chest.  Lasted 6 weeks. No back prob.

June-Eye problem.  Same vision prob w/ white spot in the center of my field of vision.  Eye dr said eyeball looked fine could be optic neuritis. Pressure & white spot when I'm hot or tired.  Prescription NSAID for abdominal and eye pain.

Right foot/ankle occasionally go numb. Sharp pins and needles feeling in my right foot and hand lasts minutes to hour.  Fine for weeks.  Fallen 3 times in the past year.  Bump into doorframes. Trouble seeing steps.  Urinary incont. Confusion/got lost, did not know what to do.

Brain MRI and reflexes normal, Dr says no MS just stress, but I don’t feel stressed!  

Is all of this just normal aging?
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Avatar universal
Thanks for using the forum. I am happy to address your questions, and my answer will be based on the information you provided here. Please make sure you recognize that this forum is for educational purposes only, and it does not substitute for a formal office visit with your doctor.

Without the ability to examine you and obtain a history, I can not tell you what the exact cause of your symptoms is. However I will try to provide you with some useful information.

It is difficult to tie all over your symptoms together; for example, the vertigo and abdominal pain may not necessarily be related. A normal MRI of the brain is certainly reassuring, and given your clinical history, makes MS extremely unlikely.

Pinched nerves are also known as radiculopathy. The spinal cord is encased by bones called vertebra. Nerves start to form as they come off the spinal cord and exit through holes formed between the vertebra. If a nerve is compressed on as it exits through these holes, particularly in an area called the nerve root, a radiculopathy results. The compression could be due to arthritis of the spine or due to a herniated disc or other lesions. Some people may have recurrent pinched nerves at the same level due to arthritis and herniated disc, and as in your case, they resolve without consequences in the vast majority of cases. Another cause of tingling in the 4th and 5th digit is an ulnar neuropathy. The ulnar nerve supplies innervation to some of the muscles and the skin on the side of the arm closer to the body (the "medial" forearm and hand), including the pinky and ring finger. Ulnar neuropathy is a type of irritation of the ulnar nerve.. Ulnar neuropathy causes numbness, tingling, or pain into the arm and hand on the side of the little finger. This is sometimes called "handlebar palsy", because it frequently happens in bicyclists who sustain repeated shocks and bouncing that can occur while holding the handlebars when riding. Other activities that involve stress on the hands and wrists may also irritate the ulnar nerve and cause ulnar neuropathy. This is best diagnosed by a study called EMG/NCS which tests how nerves conduct electricity and how muscles respond.

Regarding your vertigo, the causes could be either the inner ear or the brain. With a normal MRI of the brain, brain problems become less likely.Inner ear causes of vertigo most commonly include benign positional vertigo (BPPV), which is due to small particle in the inner ear that moves out of place, and can be repositioned with simple head maneuvers. The symptoms often include vertigo that occurs with turning of the head, often while turning over in bed. Another cause, if your symptoms are associated with tinnitus (ear ringing) and hearing loss is called Meniere’s disease and can be treated with medications and sometimes surgery. Vertigo paroxysmia is characterized by multiple episodes of vertigo a day that are not triggered by head movement and may be associated with ear ringing; they are caused by irritation of a nerve as it exits the brain by a small blood vessel, which is best visualized by a specific MRI sequence (and may not be apparent on regular MRI). However, if your vertigo episodes are infrequent, which it sounds like they are, this would be less likely. And so on, several other causes from inner ear problems exist, and evaluation by an ENT may be helpful if your vertigo becomes increasingly problematic.

Overall, it is reassuring that your brain imaging has so far not shown any abnormalities, and your symptoms could be explained by simple diagnosis such as pinched nerve or inner ear vertigo which are unrelated. Evaluation by a neurologist may benefit you if the tingling in your arm persists, and by an ENT if your vertigo persists.

Thank you for this opportunity to answer your questions, I hope you find the information I have provided useful, good luck.
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Avatar universal
My hand and arm are starting to give me problems again (all problems are on my right side which wouldn’t be a real big problem except I am right-handed).  They have been fine since June.  Now the numbness and tingling are back.  It mostly bothers me at night.  It started 2 days into a cold, which is probably just a coincidence.  I have never heard of numbness and tingling as cold symptoms!

I am also feeling light-headed again.  I don’t think it is my ears.  I do have a lot of ‘phantom’ earaches and toothaches, sharp pains that last a few minutes but there are no ear or tooth infections (both on the right side).  I suppose the light-headedness could be the cold though.

I’ve been to my GP many times this year.  I have seen him for stitches from falling, first pinched nerve, out-of-balance feeling, week-long headache with the second eye problem, second pinched nerve, and then to ask for the MRI.  He checked my knee reflexes, said that they were normal so MS was unlikely.  

He said that the MRI was normal so I do not have MS.  He keeps saying that all of the symptoms I have are due to stress.  I am a very laid-back person and my sisters think that the stress explanation is pretty funny.  

I am just tired of testing and feeling like a hypochondriac.  I am trying to decide if all of this is worth pursuing.  It's not so bad that I can't deal with it myself but I don't want to let it go if it is something that can get worse.
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