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Re: Spreading numbness - tingling

Posted By CCF neuro MD MM on February 17, 1999 at 10:02:55:

In Reply to: Spreading numbness - tingling posted by Otto Jansen on February 16, 1999 at 12:23:28:

I am a fortyfour year old male - in good general health.
Five years ago I had an appendectomy. The surgeon told me later it was a difficult operation as there was serious and widespread inflamation. I suffered from high fever for several days afterwards.
Coincidentally, I experienced serious pain in the skin of my left thigh - like chinese burn. This would get worse as I walked up and down the ward (in an attempt to restart peristalsis, which had gone on strike). One doctor explained that the area of skin affected was served by precisely one nerve, but she, nor anyone else, could offer an explanation. "It will sort itself out", was the general advice.
Indeed, the chinese burn wore off, but the area of skin has felt numb ever since. Occasionally through the years, a tingling sensation would return briefly, but I ignored that. Just recently, over the past month orso, other areas of skin on my leg have started tingling (briefly and nowhere near painful) and now the numbness (if that is the word) has spread to the knee and to the left of the thigh, with vaguer symptoms along the left side of the shin bone.
Over the last week, the left side of my face has started to feel odd, with my lips feeling as they do after a dentist's anesthetic. The little finger and ring finger of my left hand, and an area of skin a hand's width above the wrist, have also been affected. There now seem to be odd tingles on the right side of my body as well, but I can't quite sort them out. There is no loss of power in any of the muscles, but I feel an odd sort of imprecision walking (though there is no loss of balance).
None of it hurts. The skin just feels a bit rubbery, but I can sense pressure alright.
I panicked briefly, thinking that these symptoms might be precursors to a stroke. The doctor who examined me did a variety of balance, coordination and tickle test; took blood pressure and listened to flow in my arteries. He insisted he could find nothing wrong and asked me to get a range of blood tests done. He discounted the stroke theory, on the grounds that I was too young for that sort of thing, but added casually, "Oh, take half an asperine each day."
I did not mention to him that I also experienced some very odd short term memory loss over this recent period. (Like I put the phone down, having promised to do something straight away and then completely forget - void - until some considerable time later. Memory has never been my strong suit but this seems worse than 'normal'.
I have seen doctors twice over the last two years complaining of fatigue, pain in the area of the heart and similarly vague symptoms. Blood tests showed nothing and the symptoms were put down to stress (probably rightly so).
But actually, over the last month my stress levels have dropped. I am well appreciated both at work and at home. Work deadlines have been and gone, and none are in the offing. A possible adventure in a new startup keeps my interest going.
I did have two episodes of flu approximately six weeks and one month ago respectively - the first involving a few days of high temperatures, aches and pains. The second lasted two days and started with vomiting. Was it flu? I think so, becasue other people reported similar experiences.
So, any guesses what is going on here? Is this serious enough to insist on a referral to a neurologist? Are there specific tests I should ask for? Or shall I just continue to ignore it like I have done over the last five years? (This is getting a bit difficult - but perhaps a vacation will help.) I really don't want to be paying this much attention to every little sensation in my body, but then again, perhaps I haven't told you enough...


I do not think that there is any serious underlying unifying diagnosis
here, the thigh problem is very suggestive of meralgia parasthetica,
which is caused by damage to the anterior cutaneous nerve of the thigh,
this is an isolated problem and has no systemic significance.
The face and hand problems sound as if there is some problem with
peripheral sensory nerves , thre is insufficient information to
characterise the problem , ideally it should be investigated by means
of an EMG and nerve conduction studies, which would be performed by a
Similarly with the memory problemms , this is a difficulty symptom to
characterise and is seldom of any great significance unless it is very
obvious and preogressively worsening.
I cannot comment on your trnsient flu like symptoms, they do not sound as if they
are in any way connected to a larger picture.
I think you should concentrate on the more obvious definiter symnmptoms,
namely the sensory symptoms, it is unlikely that other vague fleeting
symptoms are connected with these probelems.
It is possible that you are placing undue emphasis on every little twing
so stress may well be a relevant factor here.
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