General Question

dubsrayboo's avatar

What should my next medical move be?

Asked by dubsrayboo (2567points) December 26th, 2013

Before you tell me to see a doctor, I’ve seen 5.

5 weeks ago the right side of my neck went stiff and I saw my GP and he gave me muscle relaxers.
1 week later my neck is still stiff and my right eye has incredible pressure in it. I went to an urgent care and the doctor said I had a sinus infection. He gave me antibiotics.
10 days later the whole right side of my face went numb. I panicked! I went to the ER and the doctor there said I have a sinus infection. She didn’t take any images or even look up my nose. She gave me antibiotics.
3 days later I see an eye doctor. He checked my eye and said that it is healthy and he doesn’t know what is causing the pressure and numbness in my face, “Probably a sinus infection.” So he sent me to an Ears nose and throat specialist.
3 hours later the ENT tells me that I do NOT have a sinus infection. He scans my brain and says it came back normal. So he diagnoses me with Myofacial pain syndrome. He gives me an antibiotic and an obscene amount of Ibuprofen (800mg 3 times daily).
10 days later I still have numbness and stabbing pains on the right side of my face. And the right side of my neck is still stiff.
I’m seeing a chiropractor tomorrow after that I have no clue. Maybe a neurologist?


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22 Answers

talljasperman's avatar

You seemed to be taken advantage of. Have you tried doing nothing for a week and taking a calm warm bath and taking a staycation (No TV or computer)? If this keeps on going you will eventually run into a psychiatrist and put on more pills.

JLeslie's avatar

Neurologist. Bring a copy or send a copy of your CT. He might want to do an MRI.

Not a chiropracter.

Another possibility is an orthopedist. You probably did not get a CT of your neck, just your head/sinus. Maybe the ENT did your neck, but I doubt it.

Did the muscle relaxers help? If they didn’t, I don’t see why ibuprofen would. But, better to take the ibuprofen then the muscle relaxers that really dope you up. Or, they do me anyway. You can just take three advils (600mg) if you don’t want to take the 800mg. Make sure you take with a glass of water and food to protect your tummy. Even if it’s just a couple crackers or something similar.

I’m not a doctor, but I sent the Q to a few for you.

filmfann's avatar

Has anyone given you an anti-inflammatory? The neck pain has me worried, not the facial numbness.

JLeslie's avatar

@filmfann One doctor gave him muscle relaxers and another gave him ibuprofen. Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory.

dubsrayboo's avatar

@talljasperman I have tried warm bath and it didn’t help with the face and the moment I walked out of the bathroom my neck stiffened right up. And I’m already on medications for bipolar type 1. I had to lower my lithium to be able to handle the IB. So I’m having to deal with that too.
@JLeslie Why not a chiropractor? I’ve used them for migraines and they help. The ENT didn’t do my neck.
@filmfann I can’t tolerate steroid anti-inflammatorys because they trigger manias. So it’s IB for me. Why does the neck pain worry you?

JLeslie's avatar

I’m just thinking maybe shingles is a possibility? I hope one of the jelly doctors comes here. i remember a Q where someone had symptoms and no rash and some of the sumptoms they described were face pain. It being on one side made me think of it. I get shingles, and sometimes I just get some tingle and minor redness and then it calms down again. Sometimes I have a total eruption. I don’t know anything really about shingles with no rash, except what the one jelly wrote. I think a neurologist could diagnose that though.

Possibly you can get a blood test for varicella and see if the numbers are high? That’s just a guess on my part though, I am not sure if they can try to deduce shingles from a blood test. The best way is a culture when there is blisters. If that is the case then Valtrex should help.

Judi's avatar

I might try an Acupuncturist if I were you.

JLeslie's avatar

I’m not keen on chiropracters, and the numbness and pressure makes me want you to see an MD, even though I know you aren’t having any luck with them.

I know a lot of people swear by chiropractors, I just am reluctant about them. I guess maybe it can’t hurt? It’s my own bias.

Rarebear's avatar

No idea, but I think that seeing a chiropracter is a very bad idea.

trailsillustrated's avatar

I had the same thing. Scans, even sinus surgery. I will never know what it is. I do know it has improved a lot since moving to a much warmer and drier climate . Good luck I hope you have better luck than I did.

funkdaddy's avatar

Not a doctor, just hoping maybe something rings a bell and and really sorry to hear this has been going on for so long.

It sounds like the folks you’ve seen are first treating symptoms to get you out of pain and then looking for a cause, they can only go off of what you tell them so start jotting down notes about what you notice day to day. Something that may seem trivial or obvious to you might help them tie everything together. With strange problems you have to be your own advocate since the doctors can’t follow you around all the time. Diet, water intake, stress, the medications you’re already on, a new environment or surroundings (new chair, new car, different job, etc) can all play a role, so mention them. You’re the best expert on your body, point them in the right direction with good information so they can use their expertise and equipment to help pinpoint the cause.

If I was in your situation I’d do some research on conditions that affect facial and cranial nerves and see if anything fits what you’re feeling. Those nerves run from your brain, down the side of your neck, and over to your face. They could cause numbness and pain. This may be similar to the myofacial pain syndrome that your doctor mentioned but maybe they could narrow it a bit more with some additional input from you.

Also, anything you can take care of yourself that might be a cause, it seems like you’d want to try that before going too far along the path of medication and possibly surgery. If you can reduce stress, drink enough water, eat right, exercise or do something you find relaxing or rejuvenating, and get outside when you can to see if any of those help. Not saying you’re not doing these or not trying, just ideas. Remember to record anything that helps or hurts.

Again, I’m sorry this is dragging on. Hopefully you and your doctors can find a cause and ultimately a solution.

pleiades's avatar

I’ve had the tinglings on my left face. I haven’t gone completely numb in the face as you have. What triggered my stiffness was carrying a lot of ice buckets at work and bad posture at my computer table.

JLeslie's avatar

Ugh, sorry for the multiple posts. I forgot to mention, sleep with a small rolled up towel behind your neck so your neck is supported really well, or at least rest that way when you get to recline and rest. Lie on your back if you can with the neck support. If you sleep on your side, at minimum make sure you have pillows under your neck and head and not under your shoulders. The point is to have your neck supported very well. I think they should look for a disc protruding in your neck, or some sort of arthritis in your neck as a possible cause. The stiff neck was the first symptom, and for whatever reason they have ignored your neck. Do you have shoulder pain or upper back pain? Possibly more on one side than the other? Pain that you might have had before this started.

josie's avatar

Not sinus, OK brain scan. Probably not an infection or you would have a fever
Numbness, stabbing pain is neurologic.

Trigeminal neuralgia
See a Neurologist

JLeslie's avatar

@josie I just hope they don’t dismiss it as trigeminal and not look for an underlying cause. Isn’t trigeminal neuralgia kind of a catch all for, “that sucks that you have face pain.” I might be remembering wrong. The neurologist might just throw something like neurotin or pain killers at the OP. I agree he should see a neurologist, but my neurologist was all about masking pain and telling me I am getting towards menopause and need to exercise when I went to him about muscle troubles and asked him about a constant irritation I had sort of inside my ear, but felt more like near the eustacian tube.

josie's avatar

I hope the OP gets treated properly as well. And I hope OP doesn’t have something serious like MS.
But lets assume @josie gets lucky with his diagnostic skills.
Sometimes the underlying cause of trigeminal neuralgia is…trigeminal neuralgia.
Not much to do about it but treat with pain medication and or Tegretol or something similar.
Still say neurologist.
And cancel the chiropractor

JLeslie's avatar

Well, both Tegretol and Neurotin might need special consideration since he is treated for bipolar. Just what you said about trigeminal is what I said, basically almost dismissed as idiopathic pain. I mentioned the MRI above to rule out MS, I really really don’t think it is MS, and any other possible brain thing missed by CT. If I had to guess I think the disc in the neck is the most likely, unless the muscle relaxers gave him no relief, I am not sure if they helped or not. Second choice shingles with no outbreak. I feel like we are starting a betting pool. Jokes aside, I really hope the OP feels better soon, it might go as fast as it came with no real explanation.

dubsrayboo's avatar

@JLeslie and @josie I love being talked about! And I’m female.
I canceled my appt with the chiropractor because something in my gut told me it wasn’t right. I have been counseled by family to see a neurologist. The muscle relaxants did squat for me, the pain meds/anti inflamatories have interacted with my lithium so the past ten days have royally sucked mood stable wise, and I’m also on Lamictal already which is also an anti-sezure.
Some history. 7 years ago I got an MRI because I was having debilitating migraines. In the MRI they found lesions on my brain. All hell broke loose. I was having test after test for MS. The spinal tap was the worst. Everything came back normal and they ended up telling me the lesions were caused by my migraines. So that has stayed a mystery this whole time.
The ENT did a brain scan and said that there was nothing there and that the lesions are what everyone my age has.
I’m going to take a two week break and get regular exercise and stay away or limit inflammation causing food. See if that cures me. What’s your take? Thanks guys!

JLeslie's avatar

Talking behind your back in front of your face.

Sounds like it could be migraine related. I would not do a spinal tap so fast again if it is suggested. I still say check your neck maybe. Some sort of xray. An orthopedist might think about the whole thing differently. Tegrotol amd Neurotin are seizure meds also, and I would be hesitant, but that is because I have a low tolerance for just treating symptoms and not getting to an underlying cause. I sometimes let myself suffer more than I should, because I don’t want to mask the pain and ignore something is wrong with me. If you have seen me on other Q’s I have quite a bit of anxiety and anger towards the medical community, so you have to take what I say knowing my perspective. I’m let’s say a little more on edge and distrusting than I probably should be.

My MIL had horrible migraines for years. She stopped eating chocolate and instead of having at least one a month lasting for a few days, she gets one every six months. She also stopped caffeine. Honestly, I would try taking Valtrex also if I were you as a shot in the dark. Again, I am not a doctor. You can certainly ask the neurologist about shingles. Some people are diagnosed with migraines when it is actually shingles.

I think you are in for some testing to try to rule things out. Sucks. No clear easy answer.

pleiades's avatar

I also agree make sure you are sleeping well. No “swimmers stroke” sleeping try just good old on the back, or on the right side.

dubsrayboo's avatar

UPDATE! I saw a neurologist and she said that I have a pinched Oxcipital nerve. I can not take any of the medications they use for treatment so I’m in physical therapy.
Thanks everyone!

Judi's avatar

Thanks for the update!

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