Burning Pain Neck Shoulders Arms now Legs and Feet

by Kelly
(New Brunswick Canada)

Carpal tunnel never affects the pinkie

Carpal tunnel never affects the pinkie

It all began in March - after 2 months of working on a large project at a laptop for 45 hours a week, and lifting weights at the gym a few evenings a week, I started to feel a tingly burning sensation at the back of my neck (near where cervical and thoracic meet) and down my right arm. I'd stretch, shake it out, and keep working. It would come and go only when I was working. Fast forward to three months later, and it's constant. New computer setup that is ergonomic, way less working, but no help. And particularly bad while I'm trying to sleep, particularly in the arm and hand. Tingling, burning, pins and needles. I assume carpal tunnel, so I go to physio.

Then left arm begins too. They aren't sure what to do. Then I start to feel pressure at the base of my skull and occipital-like headaches. Then just a constant sense of my neck feeling tired. Then a constant buzzing in both wrists. Then buzzy sensations in my feet.

In October I had a MRI of my brain and cervical spine. All clear. X-rays show mild scoliosis of thoracic and lumbar spine and mild arthritis in neck. But apparently doesn't explain symptoms. Symptoms get so intense during driving that I try to stop all driving. Sitting makes them worse too. Try massage, osteopath, chiropractor, acupuncture. Chiropractor thinks maybe mild spinal cord compression from posture. Massage therapist thinks thoracic outlet for upper body but no clue about lower.

December brings sciatic-like pain in buttocks, calves, and feet along with the rest of the symptoms. Sacral pain as well. Tingling in lower face. Burning pain (like a hot poker) on back. Sometimes like a bee sting. Sometimes like a mosquito bite. No motor differences to speak of. Massage therapist comments that there are many active trigger points in neck, back, and glutes. But no luck getting anything to let go.

Neurologist appointment with EMG coming up. Feeling scared and hopeless. One year ago I was a healthy 30 year old without an ache or pain to speak of. Now I am unable to recognize the life I had.

Hello Kelly,
I understand your distress; it's justified. It's okay to feel scared, because it is scary, but try not to get angry.

It's good that you're seeing a neurologist; this is clearly central in nature, meaning it's not likely to be a pinched nerve in your neck or lower back. Ask him to check again on the MRI where the spinal cord emerges from the foramen magnum.

Whilst chiropractic, massage and physiotherapy might help with some of the symptoms, what's needed is a diagnosis.

When you have a nervous system that's angry for some unexplained reason, I always recommend going back to the basics; take a three week holiday; get some regular gentle exercise like walking and swimming; take a good long look at your diet; are you getting the mandatory 8-10 coloured foods every day and how much junk are you eating?

Start reading up on phytochemical foods, for example the oleocanthal in extra virgin olive oil for its anti inflammatory effect, and start eating only breads made with 100% whole meal; nuts and seeds. I could go on.

In short, become something of a healthnut, but avoid the health nut neurosis. Talk to God, and look at your relationships.

It's vague I know, but I hope contributes in some small way. Please let me know when a diagnosis is made.

Dr Barrie Lewis

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