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Dr. David
Dr. David, Board Certified Physician
Category: Medical
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Experience:  Experienced Physician trained in New York City. I'm ready to help.
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Left side numbness/tingling/pain under ribs

Customer Question

Attachment: 2012-02-18_180917_symptoms.docx

Hello, I have a complex situaiton. My history starts in January with a "stomach wog" that really wasn't one. I was unwell but after five days ended up become severely bloated. And had a doctor prod and poke and put me on antibiotics (double dose, double strength) for an infection. I have a pain under my left rib that radiates down but at the time the biggest pain was the bloating, not being able to sleep on stomach and not being able to wear a seat belt. I have been off antibiotics for two weeks and I have now got a numb left side of my body. Gradually worsening. It now involves my leg, arm, and I still have pain under my left rib and in my groin. I am a female 41 years old, married with three children. I am awake after having awoken in the night. I rolled on my stomach and immediately awoke with severe tingling in my hands and fingers and once again the left side is numb (it is numb all the time but the tingling is new). I am also feeling it creeping up my neck and the back of my head. The pain in the left side under the rib is also still there. I feel I am going batty. I have been told I have nerve damage due to stomach thing earlier. Why are the symptoms getting worse not better. Also when I go to the toilet (I find it hard to pass) My feet and calves are usually numb as soon as I sit (on the left side again) but now it is right side as well for when I go to the toilet. I think when I use my bowels some kind of pressure occurs because as soon as I pass a bowel motion I seem to get the feeling back. Yesterday I could not get my left hand to hold the mouse and use a keyboard. I felt very sad. It seemed my brain wasnt getting messages through.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.
This is Dr. David

it is definitely neurological

the question is what is causing your left side numbness.

this can be seen in late stage diabetics, but doesn't soune like you are diabetic.

also autoimmune diseases can cause neuropathy damage and numbness

http://www.neuropathy.org/site/DocServer/autoimmune-Latov_.pdf?docID=1061

as you can see from the article, there can be a lot of conditions causing neuropathy.

I think you need to get more testing with an upper endoscopy to look into your stomach and more blood work to test for possible auto-immune issues which could be causing your symptoms.
Dr. David, Board Certified Physician
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 31049
Experience: Experienced Physician trained in New York City. I'm ready to help.
Dr. David and 6 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you - my difficulty is that i saw a gastronenterologist on Friday. He was nice, but I got the impression he thinks everything is in my mind and as far as the left side not working - said it was not in his area of expertise. Do neurologists do endoscopies?

Are you suggesting I return to my GP (who I have a good relationship with) and then go from there?

Wot would occur if I didn't get help? other than my symptoms continuing to worsen until I point I end up in emergency when something would definitely come up with answers (I am guessing)....

I definitely feel like I need to be getting additional help but I am finding the process very frustrating and humiliating as far as face to face specialists.

On a positive note I am really thankful for your response and I like that you can't see me and have given a very good factual response without seeing that I am "crying" or something like that.

Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.
neurologist do not do endoscopies.

yes, starting back at your GP, and discussing possible autoimmune causes of your neuropathies is a good start

oh, dont' cry, you will make me cry.

I hope the information is a spring board for you to get better diagnosis of your condition and get some treatment which will help

let me know if you have other questions.

thanks for the accept

please leave + feedback

you can always reach me as Dr. David

Thanks for using JustAnswers.com
Dr. David, Board Certified Physician
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 31049
Experience: Experienced Physician trained in New York City. I'm ready to help.
Dr. David and 6 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hello Again,
It is two weeks since I last wrote. I ended up going to hospital last Wednesday and was admitted where testing for stroke, ecg for heart and MS - was done. All these tests were clear. I was sent home, told to see my doctor and return as an outpatient to neurology.

My Doctor wants me to have an MRI and is frustrated one wasnt done at the time.

Yesterday I had a migraine which was on the entire left side of my head. It was very bad. I do not get headaches generally (although have had a few minor ones of late) then this wopper one yesterday).

I think my doctor is wanting to make sure I dont have a tumour but she didn't say as much. The only thing other than that she mentioned was stress. Can you tell me a few things re: a tumour or stress. My doctor wished me to go to emergency yesterday when I had the migraine but I feel they have already seen me and sent me home so as I live in the country think I will wait until it happened again.

What I want to know is this:
In the case of a tumour - I did all sort os "reflex" tests and they were perfectly normal. So even though I feel numb and my left side is not working - these tests show it is working fine. When I wake up and my foot is entirely numb but that "passes" as such - can symptoms - with a tumour - come and go? i.e. migraine / no migraine? If there is something wrong like a tumour - surely the symptoms would be constant?! and my reflex tests would come back negative.

I just want some clarification of that -i.e. left sided heaviness all the time but other symtoms come and go? - could that happen in say the case of a tumour.

2) in the case of say stress - is it possible to get symptoms of just one sided with stress? I feel awfully dumb returning to hospital for say stress? and even dumber to turn up there with a headache?

These two areas of clarification will help me to decide whether to go back to hospital - which is what my GP is wishing me to do. I feel lots of tests have been conducted and lots of them say I am okay.

Thank you in advance


Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Sorry - one other thing - I got shooting pain under my left eye yesterday and my headache got better toward the afternoon although no panadol etc. helped at the time I was experiencing it. I was sensitive to light and felt like vomiting but did not. I have had say two other migraines in my entire life -both times I was pregnant. There is no possibility of me being pregnant now.
Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.
when tumor presses on teh brain and causes symptoms, it doesn't tend to come and go, but the symptoms could sometimes get worse and better. you are right, usually symptoms from a tumor are pretty constant.

reflex test are harder to predict. I don't tend to rely on them too much. MRI scan of the brain is much better.

it would be hard for stress and tention headaches to cause weakness on one side of the body. I would be looking for things like stroke or a ruptured aneurysm or AVM to possibly cause these symptoms. all of these things in the brain can be seen on MRI scan of the brain.

don't feel dumb returning to the hospital. if you get headaches again or worse headaches again, I would go back and demand an MRI scan of the brain. if your GP is asking you to go back, I would go back and get an MRI scan of the brain. with the MRI scan done of the brain, a lot of guesswork will go away.

I see. migrains also do not tend to cause one sided numbness or heaviness either.

good luck to you.

thanks for your prior accepts and bonus

thanks for using JustAnswers.com
Dr. David, Board Certified Physician
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 31049
Experience: Experienced Physician trained in New York City. I'm ready to help.
Dr. David and 6 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Well long time no talking. This does not mean I am better. I am just putting up with my symptoms and have recently been to Europe for five weeks with a friend. My friend organised the trip and I didn't do much at all. My GP thought it was a good idea to see if my symptoms were similar whilst overseas - and if away from my environment and "possible stress" things changed.

As it turned out everything has remained as is and I am getting very frustrated. Essentially the numb/heavy thing is all the time and tingling is more in my fingers and feet. Sometimes at night, I wake up with prickling over the left side up and down my legs/body and arm.

My MRI and CAT scan were clear. I have been waiting to see a Neurosurgeon which I saw today. I have only been home five days from overseas and am still jet lagged. Additionally my symptoms are worse (they always are when I am tired) and on top of that, I had to drive to the appointment and my arm was bothering me. In short by the time I saw this person, I was agitated, and somewhat tearful.

He has my notes from hospital admission and migraine and also read that reports from the scans which were clear (he did not look at the actual x-rays). So I am guessing I am okay. He did the pressure tests, and made me look at him and tell him how many fingers he had up etc. and then took photos of my eyes with his phone. He then left the room to talk to someone else, and returned. He said that he thought I might have anxiety (which I am open to), but also realise that I am particularly anxious at the moment because of the wretched symptoms.

He has put me on Allegron (Nortriptyline) and I am to return in six weeks. He said there was no chance of tumour or stroke.

I am glad it is anxiety but part of me just cant believe it. (Actually I am thankful really as in the waiting room there were lots of jerky/twitching people in wheelchairs and I thought that a bit depressing). Anyway, I have had depression after one of my babies and am very open to the fact that I may have this, but there are a few things I question.

1) Why are my symptoms constant (i.e. the hand and arm are never better or not numb/heavy - the tingling can come and go a bit?) - if it were depression I feel that I would get agitated and "tingly" at times of intense stress, or on and off, not all the times. If you could clarify that it is "normal" for someone who has anxiety to have left sided/numbness/tingly constantly - this would be appreciated.

2) Why do you think I return to a neurologist in 6 weeks if it were depression. He has told me to return to my GP if I have reactions to the medication and for a repeat script. ? Is there a possibility he is just confirming my symptoms are gone. If they are in fact, still present - do you have clues what they would or wouldn't be looking for and what would occur?

3) I dont feel stressed but I was teary in the appointment - which I regret. I can understand why he thinks I am depressed. When I was on the planes overseas, I got swelling just on my left side and couldn't put my shoe on. My right side was not affected. It just seems weird to me.

4) I am assuming that MRI's and CAT scans cover all tests - that nothing can be missed? I believe everything is normal and the bloods I had done three months ago were normal too. Would you seek a second opinion if you were me? I feel a bit silly questioning as everything is normal but I definitely do not feel normal. Do you know why he would have taken pictures of my eyes?

5) My neurosurgeon said the medication is primarily for the migraines which he admitted were unusual. I have only had two. He also said it would help with anxiety if this was the root of the problems. Will the medication, help - do you think - if it were not anxiety. i.e. I guess I am thinking MS symptoms which I did a quick look at and could entirely relate to. I know I sound like a goose thinking this when everything is clear. But you have to remember I have been living like this for a few months, and it is having an affect on my life. I get tired. My symptoms get worse for no reason randomly then marginally better again.....etc.

Thank you for your help again. PS are you a neurosurgeon?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you somehow my reply from June is not in this box but below and remains unanswered. It is lengthy. I am subscribing can you reply please
Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.
Sorry for the delayed response.

1. It is not normal for someone with anxiety to have numbness and tingling sensations in the arm. however, finding the cause can be tough as you have found out. the numbness and tingling can possibly come from pinched nerves in the neck spinal cord area. your MRI scan was of the brain. did they scan your neck?

2. yes, I think teh neurologist is just waiting to see if your symptoms will improve on their own. since you have had them for some time, most likely they won't.

3. yes, swelling on one side is unusual. perhaps it was how you were sitting on the plane.

4. if you didn't have an MRI scan of your neck and cervical spine, I would get that

5. what medication did they give you?

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