MeunierMemberMarch 14, 2014 at 6:16 pmPost count: 3
For the past month I have had this strange pressure on the upper left quadrant of my head from the ear back. That said it does not stop me functioning, but it is I promise very annoying. I have had some slight pain in my left arm and very occasionally my little and ring finger on the left hand side have felt vacant – but that is only spasmodic. I also have had a pins and needles sensation/effect below my lower left lip – as if the dentist’s injection is only now just wearing off – but that too is fleeting and comes and goes. Sometimes – again very occasionally – fingers on my left hand lock when, say, I am carrying a small sheath of papers. The pressure in the back of the head seems fairly constant. It does not, however, keep me awake. I fall asleep quite normally. For the first couple of weeks (I first awoke noticing this on 14th February 2014 – a Valentine let’s say) I found myself waking at about 2.5 hours after having gone to bed with a ‘feeling’ of pressure behind my left eye. Distrubing. That particular eye pressure would thereafter not return until the next night. I took to wearing one of those airline eye masks and I don’t wake up feeling that pressure any more and the light is not waking me up. I also bought a new pillow lest that was the culprit. I also had my eyes checked and my physical eyes are fine, no fear of glaucoma and no indication of any undue inter-cranial pressure. I called my gp and – over the phone – you don’t get appointments any more in the UK unless they feel you are actually dying – or is that ‘on the point of death – they proscribed 10mg Amitriptyline. I dutifully picked up the prescription. I took one last week before going to sleep (as instructed) and rose feeling like a total zombie with the pressure still in place. I never took one of those again needless to say. I have been taking ibuprofen (200 mg) with paracetamol. I have taken no more than two of each of these per day because I don’t want to upset my stomach. They have I fear had no effect whatsoever on the feeling of pressure. I also went and had a massage concentrating on the shoulder / neck area. (I’d never had a massage of any kind before and I am 58 years old! Go figure.) I felt a bit sore in my shoulder blades on the left side the day after, but that I put down to simply having my muscles massaged for a first time. I also – wanting to do something for myself – and slightly giving up on the NHS – I’m in the UK it should be added – got a friend to recommend me for a new cervical spine MRI which I had done privately. I had this done late last week and have just got the report. (I should say that I had one in the hospital a year and a half ago and there was certainly signs of foraminal stenosis marked there.) This does not (short of the specific language) seem a very different picture. I didn’t have the pressure then, however, but other neurological notations were certainly present in my body. I will quote the MRI of last week …
MRI scan of the cervical spine.
There is normal vertebral alignment the vertebral height is well-maintained, there are some mild degenerative
changes seen in the cervical spine.
At C3-C4 there is mild disk/osteophyte bar causing impingement of the thecal sac with some left-sided foraminal narrowing and mild impingement of the exiting nerve root.
At C4-5 there is a diffuse disk/osteophyte bar causing impingement of the thecal sac with mild bilateral foraminal narrowing more prominent on the left side with mild impingement of the exiting nerve root.
At C5-6 there is a mild diffuse disk/osteophyte bar causing impingement of the thecal sac with mild bilateral foraminal narrowing more prominent on the left side, causing mild impingement of the exiting nerve root.
C6-C7. Diffuse disk/osteophyte bar causing impingement of the thecal sac but no foraminal narrowing and no involvement of the exiting nerve root.
The cord returns normal signal throughout and the craniocervical junction is normal in appearance. The facet joints are fairly well preserved throughout.
There are degenerative changes seen in the cervical spine – at C4-5 and C5-6 there is bilateral foraminal narrowing more prominent on the left side with mild impingement of the exiting nerve root on the left side. At C3-C4 there is mild left-sided foraminal narrowing with mild impingement of the exiting nerve root on the left side.
Is this feeling of pressure in the upper head on one side due to cervical stenosis / thecal sac impingement? (I can’t imagine living where I do that surgery will ever be an option unless I am convulsing against some wall which I should point out I’m not.) I seem to recall reading that others had experienced this and in some cases it went on for weeks; in others months and still for some few unfortunate souls chronically forever. I pray I do not have to try to overcome this forever more. Still forewarned is forearmed and – as one doctor in my gp surgery said to me a year and a half ago when I was really quite ill, ‘This is beyond basic practice’ …. i.e., ‘Good luck, mate’.
Any kind assistance from your good self will, I promise, be gratefully received.Donald Corenman, MD, DCModeratorMarch 15, 2014 at 12:37 amPost count: 8503
Symptoms in the back of the skull could be from irritation to the C2 or the C3 nerves. These nerves (greater or lesser occipital nerves) originate from the neck and radiates over the top of the head (greater occipital nerve) or around the ear (lesser occipital nerve).
Central stenosis will not cause back of the skull symptoms.
Dr. CorenmanMeunierMemberMarch 15, 2014 at 1:30 amPost count: 3
Dear Dr. Corenman,
Thank you so, so very much for taking the time to respond. Your effort in my regard is hugely appreciated. I promise.
Two quick questions if I might: (i) In seeking a way to moderate (if not entirely eliminate) the possibility of C2 or C3 agitation vis a vis the pressure in the head would you recommend physiotherapy? (ii) In merely looking at this last MRI report (and understanding that no clinical examination has been undertaken by your good self) do you think – hypothetically of course – I am still in the conservative treatment field (e.g., prior to surgery). I ask the GPs in my surgery and they have this habit of merely shrugging their shoulders in what I can only assume is a certain knowing doubt.
Again, HUGE thanks for ALL.
Bless you.Donald Corenman, MD, DCModeratorMarch 15, 2014 at 1:36 amPost count: 8503
If you have a therapist that has a good understanding of the potential cause of this disorder (facets) and has experience in treatment of facet disorders, therapy can be helpful.
Another pathway is to use facet blocks (see website) for this disorder. These can diagnose and potentially treat this problem (see pain diary).
There is nothing on your MRI that I think is a surgical problem.
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