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cognitive problems

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:34 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Ok where do I start…a little over a year ago I started getting debilitating symptoms…starting with numbness, tingling, and temporary paralysis. It subsiding and then I starting getting SEVERE pain..in my shoulder and back..then that subsided…next came the cognitive difficulties…they are the most unbearable because I feel I am going crazy… I am I 1st year graduate student and I had to take a leave from school, my internship, and quit the pt job I had. I have been through a battery of tests since then and nothing was found. I was told that it was psychosomatic and I was beginning to buy that. Until I had a f/u apt yesterday w/ my neurologist to go over a 2nd mri. The mri should 3 slipped discs in the cervical region. These would explain the tingling, numbness, the muscle pain and I guess the paralysis…but what about the cognitive problems?? I can’t help but to think that it must be impacting my cognition…I am sure something is being interrupted in the flow of oxygen/blood to my brain…I haven’t been able to find any info about this so any info would be greatly, greatly, appreciated…thank you in advance!


  • what kind of cognitive problems are you having right now?In the first year that i had trouble with my neck i had an array of cognitive difficulties.My doctor thought that i was having symptoms of ms,but finally that was ruled out when they saw my mri and found the stenosis.I had a really difficult time functioning.I didn't trust myself to be able to use an instant teller to take money out of the bank,affraid i would mess up the simple steps. I would forget my own childrens names,i had word finding problems,it seemed like i couldn't finish a sentence without forgetting what a word was.My speech was very bad.I would speak in three word sentences unless a doctor sat me down and forced me to speak longer i couldn't do it on my own.When i listened to other people talk sometimes it was like listening to a bad radio station that had alot of static,sometimes i had no idea what they said.I would get very upset and pretend that i knew what they had said and i tried to carry on the conversation as best i could. My attention span was horrible,after a few min. i couldn't listen to what someone was saying to me i just couldn't stay focused that long. When i went to therapy i let my therapist know what was happening and used to pull the curtain closed so that i could concentrate on what he was saying to me and i wouldn't be distracted.It took over a year but that all finally subsided.Now i don't have any cognitive problems at all. Thank God!! I hope this helps you understand that neck problems aren't all just pain and numbness and tingling it can be alot of others things as well.
  • :H Welcome -- Sorry for your troubles. Could you please elaborate a little more on your cognitive troubles.

    I guess the one thing that comes to mind is any medications that you are taking that may be causing the issue. I know since I've been on pain meds for sciatica, I not exactly sharp as a tact anymore. I noticed a change in my comprehension while reading or problem solving.

    Is anything being done about your slipped discs?

    I'm sure others will post who have cervical issues and have had experiences that may help explain your problem.

    Take care,

  • Thank you both for your replies…my cognitive problems are not as bad as yours but they have been bad enough I had to take a leave of absence from school…I would forget everything, have real difficulty reading, and my concentration does not exist..i also have a hard time with words finding the correct ones. I have been told it is just anxiety but now with the 3 slipped discs I wonder…

    I have been prescribed PT for the discs…but that is all
    will the PT even help?
  • i don't know if therapy will help it or not,if they can manage to release some of the pressure your having in your neck then possibly.I was doing therapy the whole time my problems were ocurring and mine did finally go away.My cognitive problems was severe and did take a long time to go away.
  • Lisa,
    First let me say welcome to spine-health, make yourself at home as there is plenty of information here. As far as the use of PT. it is standard to try this. As Tammy stated letting the physical therapist know about your cognitive issues, is not a bad idea. Furthermore, make sure you let the therapist know if anything you are doing hurts in therapy. Keep in mind that nerve pain typically doesn't show till sometime after the event that caused the pain. I think that part of your cognitive issues will resolve getting the nerve pain under control. It is not pain like a broken ankle that you can give time and place it started, nor does it hurt like that either. One thing I strongly suggest is that you take someone with you to the Doctors. I remember very well, what you are speaking of and honestly I heard the surgery, but I doubt I really took it all in. Now I am not saying you are headed that way. Many members do well with conservative treatment and are long gone and back to daily living. Besides therapy there are other conservative treatments that can be used as well. Surgery should be used as a last resort. Changing the spine forever changes the mechanics of it as well. Hopefully, you are using a therapist who specializes in spine related therapy. You may also want to talk to them about doing aqua therapy as well. I hope you get the pain under control, and can benefit from the therapy. Good luck and once again welcome to spine-health. Keep us posted.
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