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Can cervial impingement of a the nerves affect your brain?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:36 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Ok, I've been having the oddest symptoms and no matter how much I research I can't find any answers. Here what's going on:

I woke up one morning, and realized out of nowhere I had this spacey feeling like I'm in a dream, not all there. It feels like I'm a little drunk or stoned but I'm not. This feeling was accompanied by pressure in the sides of my head and on top of my head (no pain just pressure). My vision sees a bit impaired almost like when you look at something really bright and you see little black splotches in your vision. I felt slightly dizzy, not like everything was spinning, but just a little off balance. The dizziness seems to get worse when I turn my head or move my neck around a lot. When I started school, I noticed it was really hard to concentrate, think clearly, and process information (brain fog). It's also hard to focus in on one object like a cup or a fork or something, like when I stare at one thing I get tunnel vision and can tell that something just isn't right. In the next week or so, the pressure in my head moved to the base of my skull/back my neck. I also started experiencing extreme pain in my shoulder blades, and had a very stiff/sore neck. Most nights, it got so bad that I just laid in the floor cause I just didn't want to move. Also, I've noticed that I'm much more sensitive to light when I go outside, even if it's not that sunny. Also, I've also had a lot of fatigue, feeling tired all day and no energy. I think this may be because I'm not getting good sleep at night, slight insomnia because of this problem.

Ok, so there's the symptoms. So here's the reason why I think it has to do with my spine. One day I was driving to school having those symptoms above really bad. Well once class was over, on my way home, I cracked/popped neck and once I got home the symptoms went down tremendously. I had also cleaned out my ears with a cue tip when I got home and the wax was a dark dark brown color. (I know it's not good to use a cue tip to clean out your ears.) Just figured I'd throw that out there. Now, it seems like every time I crack my neck real good in the morning, the symptoms subside. They don't completely go away but seems to make it better. It's probably not too healthy to crack my neck and do this but I did it just to see if that was the problem. My neck crackles and makes noises when I turn it or move it certain ways. So anyways, my question is, is it possible that the problem I'm experiencing is from nerves in my spine being pinched or something relating to to my upper cervical spine? All these are really upsetting and makes it hard to enjoy life. I feel stuck because I can't find out what's wrong with me! Any help would be greatly appreciated.


  • I can't answer your question, but I would definitely recommend seeing a doctor. You can start with your primary care doctor, but it sounds like you need to see a neurologist.

    It definitely sounds like you have a bunch of neurological symptoms. Some of it sounds like what happened to me when I had optical migraine. There are types of migraine that present with a variety of neurological symptoms and you do not necessarily have a headache.

    I am a lumbar spiney, so can't comment on whether your symptoms sounds like a cervical spine problem, or not.

    This website has lots of informative articles. You might want to start here:
  • I am certainly not a medical professional, but I would definitely see a neurosurgeon or neurologist to rule out possible cervical impingement/ possible spinal cord compression which may possibly be leading to possible spinal cord compression, possibly resulting in possible increase of intracranial pressure, possibly causing possible symptoms such as what you describe. If you end up going to a chiropractor, consider one uses the activator method EXCLUSIVELY, as opposed to manual adjustments such as what you are giving yourself.
  • Check out the image below. It is a dermatome map of the body.


    I went through 6 solid months of intense migraine about 9 years ago. I wanted to kill myself it was the worst pain I have felt to this day PERIOD. I had a CAT scan and an MRI when my PCP finally referred me to a Neurologist who then refreed me to a NS. I had a mild bulge at C2/3. She gave me a steroid pack and I was pain free in 4 days.

    Definately advocate for yourself with your doctor.
  • amykcamykc west virginia Posts: 12
    I am 1 year post op c567 acdf (spinal fusion), I still have "brain fog" I am 32 years old, and fuction as if I have dementia! this was one of my first symptoms but I thought it was related to high blood pressure. Both of which were directly related to spinal cord compression. I had vertigo, sleep disruption, headaches, expressive aphasia like loosing or using wrong words forgetting little things or names I knew I should know. Later I had progressive numbness spread throughout from my rt leg to left hand then left leg, rt hand then saddle area and bladder function...then docs believed me when I expressed concern. (I worked in healthcare for 10 years so I was diligent to find a diagnosis)I recommend being aggressive to find the issue, I was misdiagnosed multiple times and now have permanent issues too many to list. 
  • amykc - I had a similar issue last year.  You are at least young enough that they won't blame it on age.  I was 59 last year and I too thought I was fighting off so form of dementia.  I think for me the issue was the nerve damage that I had with my neck and lower back issues.  I had numbness, tingling, the feeling strong electric current going through my arms and other issues.  This was worse when I slept.  I figured out that I was waking up many times during the night and became quite tired.  I believe it was the lack of good sleep that drove my dementia. 

    A little background, I had an ACDF C5-C7 and a decompression laminectomy L2-L5.  I went to a neurologist and he treated me for pain.  I take nortrypilene and most of the bad symptoms that were keeping me from sleeping well are now gone.  I once again feel young, alert, and reasonably sharp. 

    Hope you find what is driving your challenges.  Good luck.

  • I have had identical symptoms to yours for over 2 years. The brain fog was awful. I constantly felt like I was on drugs without the euphoria or pain relief lol. Doctors had no answers. I was finally diagnosed with a reverse curve in my cervical spine that is tethering my spinal cord. Although I'm not a doctor, I suspect you might have that, especially since you experience relief when you crack your neck. You may be taking pressure off of your cord. Degenerative disc disease causes similar symtoms. Basically, when your spinal cord is affected, it causes the symptoms you describe. Tethered spinal cord is progressive when left untreated. I started getting weakness and shooting pains in my legs and pain in my tailbone as well. Feeling much better after a few weeks of chiropractic work but I still have a loooong way to go. I don't recommend cracking your neck yourself because it could potentially make things worse if you do it wrong. A bad chiropractor could make things worse as well so be very selective about who you let adjust you. tethered  spinal cord is relatively common but under diagnosed. I would definitely ask your doctor about that. hope you figure it out and feel better soon! 
  • ShellyGPSShellyGP North DakotaPosts: 3
    edited 06/28/2016 - 7:14 PM
    The symptoms you describe are identical to the initial symptoms I started having about 6 months ago. The brain fog was so embarrassing... i felt like i was in a dream and it seemed like i must be acting drunk because i just couldn't get it together! i am a teacher, so acting drunk randomly throughout the day was a very bad deal. i also had the headache (at the base of my skull and behind my eyes), light sensitivity, extremely stiff/sore neck. My brain fog was always accompanied by severe nausea and fatigue. i would be feeling perfectly normal and all the sudden i was confused, sweating,dizzy, nauseous and i just wanted to lie down on the nearest flat surface. When these things were happening, it felt like the only bit of relief i got was by rolling my neck around and stretching it in every direction.
    All i can offer is the results of my tests after i saw my doc with those symptoms. She initially ordered a brain MRI because the symptoms were so sudden and severe and the nausea was making me vomit sometimes. The brain MRI came back fine, so she ordered a cervical spine MRI. i am currently in physical therapy and waiting to see a neurosurgeon to review the MRI results and find out what happens next, but the diagnoses are: cervical spinal stenosis, bilateral foraminal stenosis, disc degeneration, osteophyte complexes at multiple levels and straightening of the natural curve of the cervical spine. Sounds dramatic, but it seems like these things tend to occur together in a lot of people. BTW i am 41 and have experienced multiple traumatic neck injuries over the years. Reckless lifestyle, i guess. I have heard that some people have a hereditary predisposition for these problems, but the cause isn't much of a mystery in my case.
    Just thought i would add a comment after i recognized so many similar symptoms. Good Luck!
  • sharon3878sharon3878 somerset, UKPosts: 3
    hi, ive been having the same symptoms as you !! for over a year and a half now, my GP originally diagnosed me torticollis and i had physio for 6 weeks after which then the pain in my neck subsided but i was left with a lot of pressure in my face and nerve problems the doctor suspected a sinus infection as i had vertigo, pressure in the face etc but ive had a ENT examination which came back clear, and now i had a MRI which has shown a C5 root cervical disc prolapse, the specialist has advised me i can have a nerve root epidural for this but has refused for now as apparently i need to have a MRI on the brain as i have numbness to the face, arm, and tongue which needs a further investigation to the final treatment the symptoms i have daily are......

    >pressure in the nose
    >puffy eyelids
    >dead arms more to the left side
    > pins and needles, tingling from the shoulder to the finger tips
    >sharp shooting pains behind my left ear
    >vertigo, with dizziness, and slight nausea
    >numbness on left side of the face slightly
    >tongue gets tired if chewing on food too much
    >nasal drip at the back of the throat
    >neck tightness, stiffness
    >blurry vision occasionally in the left eye, and eyes will bloodshot
    >upper body weakness
    >burning sensation between the shoulder blades
    >earaches and tinnitus
    >legs occasionally feel light when walking
    >mind lapses literally for a second, like brain fog
    >fumbling cant grip 100% with my hands
    >sensitive to light and smells

    i hope you get yours sorted soon and your not alone like i had been thinking to myself this forum has helped me out a lot and i only joined today, once a mri is done i think they can see what is going on but not in all cases as i dont think they can see if nerves are pinched or compreesed on a mri, consultant couldnt get why im getting neurological symptoms with the prolapse disc in my neck as its apparently minor, thats why i need further tests, so im a little worried too :-)
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