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Visual disturbance ???

jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:51 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical

I was wondering if visual disturbance can be a symptom of cervical problems.

My physiotherapist was working on my neck, just gently mobilising my neck, at the higher levels. He moved my head over to the left shoulder and was working on the right side. I noticed that my vision went very strange. I can't describe it very well because I closed my eyes. I did tell him, but he didn't seem to be too concerned and continued to work on my neck, just telling me to get up very carefully when he had finished.

Is this a common symptom from the higher cervical levels. I have been getting lots of headaches and ear pain in both ears too.

I do get very slight light headedness, but not enough to cause great problems. I have been ignoring that.

I am going on holiday in 2 weeks, and I just want all this to wait until I get back again, before following up to see if it needs investigation.

Am I unusual, or have others had similar problems?



  • The occipital lobe is located in the back of your head and is where vision is processed. The greater and lesser occipital nerves can be pinched if you have muscle spasm from the back of the neck. I suffer from this ever since I herniated the disc at C5-C6.

    Visual disturbances can also make you dizzy - I've been dealing with this for months and it's gotten better since surgery.

    As for the hearing issues, I too have had that due to tight muscles at the side of the neck. I used to have tinnitus, but that went away after surgery.

    Anytime neck muscles spasms and are tight, you can get visual as well as auditory disturbances.

    Hope you have a great vacation! :)

    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
  • Check out the cranial nerves. I learned from bad experience that most of the nerves that control things in your head travel down the spine and exit at the T1 area. Then they run back up the front of the neck and into the head...talk about taking the long way there!!

    So the short answer is that yes things in your neck can affect hearing, vision, taste and smell. It can also affect feeling in the face and scalp.

    Jelly I have damage to my cranial III nerve where it exits at T1/2 and it affects my vision. My daughter who was in the car accident with me has had ear pain since then and my guess is that she has a nerve being affected by muscle spasms in her neck.

  • I am so fed up with all of this!

    I try to stay positive and know that there are so many people who have much worse problems than me, but I just want to be able to forget about spine problems!

    I suppose I am lucky that I only get the pain in my ears when my headache is particularly bad.

    Some good news I got this week (trying to think positive) is the dentist told me at my check up that my teeth were perfect. :D

    My spine is rubbish, but at least I have good teeth.

  • fwiw...my vision is very blurred..not sure if its from getting older or what, but it's much worse since the surgery.

    Gentle hugs to you my spiney friend. Keep smiling and flashing your pearly whites!!!! And happy One Year post op anniversary!!! You rock!!!

  • Lili, thanks for the vacation wishes. I really need this holiday and can't wait. 2 weeks today we set off.

    Kris, I checked out the cranial nerves, and Wow! I see that this visual disturbance could definately be from my neck.
    Even more interesting is that 6 weeks after my fusion I was thought to have had a TIA, but after brain CT scan and ultrasound of my cartoid arteries in my neck, everything was normal so they said it must have been a migrane.
    My symptoms were severe visual disturbance with scotoma and the strangest thing of all was that I lost the ability to read. I could speak fine, but couldn't make sense of the written word. Now I see that the part of the brain that deals with this function is at the occipital part of the brain, right next to the visual area. Now I wonder if that episode was due to my neck problems.


    Thanks for the hugs and anniversary wishes.

    Take care all my spiney friends >:D< >:D< >:D<

  • The headaches and the ear pain and noise can be also. My daughter is having a test on the nerves to her ear tomorrow. For the last two years she has suffered with intermittant ear pain. We've tried every specialist and treatment with no help. I'm not sure what is involved but it is being done by an audiologist.

    I'll let you know what I learn. Maybe we can finally get some answers.

    Oh another thing I learned about vision. The anti-depressant type drugs like Lyrica and neurontin do cause vision problems. When I stopped them my vision got better..not perfect. But it was so bad that I couldn't read for more than 5 minutes.

  • hope that your daughter's tests all went well and that they have been able to discover what is causing her problems.

    What an intricate thing the human body (and especially the brain and spine) is.
  • Well the ear nerve test was something new. They put two electrodes above her eyes. Then they put these ear plug (those squishy ones) in her ears with leads attached. All this is attached to a computer. It sends beeps at different volumes to her ears and records the nerve activity from the electrodes.

    The whole this took a half hour. More setup than anything. Now we wait for her to analyze the results and talk to the doctor. Probably won't hear from him until Tuesday.

    Isn't it sad when you hope they find something just so you know what to do?

  • I think when we have symptoms and don't know what is causing them, we just want to discover the problem so we can formulate a plan to deal with it.

    These medical puzzles can be hard to solve, but knowing what we are dealing with is better than the uncertainty of unsolved puzzles.

    Do let us know, Kris, how things go. I'll be thinking for you. :-) >:D<

  • I was wondering what the results of the ear nerve test that your daughter had were.

    Did you discover what is causing the pain in her ears?

  • I am a little over 2 months post-op from ACDF at C5-7 with plating. I am totally out of my hard collar and I have been driving for two weeks. I've been wearing the cervical bone stimulator everyday for 4 hours since day 10 post-op.

    The last few days, I have also been having some visual disturbances, especially when I turn my head a certain direction. I do have, and have had, the zig-zag-like visual migraines for years, but what I've been experiencing the last few days is different. It's in the lower left field of my vision -- in both eyes -- and it's like seeing a bright light and it smears all along the bottom. Remember when we were kids and we would look at the sun and how bright it was? Bright like that, and when you close your eyes, you can see the color "shadow", as well.

    These posts have given me a question or two to ask my surgeon. Also, the last few days, my back at the T1 level has been really tired and sore. Seeing the comment made by Kris about everything relating to the head traveling through the T1 level makes sense.

    Might also explain why the roof of my mouth, the tip of my tongue and the left side of my face feel numb again and why the vertigo is still present.

    Thank you all for sharing!
  • Once again the tests on my daughter showed nothing. Figures. Now we just wait for another horrid episode and try to find something once again.
  • I have been severely light-headed, dizzy and confused along with some crazy vision issues for about 24 months now which gets worse with physical activity, also extremely hungry all the time. I have noticed my neck is so tight I can barely move it and my spine feels like it has been replaced with metal rods. Also have had almost a total loss of sensation in the face and head. This is very debilitating for me. Am barely hanging on for dear life every day to be honest. Have had all the physical blood tests done, a Cat scan, Holter moniter, EKG's, all are normal or very close. Have an appointment in Feb (Next month) for a Neurologist. Hopefully will give some clarity. Anyways can the neck be causing this and if so is there anything I can do to help the symptoms at all???
  • jbnms99jjbnms99 Posts: 182
    edited 01/17/2014 - 6:11 AM
    From my experience vision disturbance and light headedness is part of having something wrong in your cervical spine. It could be caused from other problems also but with you having neck problems that would be where I would want to start.
    I have some bulging discs in my neck and I have some of the same symptoms.
    Have you had an mri? In my opinion do diagnose a spine problem accurately you need to have an mri. If you feel like you are hanging on for dear life then you need to call your doctor and see if there is anything they can do to get you through until you see your neuro, maybe they can call and get you in faster, or even better have an emergency visit. If you feel as though you are not going to make it even that far maybe a visit to you local emergency room will help.
    I have found great comfort in the people here, they have helped me get through a lot of my problems with this and let me know that I am not alone and they can help you understand what is going on,.
    Please phone your doctor or someone that will help you asap, and keep us informed on how you are doing.
  • darek10001989ddarek10001989 Posts: 2
    edited 09/16/2014 - 4:12 AM
    Post edited to remove for being inappropriate ...Liz spine-health moderator.. Please read the Forum rules
  • Jelly I have damage to my cranial III nerve where it exits at T1/2 and it affects my vision - Normal person have cranial nerves in cranial nerve nuclei there is no linc with Thoratic area. "The greater and lesser occipital nerves can be pinched if you have muscle spasm from the back of the neck. I suffer from this ever since I herniated the disc at C5-C6" you have some right this area can cause Occipital neuralgia(Individuals may notice blurred vision as the pain radiates near or behind the eye.) but cant be from C5-C6, the lowest third occipital nerve is in C3 (his revelance is headeache and eye pain)
    The most common reason of blurred vision are medication for pain, also rare can be do to bow-hunter syndrome- but like i say is rare b-h-s cause blood flow loss when person turn head but this is temporary.
  • I too have had eye problems for about a year now.Circular zigzagging on the outer edges, many styes and pain..I have cervical bulging discs and also thoracic and lumbar, 12 in all. The local hospital says it is osteoporosis and arthritis.
    My eye sight has deteriorated in one year and my optometrist in concerned. The left eye is plus 4 and right eye plus 5..I have been under two neurologists for a year who have not been able to tell me why this is happening. I am going to a hospital in Thailand in two weeks for an appointment with an orthopedic specialist and neurologist. Can anyone advise me please....My stress levels are through the roof....and because I live in a remote area of a developing country I cant find anyone to help me here...hence my trip to Thailand.
  • flowerladyfflowerlady Posts: 35
    edited 01/21/2015 - 9:30 AM
    I developed droopy eyelids (ptosis) about a month before I had an ACDF (C3-5) for myelopathy. It happened overnight. It gets worse when I'm tired. It sounds similar to Horner's syndrome but that is usually caused by the surgery which is not what happened in my case. My NS says that nothing in the cervical spine should affect my eyelids but I'm having my doubts about that. Was just wondering if anyone else has had this problem.
  • I had surgery at C5/C6 for spinal cord compression due to a disc herniation. I have had severe migraine grade headaches since then stemming from the degradation of my cervical nerves. The cause is neck pain and tension in the sub occipital nerve area. If I look up I get visual disturbances and dizziness. Even turning my head or nodding my head will cause these things to happen. They seem to have gotten worse in the last week or two, which is how long I have been taking nortriptilyne . It was supposed to help all of this but I think its making it worse.
    Tracie C
  • Jill AnnJJill Ann Missoula MTPosts: 10
    Could it be cervicogenic headaches? I had radio frequency oblation done at c5-c6. Seems to have helped to a certain extent. I am still having visions problems but without the aura. My neck is usually very stiff when I am having problems. I go in for a post rfa appointment October 5. Will see what he says.
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    edited 09/28/2016 - 2:26 AM
    This is a a very old discussion so I am closing it. Most contributors have not been on the site for a long time.

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
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