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Facial & Upper Arms Numbness - not Psychosomatic

Hi. I'm a 44 year old female suffering from prolonged facial numbness for over 3 1/2 years now. I'm at lost on what to do next as I’ve gone for a full blood analysis along with MRI of the brain and neck scan TWICE. My neurologist reckons that my condition is psychosomatic. I know my condition is REAL, and it’s definitely NOT psychosomatic. I wish someone tell me if my condition can progress into some life threatening condition.

I experience persistent facial numbness (right side) that radiates down my right arm up to the elbow. The severity of the numbness worsen whenever I’m under tremendous stress, but it never goes away even in times when I’m “stress-free”.

My neck scan showed that I suffer marked cervical spasm and early cervical spondylosis. C3/4 mild postero-central disc protrusion mildly indenting the thecal sac. Mild dessication of all cervical discs. No root foraminal narrowing seen. My Question : Could this be partly contributing to my persistent numbness?

My brain MRI reported multiple T2 and FLAIR hyperintense spots in the white matter of frontal & temporal lobes bilaterally. Midline brain structure, basal cisterns and cortical sulci are normal. Non-specific findings of white matter hyperintense spots may represent ischemic foci or DEMYELINATION. No acute infarction seen. No evidence of mass. My Question : Could demyelination disease be contributing to my numbness as well?

My bloodworks results is as below:
AntiNuclear Antibody (ANA) exhibits CENTROMERE pattern, with a titre of 2,560.
ds-DNA antibodies titre is negative at 0.46 IU/mL.
Anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies C-ANCA and P-ANCA are both negative.
Lupus anti-coagulant time is 33.33 sec (control time 30.5 sec), Russell viper venom 1.1, and Lupus anti-coagulant is negative.
Complement C3 and C4 are normal with a reading of 1.11g/L and 0.31g/L respectively.
Extractable Nuclear Ag including SS-A (Ro), SS-B (La), RNP, Sm, Scl-70, Jo-1 are all negative.

I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s many years back but my TSH, T3, T4 readings are under control now with 75mg Oroxine (levothyroxine) daily. My Question : Could my elevated ANA be due to my pre-existing Hashimoto’s? Could it be an indication of some auto-immune disorder that contribute to demyelination and my numbness? My neurologist couldn’t explain the highly elevated readings or link it to my numbness.

My neurologist couldn’t find any link of my facial and arm numbness to the reports above. Her diagnosis of the facial numbness : PSYCHOSOMATIC.

Can someone please help me understand what I’m suffering from?



  • I hope you will understand that as none of us here are trained doctors, only spinal patients ourselves, we cannot answer your questions. In fact members are not allowed to try to interpret other members reports. If your doctor hasn't found out what the problem is, then untrained patients certainly won't be able to.

    I know how worrying it can be when we don't feel that our symptoms have been correctly diagnosed and there are other members who have had to wait or are still waiting to find out what is causing their symptoms.

    I was in this position and was referred to a neurologist by my neurosurgeon because I had so many symptoms and he was not sure that I didn't have more than one thing going on. My spine MRI scan definately did show problems in my neck, but some of my symptoms were not the usual indications of neck problems.

    I had a brain scan and was tested for MS along with some other neurological conditions that they didn't name. In the end it was decided that all my symptoms could be coming from a high cervical 'lesion'. I was told that this meant cord compression. I have now had a 2 level ACDF, although I do still have several of my symptoms. I am back on nerve pain tablets that are helping a lot. I am still hopeful that things will improve as my nerves heal from the surgery.

    Are you in a position where you could get another opinion? If so, and still nothing definate is found that could lead to a diagnosis, then hopefully that will set your mind at rest that there is nothing serious going on.
    I think that sometimes doctors who can't match up symptoms with any particular diagnosis 'wait and see'. Perhaps their thinking is that if it is something then with time the symptoms will get more obvious and then they will be able to reach a diagnosis. Meanwhile we feel that we are left waiting and worrying about what is wrong.

    I hope that you will have your mind put at rest soon and understand how worrying this must be for you.

  • Thank you JellyHall for your kind advice.

    I've had another brain MRI and neck scan results back today, and it appeared that the results were pretty much the same as 3 1/2 years before, with the exception of the appearance of a few more white matter hyperintense spots on the brain MRI. It appears like it's not something that "aggressive". I'm worried that if it's not properly diagnosed, my condition may progress into something more severe.

    I reckon if the 2 rheumatologists and 1 neurologist couldn't diagnose my condition, I may have to consult others. I just have a nagging feeling that the doctors in Malaysia are not experienced enough. All they could tell me is that it's an autoimmune disorder (elevated ANA - I didn't need 3 specialists to tell me that).

    I wish you a speedy recovery, and hope that you wont need the pain tablets soon.

    Bless you!
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