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Has anyone else had severe symptoms from increased intracranial pressure? Headaches, face numbness,

BrihtwulfBBrihtwulf Posts: 69
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:52 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hello Everyone,

I have just been looking into more of my symptoms before my appointment with the neurosurgeon this Thursday, and I was wondering if anyone else had experience with similar symptoms to what I'm having due to increased intracranial pressure from cerebro-spinal fluid blockage.

I already have a history of spinal and auto-immune issues (I'm 32 years old and of average weight, if that matters). I have spondyloarthropathy/arthritis and Crohn's Disease. The doctor has also suggested I may have carpal tunnel and to look into that after this current and more pressing spinal problem. I have already had 2 surgeries on my spine, but they were in my lower back. Discectomy, then later a fusion surgery at the L5-S1 level. I've also had two surgeries on my left shoulder to repair arthritic damage there.

Currently I have two ruptured discs in my neck (C5-C6, and C6-C7), and an osteophyte (bone spur) complex on my 5th vertebra. The report categorized it as causing "moderate" increased intracranial pressure and spinal stenosis. My neurological symptoms have been these:

- Headaches: Mostly at the front and sides of my head. Occasional sharp, severe pain that only lasts for a few seconds.
- Dizziness: Usually comes along with the headaches, but not enough that I fall down or anything.
- Nausea: Varying in severity, but has not been enough to actually cause me to vomit.
- Tinitis: This one is a little weird. I hear clicks and snaps in my ears when my spine "cracks" or my vertebrae pop. The sound is much like what you hear if you're underwater and something clicks. I also hear my heartbeat in my ear with increased activity or lying on a pillow. I hear it in the side that's put to the pillow.
- Mood Issues: I seem to have rather random bouts of sadness, depression, and irritability.
- Facial Tingling/Numbness: This began a few months ago, where the left side of my face would begin to tingle and feel rather numb. It usually accompanies increased neck pain and most often happens when I'm lying down. This has on occasion gone down to my left shoulder, arm, and hand as well.
- Eye Pressure: I occasionally get a feeling of pressure and soreness behind my left eye.

I originally had a "spine rehab specialist" tell me that those symptoms could not be related to my spine problems because the actual damage is at the joints too low to affect those nerves. However, after reading about the pressure issue, I found that all those symptoms are associated with the increase. So, here are my questions for anyone else like this:

1. Have any of you had similar problems to these?
2. Did you have surgery later on?
3. Did surgery help?
4. Did your problems return later on?

Any other insight, advice, or opinions about what I might be looking at with this condition would be GREATLY appreciated! Thanks everyone!



  • firstly, what test did you have that stated moderate increased intracranial pressure

    do you have compression of cord, CSF ,as not all your details are stated, so makes it hard to understand

    your dr is right about facial numbness that arises from cranial nerves

    i have headaches, pain on coughing in head, dizzyness, nausea

  • The test that referred to the increase in pressure was the MRI. There is stenosis at both levels but neither level is impeding the spinal signal according to the MRI. The pressure is from the CSF being blocked.

    I have also read that increases in pressure can cause various neurological problems including those related to the eyes, head, and face. There isn't any damage to the very top of my spine and it the facial priblems only seem to happen when my neck is extremely sore or uncomfotable, like the middle of the night.

    So, after I read multiple sources about the many things increased intracranial pressure can cause, it explained a lot ot my symptoms and disproves the doctor who seemed to think that it isn't possible for me to have facial problems with my condition. But in fact, with elevated intracranial pressure, it is.

    There are apparently even people with a condition where for unknown reasons they suffer from increased intracranial prssure. I learned after reading about that how many things it causes. It can even give you a false "runny nose" that is actually spinal fluid leaking through pressure-eroded nasal or sinus cavities! Yikes!

    Hopefully the neurosurgeon this week can help sort things out better. He's supposed to be very good from all I've spoken to.

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  • WoW! I am so happy to see a post like this. I am not the only one. OK my "numbness" is a little different. Not so much pain but like when you have dental work & the numbing agent starts to wear off. I get this in all areas of my head not at once, just here & there but frequently. I also have a lot of facial numbness especially from my nose down to my chin. I have not noted any specific times or positions that this happens. It comes often & honestly getting to be more & more all the time. I always have a headache. My neck pops with every turn.
    I have has acdf c5/6 almost 3 years ago. Have been getting worse & worse all the time. I have now been let go from my job, because I just can not work the full time hours.
    Please let me know what you find out about your own condition. I would like to know as to where or who I myself should see for this.
  • interesting

    i do no some people that can have chronic raised ICP from unknown cause

    its when it gets to a certain elevation, which there are tests to measure this, that can have serious consequenes

    let us no what the NS says

  • Well, I had my appointment with the neurosurgeon today. He came right out and said that it was a pretty clear necessity for a multi-level fusion due to the 2 ruptured discs and bone spurs on my 5th vertebra. We discussed the neurological symptoms, and he said that it could be due to the increase in intracranial pressure, but that the surgery would relieve the pressure the herniations and bone spurs are putting on the spinal cord. So, it's kind of a "wait and see what happens after surgery" situation.

    However, if after recovering from the surgery, the neurological symptoms haven't been relieved, we'll be looking into it further. I wonder what kind of testing they do to check the pressure levels, other than whatever it is they look at on the MRI...

    My surgery is scheduled for May 16th, the soonest they could get me in there. I'm a little freaked out about a multi-level fusion, and in my neck this time. But my wife and I are trying to be as optimistic about it as possible and just try to stay positive that it will have a good outcome and no complications.

    Now I just need to get through another week and a half of worsening symptoms and try to stay distracted.

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  • Sounds like your appointment today went well. I know that none of us relish the idea of surgery, but at least your neurosurgeon has a plan and hopefully that will deal with the problem.

    16th May is soon!! Now you can focus on getting everything ready, doing some fun stuff, eating some favourite meals and deciding what you will do to amuse yourself during your recovery.

    What levels are you having fused?

    We will be hear to support you through your recovery and will be looking forward to hearing how you get on.

  • It's a good thing that the surgery is in about a week. It just seems that things have rapidly goyten worse over the last few months since my trip to the ER with numbness and racing heart rate. Even laying on my back has become painful with my memory foam pillow. It feels like that ie putting too much pressure on my spine and it really hurts after a few minutes.

    So, I spend my resting time on my side.

    I'm pretty concerned about the recovery and how bad it might be with a multi-level fusion. Also, I heard I could be out the next day. Is that usual or does it often require a longer hospital stay?

  • Hi all. This is my first time here and I am hoping for some insight. I had an ACDF on c-6 - c-7 due to severe arm and neck pain from ruptured disc, stenosis and bone spurs on April 13th, 2015. Arm and neck pain and movement are much better, I have an occasional painful flair-up but was told it was due to muscle and nerve "memory" and will hopefully go away. Ive had muscle burning and pain from over doing, but nothing that seems odd. I take anywhere from 1/2 to 2 Norco 10/325 in a 24 hour period. Problem is, for the past 2 weeks I have had pain in my upper left chest and back and the abdominal area below the sternum with wicked heart palpitations and altered heart rate. It felt like my heart was beating out of my chest and it was so tight and I had a bit of a cough...so I ended up going to the ER . The blood work and EKG came back that there was no heart attack signs or symptoms. I have also gotten the swollen feeling back in my throat like I had a few weeks after surgery. Has anyone else had this happen? I have read a little about possible vagus nerve problems, but I am far from an expert. The chest pain and back pain feel like Ive been shot through and through. I was wondering if it could be because the esophagus and muscles were moved from left to the right when they went in the front of my neck.
    Any insight would be appreciated.
  • SukhreSSukhre San Diego, CAPosts: 205

    I would be very interested to know how yours went. I had headache and facialnumbness and then it went to other places. I wish I can follow all your old posts.

    MRI shows C4-C7 severe steonosis. Pain in hand.
  • I've had C5&6 fused 2003 and a ACDF of C6 &7 in Jan 2015. I've had severe tinnitus which has gotten worse. But I also have TMJ and my jaws snap, crackle, and pop. I didn't know that it could be related to the cervical pain. I also have the facial numbness on the right side. It sometimes accompanies the auroras just prior to a migraine. Does anyone else feel like a clutz because their world feels like a horse w/ blinders on? I have limited movement to the point of only being able to see in front of me. I run into things all the time. I am not spaciously aware of things around me. So I'm apt to turn and walk into something. I swear I have several concusions on top of everything else. I just joke about it, but It really bothers me. I get nervous when driving. I am so cautious.
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