I am not looking for a diagnosis, but I am concerned about a series of symptoms that started in February. I am wondering if anyone has had the same types of issues as me, and if so, what they did about it. I apologize in advance for the length of this, but I feel that it's all very important.
I am a 34 y/o male, 167 pounds. Former smoker (quit after 16 years at 32), and formerly slightly overweight for past 5 years.
Began drastic lifestyle change in June of 2016: Lost 40 lbs (22 BMI now), frequently attend gym: cardio, weightlifting, etc... 5x/week.
Approx February 25th: While performing pull-ups, felt straining in my neck on each eccentric, and then a gentle but pain-free popping in left clavicle. Later that night, checked blood pressure and found left side 20 mm/Hg higher than right side. Concerned about blockage, went to doc next day. Was told both sides normal and possible operator error.
One day later (Feb 26th): Felt tremendous intermittent "stabbing pain" in chest and shoulder was extremely tight. Symptoms off and on all week.
One week later (approx. Mar. 5): Went on a 6 mile-run. After one-mile, felt chest tightness, but soon followed with chest getting loose. More I ran, better things got. By end of run, tightness almost completely gone.
Approx. Mar. 6: Chest and shoulder tightness and stabbing pain terrible.
Approx. Mar. 7: While at work, turned head and felt pop in left side of neck. Left Lower jaw immediately went numb up to approx. earlobe? Subsided after about 1 hour but head felt impossible to turn
Approx. Mar. 8th: Numbness, tingling radiated into fingers. Went to doctor and explained ALL of these things. She surmised heart attack because of all combined symptoms. Gave me EKG, but EKG showed perfectly normal, healthy heart. Assumed I pinched a nerve, and gave me muscle relaxers and told me to start PT in two weeks if no relief.
Note: Heavy cardio like a long, intense bike ride greatly relieves symptoms. This has been constant throughout this entire ordeal.
Approx. Mar. 13th: While getting out of shower, felt mild tingling in both left and right feet
Approx. Mar. 20th: Started PT. Made minor improvements. Again, brutal cardio workouts seem to be best. Running not yet an option but hard biking, elliptical or even stair climber helps a lot.
Approx. Mar. 25th: While at PT, therapist turned my head much further than I felt comfortable. RIGHT Eyelid started blinking like crazy whenever I "blinked hard" and hasn't stopped since.
**All of April:**
-Continued PT, with gradual, minor improvements. Consistently working on shoulder girdle ROM, neck ROM, and strengthening exercises. Also stretching pecs. Some time during all of this, noticed that back and chest muscles feel like they are tearing while doing stretches. No actual tearing happening, but rather a feeling as though the muscles are made of bread and that bread is being ripped apart. This is very hard to describe, and that's the best analogy I can come up with. Also noticed that SCM muscles are sometimes very tense and taut
-Started running again (small distances < 4 miles), mild weightlifting, but not back to prior activity level. Again, raising body temperature up really helps a lot. Probably 90% overall improvement of symptoms while exercising. After cool down, get locked up again within a few hours.
- Right Eyelid twitch persisted but I did notice that putting pressure on location of where neck popped (still tender) relieves it. Please note that eyelid twitch is right side but "injury" happened on left side. I've been told this is the transverse process of the C3 or C4 vertebrate.
-Left trap, and entire shoulder area have been so tight this entire time that I am completely uncomfortable almost 24 hours a day. Again, exercise helps a lot, but relief is only temporary
-Very seldom receive mild numbness/weakness in left bicep, but it is so infrequent I consider it a non-issue.
-I can turn my head now, but without full RoM. However, whenever turning my head to the right, it feels like a taut string is connected to my left knee.
- Eyelid twitch STILL going on although I've discovered that massaging the massetter muscle of my right jaw can help it. That being said, too much massaging or too little massaging will trigger it or make it worse.
- May 5th: Tried dry needling on traps and shoulder. Although sore for several days after, I could tell there was tremendous loosening of the muscles. This was first major long-term relief of shoulder and neck tightness in months. Tightness did eventually return 1-2 weeks later but not as severe as before. However, within a few hours of dry needling, I immediately felt lower back pain and sciatic nerve pain in my left buttocks running into left quad and into foot. Brief and momentary episodes, but disconcerting nonetheless.
-May 13th: While shaving, felt left side of face had brief numbness, and tinnitus in left ear.
-May 15th: Performed dry needling on massetter muscle in jaw as well as hips and buttocks. Helped a ton and have not had any more symptoms in legs or buttocks with sciatic nerve. Eyelid STILL twitching like crazy.
-May 25th: Flew to Phoenix (I live in Southeast). Noticed that eyelid twitch was present but not as severe. Neck and shoulders tightest they've been since dry needling. Suspect this was from uncomfortable airplane seat. Someone mentioned to me that TMJ will cause eyelid twitch and recommended a dental guard to sleep in.
-May 27th: Came back from Phoenix, and eyelid twitch started again. Wore dental guard to bed. Woke up and eye twitch not present for 3-4 hours. Felt jaw muscle lightly spasm and then eyelid twitch started again but not as bad as before.
So, there you have it. I have had shoulder, neck, lower and upper back pain, chest pain. I have had tingling and numbness in both arms but not necessarily at the same time, and those episodes have been brief. I have had my eye twitching for nearly two months, with only very minor relief in between. Dry needling has been effective for relief of some symptoms but not all. Exercise, particularly getting heart rate way up, seems to help the most. Hot showers help too. I can still lift weights (although DOMS is brutal), and I can run, bike, and do other cardio. I'm not where I was at previously, but I can hold my own still, so I'm not crippled by all of this... Just extremely uncomfortable ALL the time.
**My question:** My PT seems to think I have some variation of thoracic outlet syndrome, a "stretched" dura, or some combination therein. I have worried myself sick as to the possible causes of this, but don't know who to see? My PCP seems aloof and keeps wanting to prescribe muscle relaxers. My PT seems OK and has helped get some RoM back, but I don't trust her diagnosis.
If anyone could make a suggestion as to what kind of doctor I should see, what might be causing this, or just give me some helpful pointers, I would be eternally grateful. No... I do not trust chiropractors at all.
My insurance sucks, so part of the reason I have not continually been following up with doctors is the expense. I have no idea if this is an orthopedic issue causing neurological problems, or neurological problems referring orthopedic issues. I swear the entire thing started with the pull-ups at the gym. From there... it just got worse and worse.