4 months: Chronic headache, strangle feeling in throat, muscle twitches, fatigue, panic attacks...

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First time ever doing this, but I'm scared and confused these days, so thank you in advance for any insight.

  • 36 years old, white, male, 185 lbs
  • No current medications
  • Have stopped drinking alcohol and caffeine for 3 months
  • Non-smoker
  • Was fairly active before issues – ran about 12-15 miles per week, lifted at gym a few times per week
  • Have only visited the ER (twice) and my GP (3 times but he is unmotivated) since my issues started

I have had symptoms for the last 4 months that include:

  • Chronic headache (by occipital bone in back of head, by temples and front of head) that is there when I wake up, everyday.
  • A strangle feeling around my neck and a tight lump sensation in throat (doesn't feel like the Globus feeling of nervous). Sometimes it extends into my sternum area. Getting worse.
  • A deep, dull ache in my upper back that seems to correspond to the throat.
  • Chest tightness.
  • Overall muscle stiffness and weakness.
  • Non-painful twitches all over my body, mainly in my legs and hip area.
  • Joint stiffness and frequent popping.
  • Fatigue, no matter how much rest.
  • Seemingly all of my muscles tense up constantly. Find myself being aware of my mouth muscles - clenched and forcing myself to relax them.
  • "Skipped' heart beats. Had an ECG that revealed a "sinus rhythm with sinus arrhythmia with first degree AV block”.
  • Anxiety, higher than normal.
  • No vomiting, no visible bleeding, regular bowel movements.
  • Depression that doesn't feel environmentally driven but more related to illness.

How I got here:

I had drank alcohol 3-4 days during a week long Florida trip in early June of 2018. Also had coffee daily while there. Normally at home I would consume 1 cup of coffee a day and drink moderately to heavy 1-2 times per week. While there I went to the beach almost daily, went running a few times in the mornings, and played tennis once during noontime. Upon waking up on the last day of the trip I noticed a dull headache in the back of my head, with skipped heart beats and tingling in my hands when the beat would skip. I stopped for coffee in the car on the way back home from the trip. About an hour later I felt a tightness throughout my muscles and tried to loosen my neck by turning it sideways to the right, however I feel I went way too far. Moments after turning it I felt detached, got very nervous, nauseous, palms were sweaty, with a warmness in the middle of my back. Had to stop the car and walk around but nothing helped. Upon returning I gave up alcohol and caffeine for a few weeks only to return to it. On July 12th, after drinking the night before, I felt kind of dizzy and not myself. After having a 1/3 of a coffee at work I immediately went into a substance-induced panic where I lost coordination, had a cold sweat, couldn't sense my skin being touched, very detached and hardly aware of where I was, and unable to calm myself down. I tried to write on a piece of paper and my handwriting and movement was drastically quicker and I couldn't slow it down. It lasted a good 15-20 minutes before it lowered in intensity, but I was exhausted after. The following day, trying to to taper off of caffeine, I had a milder black tea instead of coffee. About an hour later, when I was working out at the gym, it happened again, all the same panic attack symptoms. Those were the only two panic attacks since. However, after being put on a muscle relaxer and Advil a few weeks later, I developed a bad stomach problem, where I lost my appetite, fairly constipated, no energy and slowly got a bad lump feeling in my throat. Depression set in and I had no motivation to do anything. The stomach issues seemed to go away, but the lump feeling remained and turned into both a lump sensation and tight band around my neck with a strangle feeling, which remains today.

Tests done at emergency room in August:

  • ECG: first degree AV block
  • Baseline blood tests appear normal for kidney and liver function
  • Cholesterol was 127/38 with Triglycerides at 116


  • In early November my blood pressure reading was 119/86 and then 135/79 a few minutes later. Pulse at 70.
  • Read that Magnesium Glycinate might help me. Around 11/5 I took 400mg and became extremely tired and detached. Took 200mg the following day and felt an electric shock in my chest as soon as it kicked in, got very tired and was detached. Stopped taking it.
  • Take a high-quality pro-biotic daily and a whole food multi-vitamin. Have not taken either for a week.

Other info:

  • I had a substance-induced panic attack in 2007 (age 25) with a sustained heart rate of about 190 (I think) for about 30 minutes and needed medical assistance from an ENT in an ambulance. They administered Adenosine, which leveled me. Immediately after treatment I developed what's known as “visual snow”, which remains today.
  • I suffered from migraines with aura since I was young, but they have tapered off since I've been an adult. Hangovers from alcohol are brutal.

I think that about covers it. I truly do appreciate any help that can be given.

Thank you.

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