Chronic back, neck, shoulder and jaw ache and strange symptoms

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I have an undiagnosed chronic problem, any help much appreciated.. Here goes.. 

I have had a discomfort in the middle of my back for a few years now, slightly to the left of my spine but under the rib cage towards the middle of my left shoulder blade. Ive always shrugged it off but over the last two years things have taken a turn for the worse and i cant get any answers.. two years ago I had a 6 week period of random episodes of what can only be described as a sudden feeling of anxiety accompanied by a feeling of movement even though i was standing or sitting still.. I was sent to cardiology for a full check up, EKG, Echocardiogram, blood tests and holter monitor all came back clear although the episodes had stopped by the time i went for the appointments (NHS waiting times). Also had a brain scan that came back clear. 

The back pain/discomfort continued and i was sent to the musculoskeletal dept. they sent me away with exercises to try.. Then last august (two years after the initial episodes) the symptoms returned with a vengance! Leading up to august I had a feeling of not being able to get a satisfying breath in my left side and my back problem seemed to be getting worse. I was experiencing pain in my left shoulder too. Then in august whilst driving I began to experience pain in my shoulders and had an almighty rush of anxiety and a sense of doom that convinced me I was about to have a heart attack. I went straight to ER and had a full check up, blood tests, EKG came back fine, chest xray fine and i was sent home. I continued to have these episodes of unexplained anxiety/panic along with chest pain/pressure, shoulder pain rib and back pain (all left sided) pain down arms, and the breathing discomfort, several trips to the ER found nothing. Back to cardiology, echo normal, bloods normal, managed 12 minutes on a treadmill stress test, 2 holter monitors found only ectopic beats all normal. 

Back to musculoskeletal unit, MRI of thoracic spine and neck shown only mild to moderate degenerative disc disease in the mid thoracic region. They said that wouldnt account for all my symptoms and discharged me. 

I am now aching and have stiffness along the left side of my thoracic spine area, aching in my left shoulder, aching and stiffness in my neck (left side) aching along the lower left jawline and I am still having random episodes of this feeling of anxiety/panic although i have learned to control it significantly since it started and it passes quite quickly. Symptoms seem to appear more when sitting watching tv, at a computer or driving, not with exertion (with the exeption of this breathing restriction that can bother me at any time, although it eases off when i lie flat) I am taking propanalol (helped a little but not enough) I have done hours of research myself and came accross vitamin d deficiency so had myself tested and i was deficient (levels were at 20) I am taking vit d pills and have been for a few months, not helping! I also read up on magnesium deficiency and got a supplement that has helped with the stiffness in my back for a short while but it is slowly starting to come back even though i continue to take the pills. I have considered the possibility all this is down to plain anxiety and panic disorder but that does not make sense of all the left sided symptoms.. I think it is more likely there is an underlying issue that is causing the anxiety but i am stumped as to where to go next. My Doc isnt much help either. Thanks for reading all this if any of you can relate any help would be much appreciated

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7 Replies

  • Posted

    Has your doc considered vasculitis as a differential diagnosis? 

    Vasculitis is a stealth autoimmune problem that can sneak up on you (usually happens after 45-50 years... not sure your age). 

    It is inflammation of the blood vessels.... and is triggered by infections, drugs/food/chemicals etc. Usually occurs as rash, but it can also cause the symptoms you have. 

    Check with you doctor about vasculitis, and see what he thinks. 

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    • Posted

      I suppose its gotta be worth mentioning.. Im 38 by the way. Ive considered the possibility of lyme disease too. It comes to something when you have to try and diagnose yourself !! Thanks for you reply
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  • Posted

    Do the problems exist when in one position or when moving or both?
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    • Posted

      Hi Scott, The problems almost always happen when sitting, whether on the couch, at a desk or driving. With the exeption of two occasions, both was when walking when i got a hot flash down both arms and the anxiety rush. The episodes when sitting have been numerous, probably 50 or 60 times in 8 months. Aching back neck and jaw comes and goes mainly again when sitting
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  • Posted

    Hello.

    I have been having the exact same symtoms but with episodes of sky high blood pressure. The doctors don't know what to do with me but quite frankly, most of them repeat a test or two that had already been run and then tell reccommend for me to see another specialist.

    All of my symptoms are worse after I have been sitting for a while. I have cervical stenosis, unrelently pain in right rib cage, (front and back)

    tingling chin, warm nerve type pain going down the back of my thighs, pelvic pain, and (this is weird) blood pressure spikes after bowel movements.

    I have been let down by so many doctors but I continue to search for an answer so I can have my life back. This started three and a half years ago but the past fours months have been the worst.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

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    • Posted

      traveling nerve pain sounds like they might do an EMG/Nerve Conduction test next.

      I have had quite extensive testing done to include one specific DBA and then whole exome testing.

      They found that I have a gene for ALS 19 so are following me yearly there.

      Apart from that I also have had a Global Assisted Metabolic Pathway test or MAPS. What that confirmed was that I have a mitochondrial function that pertains to energy. When your muscles call for energy it is normally processing fat stores but for me it sometimes breaks down muscle for energy.

      This happens quite often when I use some groups of muscles......they fatigue easily. Going up a flight of stairs may feel like I've ran a marathon.

      If I am In a position for very long my muscles will get sore as well.

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    • Posted

      Hi Laura, Just an update on my situation which may be of use to you.. I have paid to see a private proffesor of cardiology and although he agrees this is not cardiac in origin he suspects I may have pheochromocytoma, which is basicaly a tumor of the adrenal glands. I read up on it and it matches my symptoms. I am scheduled for a MRI scan on June 14th. Maybe this is something you might want to look into. Good luck
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