Undiagnosed : Brain fog, light sensitivity, neck stiffness, headaches, and other issues

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I'm a 27 year-old, active male with no real previous health issues besides asthma. About 2 months ago, I started experiencing symptoms seemingly around the same time:

- Neck stiffness on the back of both sides of my neck (if I turn my head, I sometimes experience a shooting pain up to the top of my head, on the right side only)

- Extreme light sensitivity and blurry vision issues, especially when it's dark (I'm more bothered by traffic lights, car taillights, fluorescent lights, etc. than a TV screen)

- Cognitive issues I could best describe as brain fog (having trouble speaking as fluently as I used to, finding the "right words", memory issues, feel like I'm "floating,", etc.)

- Headaches, especially after trying to focus (my brain starts to feel like it's running "hot," almost like it's overheating)

- Fainted for the first time in my life last week. Urine also seems darker - wondering dehydration.

- General fatigue, no motivation or excitement for things I've previously enjoyed, etc.

These issues have been putting a massive strain on my life. I can't describe how frustrated and hopeless I feel when the symptoms haven't gone away after 2 months. I don't feel like myself at all and it's been extremely difficult maintaining any semblance of a balanced work, social, and personal life.

So far, I have done the following:

- Standard blood and urine labs with primary care doctor: only issue discovered was slightly low vitamin D which I have been supplementing since then. Also checked for Lyme disease which came up negative. No outstanding theories.

- Eye test at optometrist: slightly less than 20/20, have been wearing prescription reading glasses since then to alleviate strain when working on computer. Did not think that eyes were root cause.

- Chiropractor: Receiving back/neck adjustments and stim/muscle work. Have experienced slight relief with neck pain but overall stiffness still persists. Chiropractor's theory is that neck is causing issues with the nerves running up to my head/eyes. I am 6' 3" and have admittedly always had horrible posture.

- Neurologist: Did binocular eye tests, neck ultrasound, other tests (not even sure what they were for). Got brain MRI which came back normal. Prescribed amitriptyline and topiramate which didn't help and I have since stopped taking. Neurologist's original theory was tension headaches, which I was doubtful of. When I first started experiencing these symptoms, I wasn't really getting headaches. It was more of a constant brain fog vs. a traditional headache. The headaches seem to come when I try to focus or am in public for a while.

- Infectious diseases specialist: no real theories. Also tested for Lyme which came back negative.

A few other thoughts and notes:

- One of my main outstanding questions is I'm not sure if the neck issues are a symptom or the cause. I've continued going to the chiropractor in case it is the cause, and it's the only symptom I've really felt any relief for so far (although I'm not sure if that's from the chiropractic work or the naproxen that I started taking around the same time)

- Having difficultly falling asleep at night. Seems like I'm almost seeing a light visual snow in dark rooms.

- Caffeine/alcohol seems to affect my brain way more easily than before. A small amount of coffee will zonk me out or I'll get drunk off of nothing

- Blood flow issues possibility? There was one time I was sitting down for a while recently and my feet went completely numb, number than they ever had before in my life.

I feel like I have a tough time presenting my symptoms to a doctor given that some of them are vague. I should also note that before these symptoms started, it was the least stressed I had ever been at work and I've always considered myself to be a confident person, so I really don't think this is a mental anxiety, depression, etc. type issue. I can't overstate how physical these symptoms are (although I realize mental issues could lead to physical symptoms).

I'm not even sure I'm posting this in the right group given that the problem is undiagnosed, but this has been ruining my life. I want my life back! Would really appreciate any help, advice, or suggestions, as I don't know where else to turn. At this point, there really aren't any outstanding theories from any of my doctors. I'm planning on getting a neck MRI and going to an ENT this week to make sure sinus issues aren't causing this, but really not sure how to move forward otherwise.


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  • Posted

    This really does sound like a cervical issue. I'm afraid of Chiropractors because one of them injured me once. Consider physical therapy or maybe check out some P/T videos on Youtube if you can't do that.  I've had some relief from neck pain. You also might want to up your magnesium intake along with Vit. D, it might help with some of your symptoms. Some people just need more than the blood tests might indicate. Try chelated magnesium, it's easier on your stomach and start with a low 1000 mg dose and work your way up. 

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  • Posted

    I had the same problem right after I was on naproxen aand went to a chiro my life was normal but in a matter of a few days change and it's been 5 months of hell I feel for you so much I was never afraid to do anything my life was perfect then the day back in June it change forever still trying to figure it out .. it's either your neck or u had bad side effects off the meds I was on them for 30 days and the longer I was on them the more my body was changing withing 8 days on them I was bleeding and didnt relieze it kept taking them for 3 weeks more

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