In 2009, at age 28, I had an episode in


Q: In 2009, at age 28, I had an episode in which I had severe neck and head pain, lethargy, difficulty speaking, and photophobia. This lasted about 3-4 days. I have never had migraines, so this was very unusual for me. I had an MRI that only showed two non-specific punctuate foci of white matter disease in right frontal lobe. They also performed an EEG after all symptoms had resolved, that was normal. Off and on after that, I would have small episodes that would last maybe and hour or so, of trouble speaking. I just ignore it and keep on living, after all, they told me nothing is wrong with me. In Oct. of 2013, I was having severe neck pain and lower back pain. After a week of this pain, I developed a shingles out break on my right leg (lateral to my knee). I was treated with acyclovir, the shingles went away within a week or two. About 2 weeks later, developed severe neck pain and lower back pain. Within a week of this pain, I developed another outbreak of shingles. This time on my right buttocks. This has continued to occur over the past year and a half. The longest I went without and out break was about 5 months. But I've had outbreaks in oct 2013, nov 2013, dec 2013, jan 2014, July 2014, August 2014, sept 2014, oct 2014, November 2014, and dec 2014. All outbreaks begin with severe neck and back pain the week before. Around nov. 2014, I asked my doctor to give me something that would help with the pain, by nov of 2014 I began having constant burning in my rt foot because of all the shingles outbreaks. He prescribed Neurotin and decided to try Cymbalta to see if help deal with stress, which is the apprentice cause of all these outbreaks. In dec. 2014, about 3 weeks into taking the Neurotin and Cymbalta, I started noticing that I was becoming increasingly clumsy, running into things, tripping over my own feet, and beginning to stutter. My left foot eventually stopped working, I could not extend or flex it at all and the stuttering was so bad that I could not talk. I went to ER, they did a Ct of head, ruled out a stroke and said I was having a distonic reaction to the meds. They told me to stop taking them and go home. I stopped taking all meds immediately. It took about 4-5 days for all the symptoms to resolve. Everything was fine until last week. I began having severe neck pain and lower back pain. I noticed increased clumsiness. I developed a really bad headache and bargain having bilateral leg weakness... Don't really know how to explain it but when I walk my legs don't want to go. I began stuttering really bad. This kind of freaked me out because they said last time this happened it was a reaction to the meds, and this time I'm not taking any meds. I went to ER, they did an MRI. It showed nothing acute, but "Right frontal lobe sub cortical solitary highly nonspecific hyper intensity. Differential possibilities include minimal chronic micro vascular ischemia, chronic migraine headaches and much less likely demyelinating cause." They did an EEG and told me a neurologist would be in touch with me about the results. However, the next day I went back to the ER because I could no longer speak at all, no words would come out, not even a stutter. The neurologist was called out, he wanted my EEG repeated because it showed something abnormal. The second EEG showed the same abnormality. But the neurologist came see me in ER and told me that it nothing medically is wrong with me and that I need to see a psychiatrist. I was sent home. He said that some people's EEG's are just outside of normal range and that that is normal for them. Ok I get that, but my EEG in 2009 was in normal range, so why would that change?? It has been two days since my last ER visit, my speech is coming back, but I'm still stuttering and my legs still don't want to go. I'm still having really bad headaches and neck pain. What should I do???


A:   Hi.
Thanks for your query and an elucidate history in a very chronological way to make a clear picture of what may be an additional problem that is causing you to suffer so much.
The presence of severe neck pain and back pain every time arouses me to have a suspicion about the spinal cord affection. You had what appeared like the outbreaks of Shingles again and again indicating affection of the peripheral nervous system connected with spinal cord. All outbreaks began with severe neck and back pain the week before.
This indicates that you should have an MRI of the whole spine on the most modern MRI Machine and it is possible that a diagnosis is be made.
Another tests that may help are:
Spinal fluid analysis done by withdrawing from the spinal canal.
And most important is the second opinion of another Neurologist, preferable known for the spinal problems or a center dealing with spinal diseases (if available in your area).

I hope this will help you get the diagnosis.
Psychiatrist's opinion should also be sought, but only after the MRI of the whole spine and Second opinion of another Neurologist.
Stop worrying about the EEG changes. Concentrate on having a proper diagnosis.

I hope this answer helps you to get an early diagnosis and proper treatment.
I shall be waiting for your feedback on the reports of MRI whole Spine, related tests and Second opinion of another Neurologist.

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