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Heaviness in neck, back and chest, pressure in the ears, cough. How can the physical symptoms be treated?

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Hello - I am a 51 year old woman, fit and healthy. For the last couple of weeks have been having a heaviness in my neck, head, upper back and chest, feel as though I am being pushed forward when I sit and feel generally off balance. This is not dizziness as the room doesn't spin; it's more of an XXXXXXX feeling in my body, sort of like I'm floating. My ears feel full as well. Pressure in them and back of head. No throat issues. Because of symptoms, thought it might be heart-related but blood pressure and heart rate are good, blood tests all good except a bit low in B-12, and EKG shows 'weird' electrical system (inverted T wave) but negative for enzymes. Am getting follow up with internist but am now thinking this is not a cardiac issue, but possibly neurological? The feeling does not worsen on exertion; in fact, it often feels better when I move around. It also felt better today when I pressed hard on the back of my neck/top of spine for about 15 minutes. Any thoughts would be appreciated. thanks
Ps I also have a slight cough occasionally especially when i first get up but no other cold or flu like symptoms. No acid reflux. Sometimes I feel an XXXXXXX hiccup or bubble like bursting at the top of my windpipe or esophagous. Have been feeling more fatigued than usual but this could be because I'm low on B12. Usually on lying down the floating/being pushed forward feeling goes away but last night it didn't and in fact woke me up a couple of times. When I changed position so I was lying on my side and my spine and neck were slightly twisted, it felt better.
I am not particularly stressed right now and I don't think these symptoms are psychosomatic. I am a lawyer (for 25 years) and used to handling stress. If it is stress related it would be the first time in my life that I have had such acute physical symptoms from stress (which I don't think I have at the moment anyway).
Recent (last week) chest x XXXXXXX was negative.
Thank you
Posted Thu, 5 Jul 2012 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Shiva Kumar R 11 hours later
Hello and thank you for sending your question.

Your question is a good one and I will work on providing you with some information and recommendations regarding the symptoms you are experiencing.

Regarding the heaviness in the head, shoulders and the back associated with a sense of imbalance, possibilities I can consider in you are cervicogenic dizziness associated with early degenerative cevical spine disease. Compression on the spinal cord can cause imbalance due to posterior coulmn dysfunction. Your fall could have triggered early spine disease and is probably associated with slip disc.

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo is common in people with fall or trauma and can present only with a sense of fullness in the ears associated with balance problems. Dizziness when mild or bilateral can present with a feeling of heavines in the cervical region along with a sense of imbalance.

Rarely if you have been suffering from migraine headache's in the past we can consider vestibular migraine as other possibility.

Considering the symptoms of fullness in the ears, imbalance without real vertigo and history of fall in the past I would consider the possibility of vestibular disease followed by cevicogenic dizzinees.

My recommendation would be for you to see your Neurologist and ENT surgeon for a good physical examination and consultation. Ear examination, audiometry and MRI of the cervical spine may be required as a part of the investigation. Anxiety and stress if associated with fibromyalgia can present with similar problems.

I thank you again for submitting your question. I hope you find my response to be both helpful and adequate.

If you have any additional concerns regarding your question I would be happy to address them.


Dr Shiva Kumar R
Consultant Neurologist & Epileptologist.
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