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Can anyone help this woman with numbness in her limbs, blurry vision at times, and other symptoms?

By Expert HERWriter March 29, 2009 - 11:56pm
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Hello everyone,

Recently I received an email from a woman (you'll see her post below), and her plight really touched me. I did a lot of research on her symptoms and she wrote back to say her new specialist feels most, if not all of this is being caused by poor posture and having to carry her 60-pound special needs child, but she still feels that more is going on.

So I wanted to post this here to see if anyone had any other ideas. I sent her some information on multiple sclerosis but she said that fortunately it has been ruled out. If anyone has any ideas for her I know she will really appreciate it. Thanks everyone! M

"I am currently having several symptoms that are progressively getting worse but, the doctors don’t seem to think they are serious even though they are affecting my everyday activities. It all started with a cramp in my thumb that never went away and weeks later I had a pain in my left pointer finger which also continues to bother me. My limbs will go numb as if they are asleep even though I will be using them at the time. I also am having problems with my vision and if I look at anything for more than a couple minutes everything goes blurry. Thus far doctors think that all these issues are unrelated and that the only thing it could possibly be is stress. I have been waiting for an MRI for four months and still don’t have prior authorization. I have given up fighting with doctors who don’t care and insurance companies who don’t want to pay. Unfortunately this means I live in constant pain and fear. Please help I don‘t know where to go from here."

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These symptoms can be caused by Lyme Disease. I have had them all myself, from it, along with co-infections(other tick borne diseases). Of course testing is unreliable so that if you test negative for it, it means nothing. Only a Lyme specialist (LLMD) can diagnose her, clinically.

April 11, 2009 - 2:41pm

First of all you need to see an ophthalmologist or eye specialist. Stress does not cuase blurry vision! It may be that you just have an underling long sightedness which gets worse when you are tired. this is very common and nothing to worry about. However it's important that you get it checked out.

1. to put your mind at ease, if it is just long sightedness you know you dont need to worry about it.

2. to correct the long sightedness. If uncorrected it can lead to headaches, migraines and visual symptoms such as momentary loss of peripheral vision and coloured lights in your eyes.

3. when the eye specialist looks in your eye they can sometimes see early signs of diabetes, raised blood pressure, raised intercranial pressure (pressure on your brain caused by a tumour etc) and a lot of other conditions

4. they can perform a visual field analysis which assesses your peripheral vision but also tells them if there are any problems in your brain along certain pathways

Secondly you need to check yourself for diabetes, you can normally get home kits to do this. It is unlikely that you would be getting these symptoms with undiagnosed diabetes, it would have to be fairly advanced but it is worth checking it out just to cross something else off the list. if it is diabetes you need to inform your doctor immediately so you can get treatment, this isn't something you can control without professional medical advice.

Thirdly try and get a blood pressure monitor. Pharmasists usually sell ones you can use at home quite chaply. if this is due to low blood pressure again you know there is nothing serious to worry about.

However having said that even if you think it is due to low blood pressure it is still important to get the doctors to check other stuff out as the blood pressure may be a sign of an underlying condition.

I personally would try and see an ophthalmologist first. if they cant find anything to worry about they can then refer you on to another specialist who they think might help. you often find that if a specialist has referred you rather than your family doctor the new specisalsit will pay a bit more attention to you.

April 1, 2009 - 2:42am

Anon, first, let me say that you deserve a big pat on the back for working so hard to find answers for yourself. It's discouraging to know absolutely that something's going on with your body and to not be able to figure it out. I'm glad you found Empowher; let's see if we can provide any ideas for you.

May I ask you a few questions?

Have you had back problems in the past, perhaps anything like a herniated disc or compressed vertabrae?

When you say your limbs go numb, is it always both legs and both arms? Or is it just one or some of them depending on what you're doing?

Does the numbness mostly happen when you are sitting? Or also when you are standing?

Was the thumb with the cramp in it also on your left hand?

How long has the blurry vision been happening? How long does it take to clear up when you have had an episode? (And after you go blurry, your sight returns to normal on its own after a while, correct?)

You mention that you are in pain, but the only specific pain you mentioned was that of your left pointer finger. Can you be more specific about the pain?

When you carry your child, how do you do it? Is there anything about the way you hold her/him that would cause extra weakness on your left side?

Have any of your doctors considered that while yes, the pains and problems may be unrelated to one another, each might be caused by something different? For instance, perhaps your thumb and finger are the result of a repetitive stress injury (do you work on the computer a lot? Or something similar?), perhaps the numbness is caused by a disc under pressure in the spinal cord, and perhaps the blurry vision is caused by something else?

In the meantime, let's see what we can find.

On the pain and cramps in your finger/thumb:

There are many kinds of Repetitive Stress/Strain Injuries (RSI). They include such things as tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome, and are usually treated with anti-inflammatory medicine, rest and physical therapy. This could be one explanation. (Poor posture can contribute to the problem as well).

Here's an overview of RSI injuries, and some ways to figure out if it may be what you are dealing with:


On the numbness:

Numbness and lack of sensation in the limbs can be caused by numerous things as well, but most are linked to circulation, the nerves and the spinal cord.

A herniated disk, for instance, puts pressure on the spinal nerves. Injury to a nerve -- for example, a neck injury -- may cause you to feel numbness anywhere along your arm or hand, while a low back injury can cause numbness or tingling down the back of your leg. Poor circulation might mostly affect your legs when you have been sitting or staying in the same position for long periods of time.

Have your doctors taken a regular X-ray of your spinal cord to see if they see any possible problems there? Have you ever had a neck or back injury?

Here's some information on nerves, the spinal cord and disks:


and on the blurry vision:

Is this a constant thing -- coming and going all the time, all day, every day? Or does it happen mostly at certain times, for instance in certain light conditions or when you are doing specific things? And is it always in both eyes?

Have you seen an opthalmologist about your vision? Has anyone tested you for dry eyes? Are you near-sighted or far-sighted? Is it possible that you are diabetic?

Here's our Empowher page on Eye conditions, followed by a page that discusses different causes of blurred vision:


There are also certain medications that can cause blurred vision:


I'm so glad you have a new specialist who is trying to help you figure out the answers to these difficult symptoms. Does any of the above information seem helpful? Can you get back to us with the answers of some of these questions so we can research it a little further for you?

March 30, 2009 - 9:49am
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