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Neuropathy Symtpoms

Old 06-01-2018, 09:38 AM
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Neuropathy Symtpoms

Hi All,

I was a daily heavy drinker (4-12) for about 12 years and quit recently in April after having leg pains and tingling of feet. The pain went away for a few weeks and then came back when I drank again for a few days (quit again for past 2 weeks).

Iíve seen a neurologist, had an exam, some blood work, MRI, NCV and EMG and nothing has definitively pointed to neuropathy or anything else specific. Still waiting on additional blood work. I do have many symptoms that seem to be consistent with neuropathy and the pain is not getting any better after 2 plus weeks of sobriety. Has anyone else been in a similar situation? Weíre you eventually diagnosed? Did the symptoms get better or pass?

Thanks and good luck to everyone with their sobriety!
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Old 06-01-2018, 01:09 PM
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I was never diagnosed with anything, but I did have horrible, crippling pain in my feet while actively drinking. Almost felt like gout, but it would move around on my foot from bottom, to side, to ankle, to toes.. I have had some experience with gout, so I know the difference. These pains were damn near daily. It was quite embarrassing to hobble around constantly and have people always asking what was wrong.

Since I stopped drinking, I haven't had any of those pains. No gout flare ups either (knock on wood).

That foot pain is only a fraction of the reasons why I won't drink again, as miserable as they were.
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Old 06-01-2018, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by REM700 View Post
I was never diagnosed with anything, but I did have horrible, crippling pain in my feet while actively drinking. Almost felt like gout, but it would move around on my foot from bottom, to side, to ankle, to toes.. I have had some experience with gout, so I know the difference. These pains were damn near daily. It was quite embarrassing to hobble around constantly and have people always asking what was wrong.

Since I stopped drinking, I haven't had any of those pains. No gout flare ups either (knock on wood).

That foot pain is only a fraction of the reasons why I won't drink again, as miserable as they were.
Thanks for he feedback REM. That sounds miserable. My pain is more in the legs and tingling/weird sensations in the feet. Definitely enough motivation for me to quit. Congrats on your sobriety.
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Old 06-01-2018, 03:21 PM
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Welcome MC555. Whilst drinking I had horrible pain/tingling/pins and needles in my hands and feet. I could barely hobble around and as a musician the symptoms in my hands were extremely frightening. The good news is that within 6 months of sobriety all these feelings went away and have never returned. If I was still drinking I think it would be a different story. Wishing you all the best.
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Old 06-01-2018, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Verdantia View Post
Welcome MC555. Whilst drinking I had horrible pain/tingling/pins and needles in my hands and feet. I could barely hobble around and as a musician the symptoms in my hands were extremely frightening. The good news is that within 6 months of sobriety all these feelings went away and have never returned. If I was still drinking I think it would be a different story. Wishing you all the best.
Thanks Verdantia. Glad to hear sobriety resolved your pain. Was it a very slow recovery process or did you notice a decline after you first stopped drinking? Iím hoping with time my symptoms fade as well.
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Old 06-01-2018, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Verdantia View Post
Welcome MC555. Whilst drinking I had horrible pain/tingling/pins and needles in my hands and feet. I could barely hobble around and as a musician the symptoms in my hands were extremely frightening. The good news is that within 6 months of sobriety all these feelings went away and have never returned. If I was still drinking I think it would be a different story. Wishing you all the best.
Thanks Verdantia. Glad to hear sobriety resolved your pain. Was it a very slow recovery process or did you notice a decline after you first stopped drinking? Iím hoping with time my symptoms fade as well.
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Old 06-01-2018, 04:45 PM
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I was at inpatient rehab for 2 months and by the end of it my feet and hands were noticeably better and I could walk without feeling agony, so it did take some time; it wasn't like flipping a switch and all was well, more like a steady progression but I felt so much improved (not just from the neuropathy) that I was very happy. I thought I had totally ruined my hands but as with so much else in recovery things got much better. Everyone is different but I guarantee that with sobriety one's mental and physical health improves dramatically.
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Old 07-01-2018, 12:48 PM
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So....

I really feel like I havenít drank enough for it to be this... but my hands (mostly and quite intolerable) and feet (very faint) have been asleep/numb for two days. Iíve only been drinking almost everyday for two years, and before that was just social/some binge drinking. I have read a lot and diagnoses doesnít seem to be quick or even certain in most cases. But if this is alcohol neuropathy, I really canít ever drink again? Is denial like the first step? Cause thatís all I keep thinking. Oh and Iíve been on a no carb diet as well so really never have fruits and veggies, could it be vitamin deficiency? I mean I read on post from a doctor in Africa that fixed a villagers numbness with various vitamins etc. And he didnít drink.
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Old 07-01-2018, 01:08 PM
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Welcome,

Yes, denial is a big part of alcoholism, so accepting 'what is' is the first step of healing. I think that for all aspects of your health, stopping drinking would be a good idea.

Your questions would be best answered by your doctor. We can't give you any medical advice here.
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Old 07-01-2018, 08:05 PM
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My experience with neuropathy recovery

Donít: google these symptoms
Do: Go see a doctor

I had an official diagnosis of neuropathy. The neurologist told me it would probably take months to years to get better. As far as the time frame for me,..It got WORSE for the first month after quitting - alcoholism related nutritional deficiencies arenít necessarily quick to overcome. It takes awhile to incorporate those b. Vitamins into nerve cells.

Months 2-8 saw a lot of relapse/remission of those symptoms. 1 day without numbness, 3 days numb, twitches appearing and disappearing, the burning pain... but mostly numbness and weakness.

After 8 months, things really started to get better, and quickly. Diet, vitamins (dr prescribed) and exercise all helped. At around 14 months I feel about 90-95% of the way back. And pushing 15 months of complete abstinence, Iím still troubled by some occasional numbness and occasion perceived grip weakness, but that usually doesnít stay too long.

I almost like staying only 90-95% recovered. The benign and occasional physical reminder of my active addiction keeps it real...

Goddamn though, going through the battery of exams and testing was the scariest thing I ever did.
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Old 07-01-2018, 08:17 PM
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By the way

I was 38 when I quit, drank since 17, with the last 3 years transitioning from binges into full blown alcoholism: 0.5 to 1 quart of rum or vodka per day most days. Before that I ran half marathons and was very fit. So it doesnít necessarily take a lifetime of hard drinking for neuropathy to quickly take hold.
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Old 07-02-2018, 01:28 AM
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Thank you!

Itís so bad that I canít sleep. I will definitely make an appt
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Old 07-02-2018, 04:41 AM
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Could it be restless leg syndrome?
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Old 07-03-2018, 11:47 PM
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I had severe walking and gait issues when I stopped drinking. About 11 months in I saw a neurologist for balance and cognitive issues. Yep. Some residual neuropathy.

I have been doing physical therapy for related balance issues. A lot of that was due to a foot injury, my balance is nearly normal and my posture is better than it ever was. Don't know about the neuropathy, I don't really think about it.

Point being that I had SEVER nerve damage symptoms at sobriety that have almost completely resolved. If this is neuropathy I don't even really think about it.
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Old 07-04-2018, 05:52 AM
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Originally Posted by NoahJ View Post
I was 38 when I quit, drank since 17, with the last 3 years transitioning from binges into full blown alcoholism: 0.5 to 1 quart of rum or vodka per day most days. Before that I ran half marathons and was very fit. So it doesnít necessarily take a lifetime of hard drinking for neuropathy to quickly take hold.
Thanks for the reply Noah. May I ask what kind of symptoms you had with your neuropathy? Mine (and again still no official diagnosis) are primarily aches, pains and cramps in my calves and thighs. Slight tingling in the feet, warm cold sensations (not very frequent) in the feet and general soreness of both legs and feet throughout the day.

Going on week 7 booze free and some symptoms have gotten worse while others have gotten slightly better or less frequent. Strange thing is that the first time I quit all symptoms disappeared after 2 weeks.
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Old 07-04-2018, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by MC555 View Post
Thanks for the reply Noah. May I ask what kind of symptoms you had with your neuropathy? Mine (and again still no official diagnosis) are primarily aches, pains and cramps in my calves and thighs. Slight tingling in the feet, warm cold sensations (not very frequent) in the feet and general soreness of both legs and feet throughout the day.

Going on week 7 booze free and some symptoms have gotten worse while others have gotten slightly better or less frequent. Strange thing is that the first time I quit all symptoms disappeared after 2 weeks.
Numbness and weakness in both hands and feet. Some days up to the knees and shoulders. Strange sensations (it felt like someone was ďwearing me as a suitĒ). Cramping and muscle twitching in arms hands and feet. Facial numbness. Twitching eyelids. Restless leg syndrome while sleeping. Balance issues (left foot). Had trouble writing and typing. Temperature sensitivity (hands were always cold). Tremor. Sometimes it felt like I was holding a weed whacker (vibrations/buzzing). Sometimes it was like electrical shocks. Sometimes burning pain.
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Old 07-04-2018, 05:24 PM
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I have nephropathy - pre existing before my drinking. I often get the sensation like a cell phone on vibrate.

D
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Old 07-05-2018, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by NoahJ View Post
Numbness and weakness in both hands and feet. Some days up to the knees and shoulders. Strange sensations (it felt like someone was ďwearing me as a suitĒ). Cramping and muscle twitching in arms hands and feet. Facial numbness. Twitching eyelids. Restless leg syndrome while sleeping. Balance issues (left foot). Had trouble writing and typing. Temperature sensitivity (hands were always cold). Tremor. Sometimes it felt like I was holding a weed whacker (vibrations/buzzing). Sometimes it was like electrical shocks. Sometimes burning pain.
Wow. Thatís a wide spectrum. Were you officially diagnosed by ruling out other conditions and going through tests (EMG, NCS etc) or did they diagnose purely based on the symptoms and your history of drinking? Not asking for med advice, but did they prescribe anything or were you mainly taking vitamins and supplements?

Sorry for all the questions, but itís nice to hear from someone who has been through similar struggles. Glad to hear you are doing much better now!
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Old 07-05-2018, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by MC555 View Post
Wow. Thatís a wide spectrum. Were you officially diagnosed by ruling out other conditions and going through tests (EMG, NCS etc) or did they diagnose purely based on the symptoms and your history of drinking? Not asking for med advice, but did they prescribe anything or were you mainly taking vitamins and supplements?

Sorry for all the questions, but itís nice to hear from someone who has been through similar struggles. Glad to hear you are doing much better now!
Yeah. It was really happy times. I didnít even mention the passing stutter and scrotal tingling...

I had a combined EMG/nerve velocity conduction (?) test performed by a neurologist who specialized in that tool. My GP made that referral. Then I had a follow up with a different neurologist who took a detailed history and ran me through a bunch of a physical tests of my coordination, balance, dexterity, movement precision - stuff like that. The second neuro made the diagnosis based on all of the above.

He prescribed continued sobriety, and thiamine. He was a really good doc. Told me my condition was genetic and brain chemistry, there were no moral failings. Dr Matiello at Mass General if you ever get the chance.

He told me to call him if things didnít get better, but to otherwise see him in 9 months. By my follow up things were on course.

Iíve actually done a ton of my own research on alcohol induced neuropathy, and posted in various threads on it here in the last year. None of it is medical advice. Itís fascinating tho, and I liked to share. Still do, on this topic.

The bottom line is that any condition that damages nerves or nerve signal transmission is really tough to ID. Everything is a diagnosis of exclusion. Even really good neuros canít always distinguish between say, diabetic neuropathy from latent MS.

I nearly lost my mind when my worsening, then relapsing symptoms occurred. It wasnít until my mom, who has MS and cared for my now deceased father (Parkinsonís) yelled at me ďyou're not a goddamn neurologist so stop thinking you know what youíre talking about!Ē that I could let it go a little.

The great irony for me, is that I was so scared of dying like my dad did, that I focused on the rarity of terminal neurological disease, ignoring the fact that I was drinking myself to death - because of a different neurological disease in addiction. Itís crazy.
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Old 07-06-2018, 04:43 AM
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Originally Posted by NoahJ View Post
Yeah. It was really happy times. I didnít even mention the passing stutter and scrotal tingling...

I had a combined EMG/nerve velocity conduction (?) test performed by a neurologist who specialized in that tool. My GP made that referral. Then I had a follow up with a different neurologist who took a detailed history and ran me through a bunch of a physical tests of my coordination, balance, dexterity, movement precision - stuff like that. The second neuro made the diagnosis based on all of the above.

He prescribed continued sobriety, and thiamine. He was a really good doc. Told me my condition was genetic and brain chemistry, there were no moral failings. Dr Matiello at Mass General if you ever get the chance.

He told me to call him if things didnít get better, but to otherwise see him in 9 months. By my follow up things were on course.

Iíve actually done a ton of my own research on alcohol induced neuropathy, and posted in various threads on it here in the last year. None of it is medical advice. Itís fascinating tho, and I liked to share. Still do, on this topic.

The bottom line is that any condition that damages nerves or nerve signal transmission is really tough to ID. Everything is a diagnosis of exclusion. Even really good neuros canít always distinguish between say, diabetic neuropathy from latent MS.

I nearly lost my mind when my worsening, then relapsing symptoms occurred. It wasnít until my mom, who has MS and cared for my now deceased father (Parkinsonís) yelled at me ďyou're not a goddamn neurologist so stop thinking you know what youíre talking about!Ē that I could let it go a little.

The great irony for me, is that I was so scared of dying like my dad did, that I focused on the rarity of terminal neurological disease, ignoring the fact that I was drinking myself to death - because of a different neurological disease in addiction. Itís crazy.
Good to hear that things eventually worked out. My experience with neurologists (2 so far) has not been great. All of my physical tests, nerve tests and MRIís have been normal so far and they seem to think nothing is wrong with me. I have been pushing them for a small fiber nerve damage test which one Neuro reluctantly agreed to, still waiting for the test and results. Itís frustrating when you clearly have physical symptoms and pain all day everyday with no diagnosis. Iím not even sure if alcohol has anything to do with this at this point, but staying sober just the same.

Do you have any symptoms while you were still drinking or did they all creep up after you quit? During your relapse of symptoms did they ever disappear completely for a period of time and then return weeks later worse?

Thanks again
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