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Numbness, tingling, electric shocks, paresthesia, allydonia, small fiber neuropathy
Hi all,

I am a 29 year old male, otherwise very healthy.

Around 2 years ago, I started to notice an electric shock down my arm (ulnar nerve) when performing an overhead press movement at the gym. I went to the doctor who recommended a physio who assisted me with this and it was resolved. The initial reaction was a typical hypochondriac reaction, once the issue was resolved I was all good. Then, I started to notice the shock sensation move to my radial and median nerves. Then my arms began going dead at night in my sleep. Then my legs starting buzzing. I read Dr John Sarno’s Mindbody Prescription and found these forums.

My symptoms:

  • Numbness.
  • Tingling/pins & needles.
  • Vibrations. Feel like there is a phone vibrating in my pocket, but there is no phone..
  • Burning soles of feet - go from hot to cold and from over-sensitive to numb and back and forth.
  • Clothing sensitivity.
  • Stinging sensations.
  • Neuropathic itch - I get a spontaneous itch and then when I itch it, it produces electric-shock like sensations which radiate up the limb that I’m itching.
  • Positional numbness - if I cross my legs, sit on the floor or if I lean on something, within a minute I feel the numbness/tingling/pins and needles coming on. Even just crossing my arms, the pins and needles will begin shortly after.
  • Pallesthesia - Brushing my hand across certain fabrics will produce a vibrating in my hand for a few seconds following. Similarly, using a hair dryer, lawn mower, or something that vibrates will produce an effect that continues after ceasing use.
  • Electric shocks/zaps when I touch or scratch certain parts of my arm/foot. Or if it comes into contact with a rough surface.

Other issues which I believe to be unrelated.
  • Tinnitus (likely headphone use)
  • Hypertonic (overactive) pelvic floor -> resulting in chronic prostatitis, testicular pain, etc.
  • IBS

The last 2 I truly believe are a result of the stress response experienced from these nerve issues and pelvic floor therapy has more or less resolved them.

Issues which MAY have contributed:
  • Was given Ciproflaxin for an infection of the prostate which I didn’t even have. It was my pelvic floor tightness.
  • Had my gallbladder removed due to polyp a few months before symptoms appeared.
  • Moved out of home, started a stressful job and cut off a toxic relationship.
I have had MRIs of the spine and head, nerve conduction studies, blood tests and so forth. All clear. The doctor says I am a physical specimen. My resting heart rate is in the 40's - which is that of an athlete. I have zero fatigue, in fact, I have excess energy. I am able to jump off the couch at 11PM and run a half marathon, no problem whatsoever. Most of my symptoms disappear only whilst exercising.

What screws with me most in the cyclical nature - one symptom replaces the other. At any given time, there is a handful of those symptoms I’ve listed above, then they will disappear and replaced with a random bunch. It’s never all at once. Just when I think one is gone and I can move on from the stress it's causing me, it is replaced by another. I understand Dr. Sarno covers this in his book. I experience no pain - yet.. and I pray to God it never progresses to that but if we’re being realistic, just like every other similar instance I’ve read about, it starts with sensory disturbances and progresses to pain.

I don’t really know where to go from here. I am familiar with Dr. John Sarno’s book and I believe what he preaches - but I'm not so sure it applies to neurological issues. I believe the tension and stress about the nerves caused my hypertonic pelvic floor, which resolved after I realised it wasn’t prostate cancer or something worse. But, still, I am having a hard time accepting the fact that the nerve issue is anything other than classic small fiber neuropathy destroying the receptors at the end of my nerves, which is producing these sensations.

I had big plans for life. I had a lot of ups and downs. I had a spontaneous pneumothorax which probably set off my health anxiety, then a few years later I got chronic Tinnitus. Shortly after resolving the Tinnitus, I had to get the gallbladder surgery. Finally! All of this behind me - time to look forward to life and health... And then of course came the onslaught of neurological symptoms.

I have completed a masters degree, I have a career, my own home over my head but I would trade all of that in a heart beat and live on the street eating out of bins just to be able to sit down without numbness, tingling, electric zaps, burning feet, etc.. I have seen 5 or 6 psychologists, I have tried Prozac, Lexapro, CBD Oil, Smoking marijuana, Valiums, etc. I sit with my girlfriend at dinner and all I can think about is the uncomfortable feeling of my jeans touching my quadriceps, driving me absolutely insane. Neurologist told me it’s all in my head, we don’t have a skin biopsy test in Oz and to move on and “Call us if anything changes”. How can “My head” dictate the fact that if I cross my legs they go completely numb? I look at literally all my friends enjoying life with no fears or ailments and I am filled with depression as a result. My family is sick of hearing it and I have nothing to talk about with them but this scenario which has plagued me for 2 years.

In Australia we do not have the means to test for small fiber neuropathy by the gold standard “skin biopsy” - we have a QST and QSART test which I am hoping to have done in December - thanks COVID lockdown. I have heard they are very unreliable. So, even when I do get them and if they come back OK, I'm not at all in the clear. Or if they don't come back OK, what can one really do for neuropathy? Just pain suppressants. I am not even experiencing pain yet and they're pushing Cymbalta, Lyrica, Gabapentin at me. Wtf?

I guess my question here is, has anyone overcome this sensory neuropathy using the methods outlined by Dr. John Sarno? There is nothing but doom and gloom when it comes to SFN. At least with Tinnitus, there were tons of success stories of people adapting and moving on. SFN is literally all doom, gloom, suffering.

If you made it this far - thanks for reading.