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ants crawling sensation

My father in law has the sensation of ants crawling on the right side of his face near his ear and down to
his right shoulder with the increasing intensity. The sensation recurs frequently, dozens of times a day or
more and it lasts for about a minute.

He has had an mri of his c-spine and brain, which showed stenosis at several levels of his c-spine (c3-c4).
He has seen 5 neurologists, who disagree about whether the stenosis is responsible for these unusual sensations.
These sensations have been going on for about 4 months now, and they also interfere with his sleep, and he has
to sleep on this side to create the pressure against the pillow that helps somewhat.

He has tried valium and gabapentin (1200 mg), which have had no effect.

He has also seen a dermatologist, who is convinced that the problem is neurological.

Any ideas, any recommendations, or tests to consider, (maybe one of your colleagues has seen this in their
practice and found a solution) would be greatly, greatly appreciated, as these
continuously recurring crawling sensations are driving my father in law crazy, as well as his wife.

And if you can solve the problem, you and him may appear in the "Mystery Diagnosis' show.

Thank you,
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1093617 tn?1279302002
Thank you for your question. Although without being able to examine you I can not offer you the specific advice on diagnosis and treatment that you need, but I would try to provide you some relevant information about your health concern.

These tingling symptoms (like ant crawling) may be due to nerve irritation in the cervical (neck) spine because of stenosis where contact between the edges of the vertebrae can cause neck pain. In few people, this pain & tingling may be referred and perceived as occurring in the back of head, shoulders, arms or chest, rather than just the neck. Other symptoms may include vertigo, nausea (dizziness) and stiffness can be intermittent. It will be best that you consult a neurologist who would like to prescribe Pain killers, steroid and muscle relaxants. Other treatments could be cervical orthosis such as a soft cervical collar/stiffer neck brace to restrict neck movement. In addition, cervical traction may also be suggested by the doctor, if condition is severe. Hope this helps.

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Avatar universal
Dear Dr,

I'm having problem like  constant ant crawling sensation inside my body.The ant-crawling sensation sometimes goes to the head, face, neck, spine, ears , nose, sometimes all over body. Also sometimes get unusual intermittent pressures and pain on the shoulder blade, chest, foot, knee. I have no idea what is going on.

Also I can see black dots & whitish transparent smoke ( floaters in my vision, although it doesn't affect the vision, & my vision is perfect). I get burning sensations too at random parts of the body. Sometimes head pressure occurs when the ant-crawling goes into the head, and neck pain when it travels through the neck nerves.

I am at loss of what could be the underlying problem. I am thinking of seeking a neurologist, but I just would like to know which test is comprehensive enough to detect nervous problems. Is MRI of whole body is necessary? or some NCV test? EMG? I'm confused. Please enlighten me doctor.
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Avatar universal
Hi, I'm having a similar issue. Did your father in law get to the bottom of it and find out what was it?

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