weird indescribable medical condition
May 23, 2012 9:13 AM   Subscribe

You are not my doctor, but I have an intermittent neurological(?) condition that is very hard to describe, and I’d like to get some responses so that I can better describe what I’m feeling to a doctor.

Occasionally, I just feel “strange”. When I’m having this sensation, everything feels slightly different. It’s like a slight over-sensitivity on my skin, esp. my hands, face, and scalp. Also, minor aches and pains, like in my joints and knuckles, are amplified. It’s almost like I’m having a mild LSD/psilocybin/weed flashback or something. Have any of you ever experienced this, heard of it, or do you know someone who has? Thanks!
posted by anonymous_account to Health & Fitness (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Do you have migraines, by any chance? I feel this type of sensation *but only on the left side of my face/behind my eye* and I feel like I can't think/concentrate, and actually speaking is difficult. Might be related to migraines, is all I'm saying.

I'd definitely be prepared to talk to the neurologist about how often these periods happen and how long they typically last.
posted by shortyJBot at 9:23 AM on May 23, 2012

I don't suffer from migraines, but I've known people who do, and they can manifest in odd ways (it isn't always just a headache...sometimes a headache isn't even one of the symptoms). Is it possible that you are experiencing migraines?
posted by scarylarry at 9:24 AM on May 23, 2012

No, I don't get migraines. Although after looking a wikipedia on Acephalgic migraine, I may see if MSG triggers this condition.
posted by anonymous_account at 9:30 AM on May 23, 2012

You might want to tell your doc of the hyper-sensitivity that you're feeling. That's about the size of what it is. He or she may ask for examples, and the one's you've provided are pretty good.

Don't worry, doctors are used to seeing folks with vague symptoms, and frankly, yours aren't that vague.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:30 AM on May 23, 2012

Could easily be a migraine - some migraine auras feel this way, and sometimes migraines manifest as just the aura without the headache. But, IA so NYD.

If you're wanting to describe it as well as possible to a doctor, though, it would be helpful to have answers to these questions:

When it's happening, does anything make it worse? Does anything make it better?

Is there any pattern to when or where it happens, or anything that triggers it?

How long does it usually last? What, if anything, do you usually do to make yourself more comfortable while it's going on?

When did it start? Has it changed over time?

It seems you've had this for a while. What makes you decide to seek treatment for it now?

These are the main questions I was taught to ask when preparing a medical 'history of chief complaint'.
posted by Ausamor at 9:39 AM on May 23, 2012 [3 favorites]

Sounds like it could be anxiety. Doesn't always manifest in a feeling what you'd typically describe as "anxious," what you describe falls well within the somewhat-normal range of symptoms people with anxiety experience
posted by Patbon at 9:48 AM on May 23, 2012 [3 favorites]

My husband has been complaining of something similiar. He had just started using Seroquel, an anti-psychotic and we attributed it to the medicine. Patbon, I had never heard it attributed to anxiety. Do you have any further information about that?
posted by saucysault at 9:52 AM on May 23, 2012

Just a thought - when you're having a weird intermittant thing going on, I'd strongly encourage you to keep a tiny notebook with you and jot down when the episode started, what you were doing beforehand, stuff you ate before it happened and how long ago, and anything particular to the symptoms for that episode. That sort of thing can be really helpful when you go to the doctor and inevitably your brain just falls down trying to describe the whens and wheres and hows of what's going on.
posted by circle_b at 10:00 AM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

and ausamor has exactly exactly the script of questions you should be prepared to answer (and that the doctor should be asking!), especially on your very first visit. it's really good to think about these things before you're on the spot.
posted by circle_b at 10:03 AM on May 23, 2012

My feeling is that you should look into the MSG sensitivity as you mentioned. I am hyper-sensitive to MSG. I took me years to figure it out and it always feels like I've smoked something bad. It was eating flavored Doritos that finally clued me in.
posted by No Shmoobles at 10:14 AM on May 23, 2012

Start keeping a food/hours of sleep/drinking/allergen exposure daily spreadsheet along with a symptoms one from now until you see your doctor! And yeah, this could be something migrainey - mine don't always start with a headache or visual weirdness: sometimes it's extreme sensitivity to smell or noises; sometimes it's a weird tingly feeling in my shoulders & arms; sometimes all other random ailments/aches become really heightened; and sometimes I just hate everyone and everything really intensely. That last one might not be migraine-related, admittedly.

(also - if you eat or drink a lot of things with artificial sweeteners, those can be sneakily migraine triggering.)
posted by elizardbits at 10:28 AM on May 23, 2012

I get the same thing minus body aches if i consume msg. Usually leads to a migraine
posted by KogeLiz at 10:30 AM on May 23, 2012

Except for the intermittent part, it sounds similar to a Vitamin D deficiency. My wife went through that a few years ago and she was hyper sensitive to touch.
posted by COD at 11:00 AM on May 23, 2012

What will help your doctor the most is an idea of things that correlate with your symptoms, particularly things that you tend to do, consume, or experience before they happen.
posted by Blasdelb at 11:48 AM on May 23, 2012

Came here to say keep a journal and track what you're doing and eating when this happens, but everyone else already said it.

For potential further information, this sounds very similar to how I feel when I'm getting a migraine (even an ocular migraine, which occurs without the headache) or how I feel when I am overstimluated by caffeine or... other stimulants.
posted by rhiannonstone at 12:24 PM on May 23, 2012

I am not trying to be flip at all - *could* it be a flashback?
posted by Occula at 12:29 PM on May 23, 2012

could it be a flashback?

Yes, although my symptoms don't match those for Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder.
posted by anonymous_account at 12:40 PM on May 23, 2012

I get something similar with anxiety - hypersensitivity/hypervigilance. Sometimes it even manifests in derealization/depersonalization episodes. It can come about sometimes like a type of panic attack. I have discussed this at length with both my GP and Pdoc. I get hyper aware of my heartbeat and can feel my pulse in every inch of my body, for example. It can be extremely tormenting. I can also get hyper aware of other general sensations. Medications have helped, particularly benzos, though I hate them and they're kind of a rabbit hole.
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:49 PM on May 23, 2012

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