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LostRunner: Took Citalopram for 7 days - feel terrible 7 weeks later!

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mstimc

I hope you can see the danger in your last response.  If the neurologist says you're okay, you're afraid you'll doubt him.  Now you're worries about digestive issues.  So if your nerve test comes back clear you may move on to stomach issues.  I dropped a ton of money and wasted a lot of doctors' time telling me I was ok, until I finally accepted it.  I very much doubt there's anything seriously wrong with you, but I totally understand your need for reassurance.  Maybe for now you should work on acceptance of the test results and committing to recovery after you get them.

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LostRunner

sorry no I didn't mean it like that. I was just commenting on neurology in general and how it is a tricky area for some conditions. I was worried about digestive issues anyway, but digestion falls more in line with what I think are more 'normal' wd symptoms so im not so panicky as I am about the walking if that makes sense. but yeah I get what you mean about spending lots of money on tests, its very easy to do! thank you so much for your responses, acceptance is obviously something im finding very very tricky. 

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ShiningLight

Don't try to block out the sensations. Soften into them. Mentally soften. Get curious about them. think about them as clouds passing by in the sky. It helps.

 

It does sound agitating and horrible. Just soften into it as best you can. Observe it. Try to find some humor in it if you can.

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LostRunner

@ShiningLight ah thank you for the advice, theres no way I can block them if I tried, ive been up for hours and slept for 2-3 hrs last night. my sleep has been worsening in the last week or so. the intensity of all the body movements feels worse, im woken up by the tremors. I dont know whats happening. does anyone know if it is common for body movements/tremors to get worse even though I'm 14 weeks out? I'm in hell and its so scary. I feel very restless as well and not sure if thats a bit of akathisia. I did some research on akathisia and came across some comments on a Facebook group which did not help at all, lots of people greatly suffering years on. it was the most depressing read and my heart just hurts for everyone. I just don't see much about tremors getting better, my body tremors/pulses (not sure on the right word) 24/7, this just cant be right.. I cant believe the body can heal from this. I just dont know what to do with myself. constant agitation, there aren't medications that I can take, what am I meant to do. 

 

I like reading recovery stories as they are so positive but I cant find any that are similar to my situation at all. 

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mstimc

Lost, the worse thing you can do for yourself right now is self-diagnose and search for symptoms.  In your mental state,  you'll focus on the worst case scenarios.  You've convinced yourself your symptoms are permanent but you have no idea what, if anything, is physically wrong with you.  You need to do some reality checking about what's really going on as opposed to what your fearful mind is telling you.  

 

As others said, fighting the thoughts gives them more power.  Start from the premise they're irrational fears based on your adverse reaction.  What you're doing now is just building fear on fear.

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LostRunner

it's just so relentless in my body I don't know what to do with myself. thats my reality at the moment. they are happening all the time and getting worse so its hard to not think they are here permanently. im sorry but it is scary. 

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LostRunner

I know ive been linked to the 'but I only took it for a week' thread but I just dont understand how a week of a drug can mean that im suffering so badly 14 weeks on.. what has happened in my body. it is devastating 

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Sonia001

Hi LostRunner

So sorry you are going through this horror. Have you been on the drugs.com website to look up withdrawal effects of citalopram? There are loads of surprising withdrawal effects listed similar to yours. Can't offer any more advice to what you have already received but hope this helps.

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mstimc
Posted (edited)

Lost, I'm not denying the reality of what your're feeling.  It is real and its terrifying.  But you need to stay grounded in reality and not your fearful thinking.  Let's take a look at what we know to be true:

 

1.  You took Citalopram and had an adverse reaction, causing several terrible symptoms.

 

2.  You have been reassured by other SA members that your symptoms are not unusual for adverse reactions and withdrawal. You've also been told the symptoms can last for months and increase or decrease in intensity before improving.

 

3.  You are concerned your nervous system has been physically and permanently damaged by the medication.  Again you have been reassured by several members here, some of whom have years of experience dealing with these symptoms, they've never heard of anyone being permanently damaged.

 

4.  You feel your symptoms, because of their severity and constant presence, are a sign of damage, and are unlike anyone else's  There is no evidence of that in the experience of veteran members here.  The medical tests you've had so far confirm there's no damage.

 

5.  Because you are focused on your symptoms and trying to find a cause (e.g. doing Internet searches), you aren't regularly practicing any kind of behavioral management techniques.

 

Your rational  mind is trying to find a physical cause for your symptoms.  Because there ins't one, your fearful mind is in control and forcing you to become increasingly agitated, adding to your symptom load and making existing symptoms worse.

 

Truly, you need to accept what you're experiencing as the god-awful effects of your reaction medication and approach recovery from a less fearful place.  Your mind is creating these symptoms so your mind can overcome them.  

 

I suggest writing down how you want to approach recovery instead of continually ruminating on your symptoms.  Put your mental energies where they'll help you the most instead of reaffirming your fears.

 

Maybe this morning's  post from Katy 398 will help:

Thank you so much @mstimc and @Ballardbeer This site is amazing I am in awe of all the caring, sensitive Folk out there. Thank you it’s a tough journey, I remember how terrifying it was when I felt alone with no one to turn to. That is one symptom that has definitely been crossed off my list I am filled with gratitude 🙏 

  • Like 1
 
 

 

Edited by mstimc

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Sonia001

Hi again

I found an article on the web entitled Pulsing or Throbbing Muscles, Pulsing or Throbbing Sensation - Anxiety Symptoms By Jim Folk, Feb 21 2020.

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mstimc

BTW, I'm not saying to "just deal with it" or pull yourself out of it.  The symptoms are real and terrifying, just like any other serious medical condition.  With the right tools they can be managed.  It's not something you just get over, I totally understand that.  It takes perseverance and support, but you can do it. 

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India
On 4/21/2020 at 11:18 AM, LostRunner said:

how crazy that we've both reacted like this! I wish I'd never touched them. I'm so sorry you've too found yourself in this situation - please know that I know how you're feeling and I really hope you start seeing major improvements soon. I know, the change I feel is unbelievable. 

Listen to ‘Nora’ episode of James Moore “Let’s Talk Withdrawal Podcast”. You will discover adverse reactions are more common than everyone is lead to believe. The good news is that as of our last correspondence in late 2019 ,  she’s back to work. However, she has some remaining legacy effects.

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LostRunner

thanks @mstimc @Sonia001 and @India - I'll have a listen. 

walking today is more difficult than yesterday, feel like my legs are going to give way soon. thats honestly what it feels like. I now know that my first reaction to citalopram was not normal at all, I was SO anxious and agitated as soon as I took it. that was only on 10mg. and I continued to take it for the week so you can imagine what state I was in by the end. I didn't even recognise my own hand and was having suicidal thoughts (never had them before), not to mention the burning and tremors. I know theres nothing I can do to go back but gosh what a different life id be living now. how can I forgive myself for this. 

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mstimc

There's no value whatsoever in blaming yourself for anything.  You were only doing what a trusted professional advised you to do.  All of us would love to go back and change something we did or didn't do.  What's important is how you choose to live your life in the future.

 

Whatever your reaction to the meds was, you now need to deal with the thoughts and behaviors that have resulted.  If you keep ruminating on your symptoms, you won't improve, or it will take a lot longer and be much more difficult than it has to be.

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sunnysideup69
11 minutes ago, mstimc said:

There's no value whatsoever in blaming yourself for anything.  You were only doing what a trusted professional advised you to do.  All of us would love to go back and change something we did or didn't do.  What's important is how you choose to live your life in the future.

 

Whatever your reaction to the meds was, you now need to deal with the thoughts and behaviors that have resulted.  If you keep ruminating on your symptoms, you won't improve, or it will take a lot longer and be much more difficult than it has to be.

 

 

Totally agree @LostRunner @mstimc.  I think we've all beaten ourselves up at one point or another. Try to practise distracting yourself when you find yourself ruminating. Ha! I'm a fine one, to say that....I still find that hard, it does take time and practice to be able to do it. It's a fantastic skill to learn, though.

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LostRunner

ive been finding my daily walk a bit hit and miss lately. yesterday I could only manage 15 mins and had to go back home, just didn't feel stable. today I did longer maybe 40 mins. I was having 1 hr walks a few weeks ago.  ive noticed that now after walking and then sitting down my legs just go crazy with much more tingling all over and little pulses all over my legs and burning sensation which is quite intense for about half hour or so. then the normal buzzing/vibration feeling in my legs just resumes, its so odd.

 

I feel out of it today mentally as well. everything seems blurry and strange. still find looking at myself in the mirror quite alien. I just look ill. I spoke with my therapist today and we were talking about the 'future' and how I envision it for myself and I'm just at a blank at the moment. it was a scary realisation of not knowing what I will be 'able' to do. In my job I used to drive all over the country, it was very full on, long days. I cant even contemplate my future and what that looks like at the moment, I just feel so unwell and in no way able to do what I used to do. is this something other people have experienced and does that get better?  

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mstimc

Depersonalization (I forget the fancy Latin term) is a common AR/WD symptom.

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LostRunner

I have a question about adverse reactions - on my last night of citalopram (and what prompted me to stop it) I had severe burning all over my body and my pupils were massive and I had flashing in my brain and jolted in my bed, could this have possibly been serotonin toxicity? and if so, is this different from an adverse reaction? I'm honestly still suffering physically so badly still that it doesn't make sense. do people recover from serotonin toxicity, is it a different thing to an adverse reaction? Would be great to hear anyones knowledge of this. 

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mstimc

Lost, how much time and effort did you devote to learning and practicing coping strategies today compared to researching your symptoms?

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LostRunner

@mstimc I had a therapy session today and I have coped better. I'm just trying to understand more about what I'm going through. there is a reason that my back and neck is spasming/pulsing all day everyday and my reaction to the meds was particularly extreme on my last day - hence the serotonin toxicity question. I don't see the harm in asking more about this. I'm pretty sure you'd want to know if you were experiencing it as well. 

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mstimc
Posted (edited)

Actually, I'd be more interested in knowing how I'm going to handle my symptoms.  When I was going through WD, I asked for support in modifying my catastrophic thinking.   As far as I know, serotonin toxicity only lasts a few weeks after you stop the meds.  Maybe one of the admins like @Gridley or @Altostrata can add their expertise about serotonin toxicity.

Edited by mstimc

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mstimc
Posted (edited)

Lost, again I'm not trying to give you a hard time and I'm not judging you.  I'm trying to help you benefit from my experience.  There is little to be gained in searching for the how and why's of symptoms.  I'm a great believer in Occam's Razor:  The simplest explanation of a problem is usually the correct one.  Rather than some exotic condition or insidious disease, you are most likely suffering from adverse reaction compounded by persistent  catastrophic thinking.  It's your choice how to approach your recovery. I can only tell you what I went through in the hopes you don't suffer the same.

Edited by mstimc

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mstimc

Did your therapist give you any advice?

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Altostrata
1 hour ago, LostRunner said:

@mstimc I had a therapy session today and I have coped better. I'm just trying to understand more about what I'm going through. there is a reason that my back and neck is spasming/pulsing all day everyday and my reaction to the meds was particularly extreme on my last day - hence the serotonin toxicity question. I don't see the harm in asking more about this. I'm pretty sure you'd want to know if you were experiencing it as well. 

 

We have a group of people here who had a fairly immediate severe adverse reaction to SSRIs. Generally, they experience them as too strong, with symptoms of activation -- the drugs are simply not suited to their neurologies. It appears you may be among them. Your doctor was remiss in not recognizing your adverse reaction.

 

Calling it serotonin syndrome is probably inaccurate and unnecessary. Serotonin toxicity is probably closer, but we don't know if the adverse effect is due to inhibition of serotonin reuptake or some other downstream effect. One way or the other, discussing it with various specialists probably isn't going to yield any remedies other than experiments with other psychotropics, as few doctors know anything about diagnosing psychiatric drug adverse reactions and even fewer know anything about treating them. Which is why this site exists.

 

What we have observed is that people who had this immediate severe adverse reaction to SSRIs have post-discontinuation symptoms very much like withdrawal symptoms, which indicate nervous system destabilization. Like people with withdrawal syndrome, people suffering this iatrogenic condition may have become hypersensitive to other psychotropics. Recovery follows the same arc as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS): Halting, frustratingly slow, and very gradual; measured over many months.

 

You will need to be patient and learn self-soothing techniques to allow your nervous system to settle down and to heal.

 

See

 

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LostRunner

don't worry @mstimc I know you're not judging and you're only trying to help.

 

Thank you for your response @Altostrata really appreciate it. I truly admire anyone who has done this for years, I'm really struggling at 3 months! Self soothing is something Im not very good at at the moment which you can probably tell by my thread. Really I should have been more firm with my doctor, I felt the drug wasn't right for me at the time and I told her that but after all I'm the one who continued to take the tablets. Sadly there is nothing I can do about that now.

 

So basically PAWS means it's going to probably take a long time.. have you seen many adverse success stories? Is it right that I associate an adverse reaction to more likely to have permanent damage? With other withdrawals it seems people can at least try to reinstate and stabilise or lessen the blow by tapering. my body is still going crazy 14 weeks on, pulsing all the time in my lower back. does this really calm down? sorry if I've asked too many questions. 

 

 

 

 

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mstimc

Lost, on the old PaxilProgress site I encountered many folks who cold-turkeyed or had adverse reactions.  To my recollection, their recovery arc was different from tapering.  They tended to experience symptoms more intensely in that the windows and waves were more dramatic.  But they recovered.  Like you--like all of us--they suffered a huge spectrum of symptoms but they did recover.

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Ballardbeer
On 5/27/2020 at 12:12 AM, LostRunner said:

I like reading recovery stories as they are so positive but I cant find any that are similar to my situation at all. 

 

i had an adverse reaction to sertraline, but was not so smart about cutting it out early. i took my pill religiously for 8 months straight, until my mind and body started to completely fail from one long hypomanic experience. i'm lucky i'm alive, because some of the things i did while on the drug were insane. i was operating on very little sleep, working a stressful job, managing a stressful relationship, and doing all the classic hypo stunts. i almost appreciate my time withdrawing more than i appreciate the time i was on the drug. but that took a while to get to. i'm 99 percent myself these days. a couple nerve issues here and there, and irritability is not completely gone, but this is all to say i'm a big success story for recovery. i read your words you write and they resonate with me. i'm so sorry you're struggling through this, but I know you'll come out stronger.

 

i remember my worst withdrawal days were 3 months after my last dose. the apathy and suicidal ideation was insane. i literally thought i had completed everything there is to do in life. what a nonsensical thought! I can laugh at that now. at 6 months, i was better, and the windows started to outweigh the waves, but man those waves still came and crashed hard and unexpectedly.

 

if you have not cut out some unhealthy substances in your diet (alcohol, coffee), start to do that now. those things are no good for healing your CNS. i was naive to that. i used pot to pass the time, but all that did was prolong my recovery. we are all on here because we have hyper-sensitivity to drug interactions. SSRI class of drugs is a big NO for me. i like the way pot, coffee, and sometimes beer makes me feel, but only in moderation. i've since realized my psycho-active reaction to those drugs is much more prolific than others. we all have slightly different reactions to all of these substances because we have individuality. 

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LostRunner

Thanks @mstimc thats good to know. struggling to sleep with all this pulsing! 

 

Hi @Ballardbeer thanks for sharing your story! that sounds very scary indeed! its great to hear you've improved so much. I haven't drunk any caffeine or alcohol since this all happened so I'm trying to be ultra careful in that respect. yet to experience any windows, whether I will or not time will tell I guess! 

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Ballardbeer
5 hours ago, LostRunner said:

Hi @Ballardbeer thanks for sharing your story! that sounds very scary indeed! its great to hear you've improved so much. I haven't drunk any caffeine or alcohol since this all happened so I'm trying to be ultra careful in that respect. yet to experience any windows, whether I will or not time will tell I guess! 

 

great job! something that helped me find windows was accepting what was happening to my body. you have to pay attention to the body! when i started to feel my body electrified... skin on fire... twitches... unease... i started to normalize to the withdrawal and recognize pattern and that's really important. the stuff going on in the mind you can't do much about. you're going to have to let that run its course because the drugs are powerful and even 7 consecutive doses is a lot. so pay attention to your thoughts less for now and your body instead. you'll get those windows soon! 

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ShiningLight

Your thought process is withdrawal exhibit A. It could be many, many of us if not all of us, writing your words. In fact many here have written similar things. I recognize the urgency in your words. Fight or flight. Everything feels like an emergency. All thoughts and emotions are heightened. It's the thought pattern. I know because I've been having that off and on lately myself. It is very unpleasant. I'm sorry you are suffering so much. 😭

 

I think it's really hard to do the usual psychotherapy from this place. I used to get very frustrated with my therapist when she tried to get me to introspect when my withdrawal was very acute. Then I fired her. How the heck are you supposed to envision the future when you are just trying to survive the day? Therapy for acute withdrawal needs to be here-and-now focused. I think a lot of therapists have a hard time with that because they don't think they're doing much for you in supporting you through the here and now. And honestly for a therapist that's probably boring. Not a lot of new ideas or fancy interpretations in just getting through the day. However, in withdrawal that's everything. I've grown disillusioned and critical of therapy in the past few years.

 

I had tics, tremors, and chorea that felt very severe to me (in reality they were probably mild to moderate but it was awful). They are both gone. I have a little cogwheeling and cramp fasciculation/muscle spasms, but the tics and tremors are gone and I'm so grateful. It's extremely likely that yours will go away too. I think you said you are 14 weeks out? That's not a lot of time in brain time. I wouldn't judge your likelihood of complete recovery by that amount of time.   

 

 

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LostRunner
On 5/28/2020 at 9:20 PM, LostRunner said:

don't worry @mstimc I know you're not judging and you're only trying to help.

 

Thank you for your response @Altostrata really appreciate it. I truly admire anyone who has done this for years, I'm really struggling at 3 months! Self soothing is something Im not very good at at the moment which you can probably tell by my thread. Really I should have been more firm with my doctor, I felt the drug wasn't right for me at the time and I told her that but after all I'm the one who continued to take the tablets. Sadly there is nothing I can do about that now.

 

So basically PAWS means it's going to probably take a long time.. have you seen many adverse success stories? Is it right that I associate an adverse reaction to more likely to have permanent damage? With other withdrawals it seems people can at least try to reinstate and stabilise or lessen the blow by tapering. my body is still going crazy 14 weeks on, pulsing all the time in my lower back. does this really calm down? sorry if I've asked too many questions. 

 

 

 

 

 

Sorry @Altostrata would I be able to get your take on this? Thank you so much in advance. 

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LostRunner

Thanks @ShiningLight I really related to what you're saying about the support for here and now. looking ahead in this acute state just doesn't compute right now. what a relief that that went away for you. how long were you dealing with those for? were they constant or intermittent? 

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LostRunner

I'm struggling with the constant pulsing I have in my lower back and stomach, my stomach feels so tight when it pulses away that it feels like I cant breathe. its so hard to deal with all day. 

 

Coupled with this my digestion is very slow at the moment and I struggle to even know when I need to go to the toilet. My lower stomach seems to have switched off and doesn't seem to 'work' properly anymore. I have reduced sensation telling me I need the toilet and (tmi) cant push when I need "to go". My body feels half shut down in all honesty.

 

I walked yesterday and today my legs are soooo achy and my calves are so tight as if I've done a really long run. My legs have a vibration in them all the time. 

 

I really don't see my physical symptoms improving, I don't see many of them on here particularly in the success stories - I'm still having trouble walking and do not walk normally. theres so much weird pressure on my hips and legs and back I just dont know whats going on. I've lost a lot of weight and my skin is saggy around my neck and stomach like a deflated balloon. just really don't see this getting better. its been 15 weeks and I haven't felt any improvements to my physical symptoms. Is there anyone with walking issues who's got better??

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LostRunner

I'm having a lot of balance issues at the moment - back still feels unstable/have unsteady gait/shaky pelvis. When I stand I kind of bob on the spot and sway slightly, and when I close my eyes I sway more and cant stay still/ keep straight. I tried something called the Romberg Test where you have to keep upright with your eyes closed and I couldn't do it without swaying (this would never have been a problem before citalopram). I'm thinking I may have something bigger going on here and not just the fall out from the adverse reaction - has anyone heard of this happening? maybe a kind of neuropathy or ataxia? its concerning that I cant keep upright without bobbing / swaying. When I sit still by pelvis/lower spine feels like its continually pulsing/moving. this happens 24/7. thoughts anyone? 

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Altostrata

When we say recovery is very slow and gradual, what we mean is recovery is very slow and gradual. In fact, 3 months is not very long, from what we've seen.

 

When we say you need to be patient and practice coping skills, what we mean is you need to be patient and practice coping skills.

 

We don't have any instant remedies for prolonged adverse reactions from psychiatric drugs. Your nervous system, which runs all the parts of your body, needs to settle down.

 

Many people find fish oil and magnesium supplements helpful, see
https://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/36-king-of-supplements-omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil/
https://survivingantidepressants.org/topic/15483-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/

 

You might try a little bit of one at a time to see how it affects you.

 

This and peer support for your recovery is all we can offer. If you want a drug treatment for whatever is going on, you'll have to take your chances with a doctor.

 

If you think you have a serious medical condition that is physical, you should of course see a medical doctor.

 

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LostRunner

Thank you for your response @Altostrata I'm under the care of a neurologist and I am currently waiting for a nerve conduction test. I definitely don't want a drug treatment if I don't need one. 

 

I know, I appreciate its very slow and gradual, I think as this is to do with walking and balance it has unsettled me, especially as the balance is not head related but more to do with my actual back/pelvis. The constant pulsing in my lower spine, feels like the nerves are constantly firing and I have such weird pressure sensations. I cant believe that I cant balance. its been nearly 4 months. In your experience have you seen symptoms like this? I haven't been able to find any other stories/ threads with this sensation. I don't understand how this can resolve itself. 

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