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    Severe cervical spine OA, excessive head sweating
    sharim posted:
    Hi, I am new to this forum. I have "severe primary idiopathic generalized osteoarthrtis". This is a fairly new title to define a form of arthritis that is not wear and tear, that is genetic, involves bilateral joints. Let's say the only joints that don't have it right now are my hips.
    So we, my spine surgeon and I, have decided not to pursue c-spine surgery, he said he would probably have to fuse C2/3-C8 if he does go in. I have already had surgery, 3, on my lumbar spine. Still experiencing a lot of pain in the low back, surgeries not so much a success. So we are wait and see. I have worsening symptoms in my hands and I have been having the worse head sweating ever. I cannot control it and sweat just pours off my head, really uncomfortable and embarrassing and over the summer I don't go anywhere due to this condition. I have it in winter but obviously not quite to the extent that I have this in summer.
    I am 56 and on HRT since having total hysterectomy in the 1980's. So it's not that. I do take pain medications for my arthritis and fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel (2 surgeries on that-no good either. My knees are the latest dx.
    My sister, who just last week had fusion at C 6-7, also complains about this and she is the one who told me that her doc said it is from the nerve damage in the C-spine area.
    My question: Is this true, can C-spine OA cause this? What is the mechanism here? I have seen little about this in the journal articles I have read. Would appreciate discussion and any input into this problem.
    oldwest responded:
    Your post about excessive head sweating is of great interest to me. I, too, suffer from severe osteoarthritis of most all of my joints and have excessive head sweating. I am 70 years old, had a hysterectomy at age 67, menopause at about age 55. I have arthritis diagnosed in hands, feet, knees, hips and lumbar spine. So far I had a hip and a shoulder replacement and I am scheduled for a knee replacement soon. I've had excessive head sweating for a number of years which has become continually worse. I think this sweating may be due to the medications I take for the arthritis pain and also for other conditions. I take Meloxicam, Tramadol, Effexor, Micardis and Synthroid. All of these drugs, except Tramadol, have a possible side effect of causing sweating. My sweating became worse when I was changed from Celebrex to Meloxicam due to my insurance company failing to agree to continue paying for Celebrex. Like you, I've reached the point where I am limiting unnecessary social contacts due to the extreme nature of the sweating. My head sweats even when I do not feel even warm. I do not have C-spine arthritis. Do you take some or any of the medications I am on. I would really appreciate hearing about your medications, especially if you take any drug of the same type as Effexor. Thanks so much.
    finn2 replied to oldwest's response:
    I also have the head sweating the last year or so, my hair is fine and it gets so wet it looks like I had my head under a shower in minutes, yes, I hate to be in public when this happens, it's so embarrassing and noticeable. After about a half hour of this, my head is soaked in back and temples, stuck to my head, then suddenly it stops. I have to leave a room or go where no one is until my air dries enough. I have cervical spine stenosis, with lots of pain, and some neuropathy in places, the doc said I would know when I wanted surgery (I don't yet) He said the pain or some of it could remain but they can usually do something about the neuropathy symptoms. I take meloxicam just the past 6 months or so and had the head sweating began before then. I also take Oxycodone for short term breakthrough pain and morphine ms (I think it is) for longer periods of relief. I'm glad you posted this question, it should be interesting to hear from others. (I also have pain all over that comes and goes and some that stays, sometimes worse than at other times, in hips and knees, neck, shoulders, lower back, elbows, wrists, most all my body has pain at some time or another).
    sharim replied to finn2's response:
    Yeah, this is horrible you and I and oldwest. We are all taking different meds. I take oxycontin, hydrocodone, AMRIX (extended release Flexeril), Lyrica. It happens no matter what I take. The oxycontin, AMRIX and Lyrica are all maintenance doses the hydrocodone is PRN (as needed). It doesn't matter how much of the hydrocodone I am taking. It doesn't matter what the temp is. I sweat like a pig, have thinner hair so my head too just soaked. I am so embarrassed by this I don't go out anywhere. So now I am a home body. People around me are freezing and I am sweating, dripping all over the place. I have begun to experience more problems with my scalp. I get the feeling that something like a bug is crawling through my hair. I hate that, I am constantly finding something to scratch at my head (I hate spiders and to touch one in my scalp would totally freak me out) I have all manner of jumping and twitching in my scalp. There is never anything in my hair. This is really interesting to me. I am having terrific headaches now, they call them migraines, but they are not migraines. Hmm. Two years ago I was getting Botox injections in the neck muscles, I had dystonia. It got a little better, the headaches stopped so I didn't schedule anymore shots. I am going to call on Monday to have assessment by my Pain Management Spec. Probably time to keep a diary of the sweating, when it happens, the temp, what I'm doing, stressing or depressing. I'd like to hear from others about this symptom. I will let you know what he has to say about all this. He is quite good, young and actually trained in Pain Management, very conservative. I have had RFA (radio frequency ablation) done in my neck, 3 levels C3-4, C4-5, C5-6. They stick a small, tiny trocar type instrument into the area of the nerve and hit it with radio frequency under fluoroscopy (sp) (live xray machine). If it's close enough to the nerve it damages it and takes the nerve a long time to recover giving relief for the pain. This either works or doesn't, like epidurals. Wow, what we let them do to us to eliminate the pain. What? Stand on one foot in the middle of Walmart and hoot an holler? That will end my pain? OK!
    I just bet the Botox will stop the headaches and the sweating. I wish I could call right now and get an appointment.
    I will keep you updated.
    finn2 replied to sharim's response:
    I am interested in what you find out and good luck. I've never had shots for pain in my neck or anywhere else, I don't have the headaches or feel like something is crawling in my hair. Just the sweats, they come anytime but not so often I won't go out. When I am out and it happens, I just go to an aisle in the store where no one is or outside if I'm at an auction for instance, the sweating stops in maybe 20 minutes, then my hair has to dry. I just avoid looking at anyone, my husband is used to it now. How long does yours last?
    sharim replied to finn2's response:
    Oh, mine lasts longer maybe 20 to 60 minutes. I could sit in front of an air conditioner and it would not stop the sweats. Oh it's bad. I have experimented with food thinking it could be related to rise or fall of blood sugar, no correlation there. Then my sister who just had fusion in the c-spine at one level was complaining about it and she said her orthopedic surgeon told her that this is related to the nerve damage from the herniated disc and lateral recess stenosis. So now I am trying to find out more information about this and I am coming up with a few articles on the internet but not many. I wonder if it is not as common or people aren't complaining about because they think it is something else.
    It is just horrible, sweat dripping everywhere. Just happened to me today grocery shopping, about 3/4 of the way through the store and just pouring off my head all this sweat. It really looked like someone threw water all over my head. It lasted about 1/2 hour and did not stop when I went outside the store in 60 degree weather. But my headaches have been getting much, much worse the current one is since the beginning of the month, I am just barely staying ahead of it with pain meds, barely.
    I have an appointment for next week but this is just for the initial workup because it's been a while since I was there. He is a good doctor and they schedule treatments pretty quickly after the workup. I hope the insurance company comes back with a quick enough approval on the Botox injections. It is a pre-approval thing. Anyway, it will stop most of the neck pain, head pain and probably this sweating thing. I will let you know what he says about it. I did look at some of the information online regarding the nerves responsible for it and the Botox should help with it.
    boring replied to oldwest's response:
    I to have the same problem. I have had 5 back surgeries, 4 lumbar, ( have rods and screws there) and one in c6/c7. I am on pain meds and have a neurostimulator implanted in my back. I have resorted to buying clothes made out of something they used on the space shuttel that helps keep you cool. I go nowhere in summer. My head looks like someone poured a bucket of water on me most days. The doctors say they have not okeyed Botox for the head yet for sweating. Know one seems to be able to help me. I look foward to winter for that reason, Good Luck finding something.Boring
    finn2 replied to sharim's response:
    Well I saw the orthopedic surgeon I go to about my neck yesterday and told him about this discussion on headsweats, He was very skeptical, said he felt it wouldn't happen with cervival spine stenosis, but would be possible with a bad spinal cord injury (like Christopher Reeves had), he said controlling body temp could also be affected in that sort of injury. He feels my head sweats are due to hormones.
    An_248677 replied to finn2's response:
    He everyone. I too experienced the sweating as described by many and it started back in my late thirties. Lasted heavily for over 10 years and then my periods stopped just like that. I have four children. I also experienced facial flushing that sometimes got so bad my kids ora friend would notice and tell me my face was purple. Sometimes only pink or reddish. But no one needed tell me, I felt like my face was on fire. Sometimes my ears would do this and not my face or both. Well, it's been five years and now I'm 53 years old. I still get a little sweating but not that much. I still get the flushing and sometimes a little and sometimes a lot. I've never gotten an answer from any doctor I've seen. I usually get a blank stare or ignored. But, the reason I write this, about six/seven years ago, I was so tired which was going on for several years at least and I saw another doctor in the same office as my doctor. I asked her for help, thought i was going crazy. She ran some tests which I asked for. Two of my older sisters were diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Sure enough I had very high levels indicating the same. Also I was very deficient in Vitamin D and Vitamin B12. So after taking megadoses of these two vitamins I actually started feeling a bit better. Well I get this horrible exaustion over and over since then.
    sharim replied to boring's response:
    But they have approved it for dystonia which is severe muscle spasms, anywhere. They have approved it for migraine headache. I don't know if insurance would cover it for sweating anyway.
    Anyone with OA in the neck probably has severe enough muscle spasms as I did and Botox can be used for that.
    sharim replied to An_248677's response:
    I am on HRT, have been for years. I have blood work done all the time for Thyroid nodule in left lobe. And we do all the other blood work with it. There is nothing. I have read a lot over the past few days that tells me it is from the DDD in the neck. It's the sympathetic nervous system when there is a gliltch such as nerve entrapment there can be among other things sweating, profusely sweating. Also the forehead nerves running through the cheeks (facial) can be the cause.
    This is definitely not female hormone related. This is much, much more profuse and is only the head my arm pits are bone dry when this occurs. Not even sweating on my chest, it's just the head. Of course after several minutes I do begin to sweat in other areas due to the sheer embarrassment of it all. I skipped the Pumpkin Patch last week with my grandkids due to it. I just could not bring myself to go. When something affects me this much it's bad, very bad. I hate missing fun with the kids. I don't get out much these days and it's not healthy for us to do this. I spent an hour crying, sobbing and of course sweating from my head because I had to say no. It has to end and I will do anything to stop it.
    So I go back to be poked and prodded with needles, medications, anything is better than this.
    sharim replied to finn2's response:
    I have been reading up on this and your cranial facial nerves can be included in c-spine OA. And cranial facial nerves can cause this head sweating. Usually if they are injured at the check(s) but they originate from the c-spine exiting in the occipital region, splitting into cranial facial nerves. This region is at the base of the head. This is where my "migraines" originate I can feel when these nerves are affected, the back of my head throbs. The only thing that eased these for me was about 3 years ago I began Botox injections for the muscle spasms in the neck. I had about 3 or 4 sessions, one session in between I had just simple injections of lidocane (or some such "caine"). It seems that the return of my headaches and the sweating occurred at about the same time, last spring. I am also having some eye involvement, little haze here and there, I just noticed it and it occurs with headache and neck muscle spasms. Control of body temp and sweating is hypothalamus, I am sure of that. It could indicate other ailments but mine is definitely culminating in headache, neck pain, sweating and now hazy vision. Sweating is also part of the sympathetic nervous system, just below surface of the skin.
    I will figure this out and share the outcome.
    sharim replied to finn2's response:
    Your doctor is wrong. You don't need a traumatic spinal injury for this. It is also not hormonal, he is a he, correct. It angers me when bonifide medical ailments get placed under the "hormone" category if you are a woman of a certain age. When it is only the head and not the rest of the body it can be many causes but belive me this is as a result of a problem inthe "autonomic nervous system", it is focal not generalized.
    I have just gone through a major crisis, averted a diagnosis of lymphoma. Through this, lots of blood work, 2 neck surgeries and CT scans, thyroid cancer test, thyroid numbers everything has been poked and proded. I have "craniofacial hyperhydrosis"of no known cause. The only anomoly for me is the severe osteoarthritis of the c-spine, my discs are herniating in my neck, there is central canal stenosis and the sweating continues.
    It is only my head that pours sweat, I am not talking beads of sweat I am talking about sweat that pours off my head onto me, the table, my grandkids. It's disgusting. Rivlets of sweat pouring down while I eat or watch tv or shop for food or do anything. I cannot make it stop. Also I have the sensaton of things walking on my head, feels like bugs walking around the scalp. Nothing is there it's a most annoying feeling. I get those nerve twinges on my head, twiches I guess you would call it. It drives me nuts.
    Horminal? That stopped a long time ago. That is a catch all, doctors throw lots of stuff in that category. I wish doctors were made to suffer some of the things that we suffer, hormonal.
    I am going to make an appointment with my neurosrgeon to see what he thinks. He is a good doctor and he is very sympathetic.

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