Are my neck stiffness, heat flashes, numbness, and lightheadedness related to cervical neck or lumbar disc issues?

Q. Why do I get heat flashes and bloating whenever I drink caffeinated drinks?

Answered by
Dr. Aida Abaz Quka
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jan 01, 2023

Hi doctor,

I am 46 years old, 6 feet tall, and weighs 270 pounds (I recently lost 20 lbs). I am regularly active with CrossFit and weight training. About a year ago, I started getting strange symptoms. I have been to the doctor more in the last ten months than in my life combined. I am extremely frustrated. My BP was 127/66 mmHg yesterday.

About four years ago, I used to get heat flashes on occasion when I started a ketogenic diet and was drinking pre-workout drinks regularly. I would feel a stomach or gastric disturbance, then a lightheaded feeling for just a second a couple of times daily. I stopped taking the supplements and pre-workout drinks, and it went away for some time. The company representative said it was probably a mineral imbalance and suggested some minerals. I went back to taking the supplements, and the symptoms returned, but this time I stayed off them going forward. I would get the "hot flash" occasionally when I drank anything with a lot of caffeine ever since. Somewhere around this time, I kept getting a bubble feeling in my stomach and lower GI, particularly when laying down, like gas but fluttering. I went to my primary care doctor, and she was worried it was a heart condition and did an EKG in the office, but it was normal. My lipase levels in my blood were slightly elevated (57 U/L), so she wanted to do a full abdominal and upper GI CT. All came back normal, with a slight possibility of GERD. During my upper GI CT, they noted I had an SVT in the heart, so the GI doctor pushed me to go to a Cardiologist who did a complete EKG, stress test, and ultrasound and found no issues except the SVT. They then diagnosed AFIB. The Cardiologist wants to put me on the beta-blockers and something else, but I am hesitant due to a few issues I experienced in the past.

I have had minor back issues for years with sciatica and lumbar soreness (the CT scan noted some lumbar degeneration), along with a stiff neck issue that I have regularly corrected with the chiropractor. My neck stiffness got to the point that I had to buy a neck massager, which made it worse. I used to get a massage to loosen stiff muscles in my neck, but earlier this year, that became more painful (clearly a nervous issue) as I would be sore for a week afterward. I have a poor posture issue and sit at a desk all day. Also, I overworked my chest and caused some muscle imbalance, so I visited PT to help correct it, which helps sometimes but is still annoying. I have pins and needles randomly in my back (not painful) and some numbness in my toes, mainly when I lay down. I am not 100 % certain the toes thing has not been going on for a long time. I am just hypersensitive to everything now. No loss of strength anywhere, as I lift weights very regularly. Also, I have had feelings of hazy or foggy headaches, tension headaches, and occasional vision issues. I had extensive eye tests last year because I had cupping in the optic nerve, but all tests came back normal with no pressure.

Getting to my point. I have felt strongly that these things were connected for some time. I tried not to search on the internet. So, I went to a neck and spine specialist yesterday, and they took X-rays and scheduled MRI to look at the head and neck. X-ray reports seemed normal, but I was asked to wait on MRI. I do not know how to talk to a doctor about connecting these dots or if that is reasonable.

Please help.



Welcome to

I went through your query and understood your concern.

Regarding heat flashes, they could be partially explained by GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and atrial fibrillation episodes. However, I suggest you check your thyroid hormone levels to exclude possible thyroid gland dysfunction, which may trigger hot flashes, cardiac arrhythmia, and pins and needles.

Regarding your stiff neck, with a normal X-ray study, it is much more probable that your MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) result will be normal too. A wrong posture may explain neck pain and stiffness.

Regarding the numbness in your toes, I suggest you to perform a nerve conduction study to examine your nerve activity and check for vitamin B12 and vitamin D plasma levels for possible deficiency. I suggest you discuss with your doctor on the above issues.

I hope this has helped you out.

Kindly follow up if you have more doubts.

Investigations to be done:

Thyroid hormone levels, vitamin B12, vitamin D plasma levels, and nerve conduction studies.

Hi doctor,

Thank you for your reply.

My TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) level is 1.97 mU/L, as I had taken the test earlier. My question is, is it reasonable that these things could be connected and related to cervical neck or lumbar disk issues? Or is it merely a coincidence?

Please clarify.



Welcome back to

Thank you for the additional information.

I agree with you on the fact that a cervical spine disorder may cause chest discomfort and numbness in the toes, but the numbness is usually triggered by walking (which does not seem to be your case). Besides, a bulging disc in the cervical spine would lead to irradiating nerve pain in the arms, which is not occurring to you. So, in my opinion, while waiting for the scheduled cervical MRI, I suggest you to check vitamin D and vitamin B12 levels, coupled with nerve conduction studies (which help detect pinched nerves or damaged nerves).

I hope you will find this answer helpful.

Kindly follow up if you have more doubts.

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