Can cervical or thoraic spine problems cause heart palpitations?
In Dec 2022 I had severe sciatica in the left leg. As a result, I do physical therapy exercises two times a day (2 hrs total). About 2 months after starting the physical therapy exercises, my hands and arms occasionally go numb at night, which is really not bothersome. More troubling to me is a large spike in the number of premature atrial and ventricular contractions that started around this time. After starting physical therapy, I now notice occasional painless clicking all along my spine, including the cervical.
I recently saw a neurosurgeon, he said no way nerves from the spine could cause heart palpitations. From an internet search I find that T1-T5 enervate the heart – which suggest to me that the possibility exists.
I would appreciate any input on this topic.
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In my experience, yes, but I have spinal fractures leaving less room in my torso so not sure if my afib is triggered by food or gas in the GI system putting pressure on the heart or nerves affecting the heart. If I do tai chi or PT exercise my rib cage rises and also can cause GI and heart issues. It's kind of a mystery.
Look into the vagus nerve being involved-?
If you are getting numbness, chances are that might be coming from your spine, especially cervical. What does your neurologist say? Is your PT aware of this? I have had that and the PT had to switch to massage only!
My knowledge is that the vagus nerve is part of the parasympathetic system and is therefore 'rest and digest' -i.e. it should slow the heart down. The nerves coming from the spinal cord are part of the sympathetic system (fight or flight) and therefore would increase heart activity.
I am getting an MRI and X-rays of the cervical spine today so I should learn more. My appointment with my cardiologist is not until July, so I took advantage of speaking to a cardiologist available via the Kardia mobile device system and what I got from him is that the spinal nerves can effect the heart.
I posted on this forum out of concern that the cardiologist will just say take some pills to lessen the palpitations and during my recent appointment with a neurosurgeon he said the spinal nerves cannot cause heart palpitations and actually ended the appointment quickly, without answering many of my questions, once he thought that my lumbar disc bulges were not severe enough to make me a surgical candidate even though I am 7 months into this and my sciatica symptoms stopped improving two months ago.
Thanks for your input.
My thoughts (also a minor rant) on your situation. Doctors are imperfect human beings like the rest of us. They 'practice' medicine once we enter the medical assembly line. My approach would be to keep seeking second opinions until I was 100% (or as much as possible) confident that I had the best possible treatment plan for my symptoms. Best wishes.
@java2 I don't understand your response to me. I am all set with my docs and treatment. I always get second or even third or fourth opinions if needed, My spine has 7 fractures. I have gotten my afib down to once every two years, so far, without meds. I am all set and hope you get answers!