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  • Does this sound like a muscle problem or a spine problem?

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    Old 07-22-2009, 04:36 PM   #1
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    Does this sound like a muscle problem or a spine problem?

    Hi all,

    I'm a 30 year old male, I've been struggling with some health issues for a while now, they've centered around an anal fissure and some peripheral neuropathy (tingling, itching, burning sensations in the extremities). As far as I know the fissure and neuropathy are unrelated. Doctors haven't been able to find any cause for the neuropathy.

    Lately the neuropathy has tapered off some, but it's been replaced by strange feelings in my back. The primary sensation is a dull stiff pressure in the upper right back, it goes from the right shoulder blade down to just below the right ribs (on the side of my torso). While that's the primary complaint I have, the weird thing is the place where I feel the discomfort isn't always consistent. Once in a while, I'll feel stiffness in the left side of the back, and sometimes I'll get a localized stiff spot right down the center of the back, along the spine. Oftentimes my shoulder blades feel sort of tight and tender.

    I've talked with my doctor about it but he's pretty dismissive, just says it's muscle spasms due to anxiety and to take Ibuprofen. I had a brain MRI that didn't find any MS lesions, and a cervical spine MRI found some minor arthopathy, retrolisthesis, hypertrophy, and neuroforaminal stenosis, but nothing that my primary doctor or neurologist thought was a great concern. The only comment they had was that it looks like more degeneration than expected for my age, but that it shouldn't cause any noticeable symptoms.

    Anyhow, my question is, do the sensations I've described sound muscular or spinal in origin to you folks? If they're muscular then I'm inclined to give them some time to work themselves out, but if they seem more spinal then I'm going to see about pushing for a thoracic MRI. I'm thinking (and hoping) they're muscular, which seems more likely given that they change locations from time to time (I'd expect a spine problem to hurt more and to be felt in the same location all the time -- am I right about this?), but any feedback would be most welcome. Thank you so much.

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    Old 07-24-2009, 05:07 AM   #2
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    Re: Does this sound like a muscle problem or a spine problem?

    is there ANY type of pain or senation thats just always reoccurring at any particular area or areas?(just reread and it is in the upper back?) all our muscles are interconnected thru the outter covering called "fascia' that could create a domino affect to other muscle groups as well. but it would take a level where 'something" is usually firing off or triggering signals to the muscle. this can happen anytime a muscle gets overly used or strained or from some level of either spinal problem within the column or the cord itself too.

    i am wondering just why they only did that c spine area and not the full spinal considering you are in that diagnostic mode? do YOU have your own copy of that rad report from the MRI in your possession so you could type out that summary at the very end here? depending upon certain wordings used to describe certain findings would really show what thew rads interpretation was. trust me when i say here that no all neuros or other specialists are simply created equal, not by a long shot. certain findings would mean something more significant to one neuro to another pretty much solely dependant upon 'their' own levels of experience and overall knowledge of any given finding, you know what i mean? and the rarer a finding is, the more insane any given opinion can be too. went thru that one myself with three seperate neurosurgeons no less. that created three totally seperate and different opinions as to what my spinal cord issue actually ment for me. it was just crazy really.

    just the fact that there were any hard findings within that c spine area at all could be somewhat responsible for at least part of what you are feeling. MRIs just do not always show EVERYTHING as it is in there ya know? certain findings do not always show real well(was this with or without contrast?),or something that 'looks" mild to moderate can actually be much more severe than the MRI showed. that one happens alot actually. this is where your actual symptoms play the bigger part in just tracking back a particular sensation or pain to its source,or the base of operations so to speak?

    but getting the rest of that spine MRIed just could reveal another type of problem too. trust me, it is always possible to have more than one issue or problem when it comes to our spines and cords. i have a c spine mess up top in my c spine and a lumbar annular tear/fissue with a bulge that just has not yet become symptomatic on me yet. but i know its there since it showed up on the routine MRI i had to have done just to see if i had anymore strange vascular globs growing at that end of my cord.

    just an FYI for ya here, but your description of that 'stiff pressure' just being there and where it runs down to can in some cases be related to an actual level of cord involvement of some degree. that is the BIGGEST symptom/painsation(my new word for that)that was present like ALL the time before i found out what was going on in my spinal cord. it can at times be caused by other problems within the spine too, but this alone would really require that fuller downward MRI scan, just to see what may pop up. just getting that look at both the T and L would at least rule this in or out as the possible generator.

    different types of spinal issues that are just possible to have could also be stemming from very different sources or levels within your c spine spine too. certain things just can feel different(as far as symptoms/pain goes) but in your head, it all kind of runs together type thing only becasue the symptoms kind of overlap each other. while i am sure you DO have some level of actual muscle involvement going on here to a degree, what is actually triggering it is what you need to find out. stress and anxiety can over tighten muscles, but when this becomes what you are talking about, there is generally a very specific type of reason or trigger in there somewhere.

    if i were you,i would make certain to always obtain ALL test results for your own files since docs are really bad at telling patients like everything that IS a hard finding in any given report, only what they 'feel" is pertinent. and keep getting them from here on out too. but also getting the rest of that spinal done really could show another deeper type of problem too. it just needs ruling out at this point if nothing else. this is just what i would be pushing for right now if i were you. hopefully they can at least find the reason for what you are actually feeling here. please keep me posted as to what you find out. good luck, marcia
    3-22-01,herniated C-6-7
    11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
    9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

    Old 07-24-2009, 06:26 PM   #3
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    Re: Does this sound like a muscle problem or a spine problem?


    Another thing...just because it may appear from an MRI that something shouldn't be causing you those symptoms, that is boloney. I have read many, many times in known medical literature that every person experiences pain differently. What may feel excruciating to one person can feel like nothing to another, and vice versa. Also, there are people who get MRI's, maybe for a totally different reason than their spine, but the spine happens to be in that MRI....where it shows a severe or large disk herniation or severe stenosis (found incidentally), but yet the person never had any symptoms. Then there are people, like you, where doctors THINK what the MRI shows should not be causing pain...but it CAN cause you pain. Doctors should know all this...I don't know why so many are so dismissive of patient's symptoms all the time. When they don't know the answer, it seems it's always either due to "stress" or psychological issues. Yea, whatever. If I were you, I would not just accept their answers, I would go get more opinions. It may very well be that it is a muscular issue or some condition that causes muscle problems, but it's possible it really could in your spine. Of course I am not a doctor and cannot diagnose you...but pains away from your spine are usually more muscle related, I would think. However, you can get constant muscle spasms from a problem within your spine. I know I do and they get very severe and spread all over the place. Just give it some is your body and you are the one who is having to deal with that pain. You deserve it to be investigated as fully as possible and have a chance at treatment if possible.

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