View Full Version : Anyone know what could cause this?
I hope someone can help me. I have had a chronic mild itch on the right side of my upper back for about a year and a half now. Lately I noticed that I'll sometimes have a sense of numbness in the area too. However, last night I woke up in the middle of the night to an absolutely excruciating burning pain in the same spot. It hurts so bad I can hardly move! I don't have insurance right now, and I'm afraid that going to the emergency room would cost a fortune. I'm so scared that it is something serious though. Does anyone have ideas what this could be?:(
07-19-2003, 07:39 AM
Has anyone looked at your back to see if there is anything in that spot? Not necessarily a doctor, just a spouse or friend who could tell you if there is anything visible? I do know that an itchy mole can be a sign that it is precancerous, but I don't know about the sudden pain. My mom had an itchy/tingling/numb spot on her back one time that turned out to be shingles, but I can't imagine that would go on for this long without any other symptoms. I don't want to scare you, and I can certainly understand your concern about the cost since you don't have insurance, but I think you should definitely get it checked out. Is there a medical school or public hospital near you that might run a free or reduced-cost clinic? Also, even though you don't have insurance, I think it would probably be cheaper (and faster) to visit a doctor's office rather than the emergency room. I know around here there are some walk-in clinics (usually called urgent care or minor emergency centers) that don't require an appointment and may also be a little less expensive.
Let us know how you are doing:)
Thanks Claire! I don't see anything on the surface, in fact I forgot to mention that the itch seems internal, in that scratching it doesn't provide a lot of relief. The numbness and pain is definitely internal as well. I was thinking it might be a pinched nerve, but never heard of pinched nerves causing itching or numbness. Does anyone know if those are typical symptoms? Any other ideas?
07-19-2003, 12:46 PM
The DH of a friend has experienced something very similar to this--his has to do with inflamation of the nerve endings. I'm so sorry I cannot give you any specifics. He, too, has had the problem in his back area--no outward signs, but burning and discomfort. I don't know about the numb feeling, though.
I once used a cleaning solution without gloves, and itched maddenly on my arms and legs for days eventhough the solution was only on my hands...??? A dermatologist friend said nerve endings can be like that--eventhough the irritation is in one place, they like to spread the misery around.
You definitely should see your Dr., but it's likely got to do with those touchy little nerves.
07-21-2003, 10:05 AM
Kera I don't have anything to add about your problem but wanted to say that my DH was unemployed recently and had no insurance coverage and ended up with a serious sinus infection -- on the weekend of course! He didn't have a doctor so we found a place that just took walk-in appointments (urgent care type place although they were also a "regular" doctor's office with appts. etc.). It cost $90 for the appt -- cheaper than I expected.
07-21-2003, 11:52 AM
Well, a doctor's visit is probably in order, but unfortunately my experience with a lot of dermatologists has been "Gee, I have no idea... try this Cortisone cream and check back in a week..." That's a an oversimplification, and it's not a dig on dermatologists, it's just that the skin is ridiculously hard to diagnose.
Based on the tiny amount you mentioned in your post, the thought of shingles crossed my mind. When you get chicken pox you are at risk later in life for a disease called shingles. The chicken pox virus, once it has run its course, sits in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord, in different places in different people. Shingles is sort of an itchy, burning, "ants crawling on skin" condition in which the "sleeping" virus decides to wake up. Because it sits in the dorsal horn, it affects specific dermatomes in your body. Dermatomes are specific areas of skin supplied by a spinal nerve. Some people get reddening of the skin with shingles and the area it affects is a perfect dermatome map! It's really cool (but not for the patient). Shingles tends to flare up and go away, so maybe you have a mild case that's just not going away.
Not a whole lot works for shingles, in my experience, except for GOOD quality antiviral herbals (Echinacea and St. John's Wort...SJW is actually a very good antiviral, in addition to a slight antidepressant) and chiropractic care. I have seen patients who have chronic shingles infections clear up within days of a proper chiropractic adjustment. Must have to do with the effect of the adjustment on the dorsal horn.
Anyway, you may not even have shingles, but it's worth a look. Good luck and keep us posted!
Kerra, last December I had a very itchy spot on the back of my neck. I went to the Dr. and he said it was shingles. It cleared up with Valtrex, but I still have the itch, however there is nothing there. The skin around the area hurt, but I did not experience the severe pain that is usually associated with shingles. This is my experience. Vicky
I had a very similar thing. Mine was just to the right of my spine. It didn't itch, though, it sort of tingled or throbbed a bit. This, just like you mentioned, would occasionally turn into a very sharp sudden pain, which was very worrying. I always described the sensation as 'wierd', it was very hard to explain and didn't feel like any other sort of discomfort I had every experienced. It was so 'weird' feeling that I went to the doctor. I don't remember her exact words, but she said something like it was a nerve which had shifted off its course. I have to admit I didn't beleive her, and worried it was something more sinister. She asked if I had been carrying a heavy backpack or bag and I had - a heavy shoulder bag. After I stopped carrying the big bag over one shoulder it sort of went away. Occaisionally I feel the twinge, but not nearly as often. Do it get it checked out, though. Many doctors will give you a discount of you are uninsured. But don't worry too much in the meantime - it could just be a stray nerve. Good luck!
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