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Mentholatum-like burning sensation on back over burst L4-L5, L5-S1; any ideas?

blackberrybunnybblackberrybunny Posts: 157
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:42 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hello everybody. A quick little history of me. Female, 41 years old. I hurt my back in about 2002 using a pick axe to dig stumps up out of the yard. Over the years, every once in a while, I'd 'throw out my back" in the lowest part. OMG, it hurt so bad I had to walk bent over, such pain! It would get better in a week or so. Once, swear, I sneezed and it happened. I didn't realize then that the disc had just bulged! Then, as I get older, it would happen again and again, once, I just bent funny in the shower and it happened, and it was eventually was taking up to two months to heal.

Then, last March, my husband I are were on vacation when I woke up from the hotel bed in terrible pain down in my lumbar, but I'd had this pain before, so I took a lortab and figured it'd go away. Well, figures, our only day of vacation for the year, and the pain got so bad that we had to get me home immediately and I went to my doctor for the next 3 days in a row. Anyhow, to make a long story short, what happened was my L4-L5 and L5-S1 discs had gone beyond bulging, and herniating--- they had actually TORN open and were leaking the pulposes gel out of them.

An MRI and CAT SCAN the herniating discs. So first I had a lumber epidural steroid injection, which only made me worse. Then we did a discogram and confirmed what the problem was---that my 2 discs had torn open and were leaking out. My doctor put me on 3 x 10 MG Lortabs a day for a year now. last month, I complained and he upped me to 4 lortabs a day and I said it's been a whole year, I'm still hurting. We tried to do a facet joint injection on me yesterday but I could only handle having the left side done, the pain was too much, so we stopped. I have to have that test done all over now, 8 needles. I don't think I can do it, I don't think I can handle the whole test. (I have this posted in another thread, btw.)

Geez, I tried to keep this short, sorry! The thing is, about 4, 5 months ago, I started noticing this burning sensation on my skin, on my back, over the area of the bad discs. Imagine an oval area that covers your lower back and someone has rubbed mentholatum on it and it won't go away. I tried putting cold get packs on it, trying to cool down the burning, but it only made it burn worse! Can you believe this? What do you think it could be? It's not painful, just a thing you notice all day, because it's like you've got tiger balm on you---you know how it 'burns?' Well, this won't go away.

I mentioned it to my dr., but he is Chinese and we have a communication problem I think. He acknowledged I told him about this burning sensation, but he didn't say what it could be, he just looked at his P.A. and said "Let's do facet joint injections." I didn't even know what that was. See my other thread about THAT horror, if you dare.

Thanks for your time. I need this board---so much help here, thank you all! I am all alone, except for my husband and mom, and I don't have a support group. I'm facing double spinal fusion surgery and have decided I'll kill myself before I go through that. I can't even handle an 8 puncture facet joint injection diagnostic test. ;-( I can't imagine have double fusion, being in a full body brace for months and months and risking more injury and more pain possibly. Not a lot of people are happy with the fusion, much less DOUBLE fusion!

Thanks for listening and for your help and advice. I truly appreciate it.


  • Sounds like classic neuropathy to me! At least, that was how mine started out.

    You know, we can all handle more than we think. I broke my back in 2007 and if you'd asked me at the time whether I could tolerate the pain for 2 1/2 years, I would have said NO WAY! But here I am, and although I do get punchy when it's bad for the most part I'm doing pretty well.

    But as a lot of people have realized, there has to be a point where you go "oh, so this is my new life?" And with that acceptance comes a lot more tolerance for the pain.
  • Thanks for your reply--- my dr. prescribed me Lyrica, but all of a sudden I got put on all these meds at one time, and so I never took the lyrica. I went from only taking birth control and lortabs every day to taking ALL kinds of new meds for my blood pressure, depression, cholesterol, anxiety, sleep, etc., so I figured the Lyrica could wait at least a while until I got used to this other stuff. I'm sure my body is like what the heck? What IS all this stuff??? What's it doing to meeeeee? LOL

    I guess the Lyrica would help this classic neuropathy, do you think? A lot of people say it makes them gain weight, and I already need to lose over 70 lbs before I'm ready for my multi level fusion. I'm too fat for it, my bp too high, all kinds of problems since I hurt my back a year ago....

    Thanks for your reply! ;-)
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