Hi everyone. My name is Bob. I just wanted to stop by and introduce myself.
This is my chronicle... so far... male - age 32 - tall and skinny - underweight entire life - not active - desk job - smoker
My symptoms began ~10 years ago - started as intermittent jabbing "pain in the butt" on both sides (several inches deep). There was no obvious trauma or prior injury.
I had several images (ct, xray, etc) of pelvis - was never diagnosed with anything specific - and assumed minor SI arthritis and I just dealt with the pain.
8 years passed and the pain slowly got worse and began moving up my back. I had a few more tests (many xrays, a few mri's) and 2 years ago I was diagnosed with DDD/OA and told to stay on NSAIDs. I then attended PT for 2 months but got very little result from it.
Symptoms that slowly got worse over those first 8 years:
- pain slowly spread across much of back, but still primarily along the lower back
- some pain in shoulder blades
- occasional "cramping" kink in neck rarely causing headaches
- tightness when coughing
- unable to "complete" a sneeze; even forceful unexpected sneezes
- occasional night sweats
Doctor told me to see a pulmonologist because some of the symptoms pointed to possible lung problems. I completed PFTs (including being put in a pressure sensitive box) but nothing was found to be wrong in the lungs except slightly low volume capacity. All other blood tests came back negative except for elevated sed rate (not uncommon for
arthritis patients?). All images looked ok except for arthritic degeneration of several areas of the spine.
- constant pain and spikes to moderate pain
- pulling pain in lower ribs (both sides) and thus difficulty sleeping/relaxing
- coughing, sneezing, bumping into things, and being generally startled for any reason, would cause back/body to tense up almost to the point of paralysis, pain level 8 albeit only a split second - severe pain remained for upwards of a 30 seconds afterward these unwanted surprises
- hunched forward appearance - as if spine curving forward
- pain in and around sternum
By this time I was taking ~800mg Ibuprofen a day to keep the
inflamation under control - on bad days it would not work great. I also started taking prilosec to help with upset stomache. I've tried Celebrex but it worked less than ibuprofen.
Symptoms that have started in the last 2 years:
- noticeable weight loss (already underweight to begin with)
- rarely would have difficulty holding up head when looking up (really) high
- overall loss of interest in hobbies/activities due to pain
- increased sternum pain and popping/cracking sternum after waking up - stiff and sore
- rare episodes of being unable to take a breath
Most recent symptoms (can't say for sure if any of these are related or "just one of those life pains from aging"):
- pain level hovering about 4 most of the time with common spikes to level 6
- uncommon spikes of pain to level 7-8 - crippling pain but generally very very short lived - usually when twisting or bending
- severe pulling pain under left bottom rib - extremely painful when sleeping on back/sides
- tip of right shoulder blades sensitive to touch - very painful coiciding with loss of strength in right arm for a few days
- occasional tingling in right-hand pinky (and less so in left pinky)
- I used keyboard mouse 12+ hours a day so...
- stabbing burning pain along spine just below and left of the right shoulder blade - very intermittent and shortlived but feels extremely hot
Earlier this year, I decided to visit pain clinic. I went for the spine injections, as a diagnostic procedure, to see if we could hunt down the root of the problem. Stated with facet joint injection (somewhere in L2-L5) which appeared to work but only for a week or so - next came the nerve block injection at the same location which lasted even less time. We had planned to have the nerves burnt off if the injections had worked... but...
The doctor performing the 2nd injection noticed something very strange on flouroscope... her words were "boney mass" but from her reactions it was something they had never seen and could not identify exactly what it could be - they could only suggest that perhaps it was a large spur. I was told that I need to get additional MRIs and then visit a spinal surgeon to determine what it was, if it was severe, and if
there were any surgical options.
I was given a film and told this should be given to the surgeon. Here are some picture of it:http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/847/xray2.jpg/http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/220/xray1s.jpg/
So I visited a spinal surgeon, who was concerned enough from the xray and prior MRI's, that he ordered a full body nuclear bone scan, additional MRIs, and flex/ext xrays.
He was also concerned about my my weight loss. Had my CBC blood results and also got checked for thyroid problems which runs in my family. So far all blood work looks good.
I was given a printout of the bonescan. Here are some pics:http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/265/bscan1.jpg/http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/411/bscan2.jpg/http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/403/bscan3.jpg/
Anyway, I had the followup with the surgeon this week and he, once again, expressed his concern of not knowing what is causing this. He told me that almost every section of the spine was abnormal based on the bone scan results. But he also said that the MRI's and xray's didn't show anything of importance other than the apparent arthritic effects were noticeable.
He ordered CT scans of several more areas as well as additional blood results to rule out tumor and infections. The blood test results that are already in all look good (cbc,bun/creat) but I haven't seen the sed rate results yet. He said surgery is not an option since there isn't anything to focus on but he wants to help me figure out what
I'm getting the CT scans next week. Fingers crossed.
(at this point I'm surprised I'm not glowing from all these