Discussions By Condition: Back conditions

back spasms, a spinal disorder or autoimmune system disorder

Posted In: Back conditions 3 Replies
  • Posted By: sinned69
  • January 18, 2007
  • 06:17 AM

Hi there all.
I'm a NZ'er working in Mainland China, been here 4yrs now, have had an interesting time of it. For those of you who've never been, throw all your pre-conceptions away, this place ranges from very developed through to underdeveloped and everything in between.
OK, so what about me & my health problem???

I'm a male, 41yo. Wt= 90kg, Ht=180cm, BP=130/90, P=68 bpm at rest, T=36.9'C (37.4'C is normal). Don't drink much alcohol, I also don't take medications for anything, and was until recently exercising three times per week. Have no other medical conditions or ailments.

Recently I developed some backpain in mid-December, which I put down to a couple of recent events;
1. Long extended motorbike rides for anything from 6 hours on average through to 12 hours. for increase frequency in through the months of Oct-Nov.
2. Recent flooring and wall painting (mural) work I've been doing for the past month (Oct into mid-December).

The backpain itself is more toward the sides away from the spine rather central pain of the spine. The type of pain is more a spasm or occasional ache. It'd occur during sleep. I'd be woken several times throughout the early morning with my upper back muscles going into painful spasms. no other symptoms initially, & no loss of sensation or motor function.

I went to a local Hospital to have a medical assessment, started out with blood tests; CBC, Liver Function Test, Kidney Function Test, Hepatitis screening, plus Urinalysis, Ultrasound Scan (USS) of my chest, kidneys, liver etc X-Ray of my spine.

In-terms of the X-Ray everything came back normal, no abnormalities noted on X-Ray. The USS showed slight enlarged left kidney, but given that I have a congenital abnormality in that I was born with only a left kidney it kind of make sense that one kidney would be a little larger on a 180cm tall 90kg male.

My other results though were another story... (only included the abnormal results)
tests on 30/12/2006
MO monocytes elevated
HCT hematocrit decreased
PLT platelets elevated
ESR erythrocyte segmentation rate elevated
NEU neutrophils elevated
GLO globulin elevated
A/G ratio albumin/globulin decreased
ALT (SGPT) alanine aminotransferase elevated
BUN blood urea nitrogen elevated
UA uric acid elevated
CRP c-reactive protein elevated
consequently further tests were ordered.
spinal CT = normal
spinal MRI = normal
head-pelvis MRI (all organs & spine included) = normal
(yes two separate MRI's completed on different dates)

by now taking occasional NSAID (Voltalin) prn.

more blood work 3/01/2007...
MO monocytes normal
HCT hematocrit decreased (unchanged value)
PLT platelets elevated (slightly higher than last)
ESR erythrocyte sedimentation rate elevated (slightly higher than last)
NEU neutrophils normal
GLO globulin elevated (unchanged value)
A/G ratio albumin/globulin decreased (unchanged value)
ALT (SGPT) alanine aminotransferase normal
BUN blood urea nitrogen elevated (slightly lower than last)
UA uric acid elevated (slightly higher than last)

more blood work 8/01/2007...
PLT platelets elevated
ESR erythrocyte sedimentation rate elevated
NEU neutrophils elevated
GLO globulin elevated
A/G ratio albumin/globulin decreased
ALT (SGPT) alanine aminotransferase elevated
BUN blood urea nitrogen elevated
UA uric acid elevated
CRP c-reactive protein elevated
GGT Gamma-glutamyl transferase slightly elevated
OSM osmolarity decreased

more blood work 10/01/2007...
GLO globulin elevated
A/G ratio albumin/globulin decreased
ALT (SGPT) alanine aminotransferase elevated
BUN blood urea nitrogen elevated
UA uric acid elevated
CRP c-reactive protein elevated
GGT Gamma-glutamyl transferase slightly elevated
OSM osmolarity decreased
Na sodium decreased

also checked were HIV, Hep A-C, RF, ASO, AFP, CEA, PSA-HYB, Fer, GIIUO,
all = normal or negative.
then checked immunity status...
IgG elevated
IgM normal
IgA elevated
C3 elevated
C4 normal
RF normal
ASO normal

then had special immunology blood serum test sent to special testing lab.ANA, dsDNA, nRNP, Sm, Ro, La, SCL-70, J0-1, ACA, M2, histone, FCT, action, Lamin, PM-SCL, vimentin, NOR-90, pANCA, cANCA, ARPA
... all negative.

by now, so many blood tests, had some treatment using "TEMS" machine to treat muscle spasms, also used hot water bottles at night and tried not to use the NSAID or any medicines, since my liver and kidney having a hard time of it according to blood results...

a couple of other pointers.
recent outbreak of chickenpox in local international school, some of the children I had come into contact with due to my employment, prior to knowing of the outbreak, though I had chickenpox when I was a child, but wondered about shingles, though I didn't have any outbreak/rash. Then heard about Lymes disease, though that didn't seem to fit. (I'd had a bad case of gastroenteritis about 6 years ago in Thailand before clearing up after a week at which time I traveled as planned to Indonesia. In Indonesia I developed ?gout or reactive arthritis to whatever the offending organism was at the time, though I never made the connection. I did seek medical assistance at that time, but it was initially put down to a some kind of insect bite. many types of medications later, and swelling which had progressed from a swollen L) index finger to opposite ankle/foot then later L) knee, until finally an internist at another hospital felt I had contracted typhoid, which was not treated and then had crossed the intestinal membrane and caused a reactive arthritis). Hence the Lymes disease, though it doesn't fit completely.

Back to the current situation at hand.
The back spasms have settled perhaps as a normal progression of whatever I have got, or the week of rehab/physical therapy has helped. I had several days of remission before the aches returned and I found I had to take Voltilin a couple of times since to have an uninterrupted sleep. Also the pain sometimes affects my shoulder muscles and the left side of my neck, with an occasional ache into my buttocks/pelvic region. Doesn’t seem to be the joints as such, but rather the muscles or tendons of these areas. I seem to still have good strength in my arms and legs etc. I've had a couple of occasions where the pain affected the front wall of my chest (intercostal) muscles, where it was painful on inhalation or breathing in. I did have one day where I had an ache of my upper jaw on the right side. Wasn’t a toothache, it was an ache involving a section of the jaw at the roots of several teeth; however it resolved itself after a day.

The Dr's here are unsure of diagnosis, there's no immunologist or rheumatologist, therefore between rehab Dr, orthopedic Dr, internal medicine Dr, all have differing opinions -kind of a guessing game.

I've had these possible diagnosis offered;
-multiple myeloma
-Huppert’s disease (think that’s multiple plasma cytoma of the bones)
-polymyalgia rheumatica

Seek any suggestions or ideas, on what to consider or tests worth pursuing? I know it's hard to try to just fit into a box or tick all the right boxes, but kind of stuck on this one.

any ideas, anyone???

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3 Replies:

  • Just happen to come across your entry. I am a 48 year old woman in pretty good shape, active. I have been suffering from the spasms and back pain you describe for years. I have a birth defect in my left kidney as well. Last year the pain was so severe in my chest neck and jaw I was admitted to a heart hospital for tests...only to find out I had a very healthy heart...after much poking and proding and an angiogram. I also have extreme fluid retension and have to take lunesta at night to get any sleep at all. I can only sleep on my left side or the spasm are unbearable...medicine or not. Lately the spasm have moved up my muscle to my shoulder and neck. When I wake up in the morning I feel like I have been beaten and kicked in the truck of my body all night. I have what feels like shingles in my buttocks and thigh. I know it is all nerve related. Monday I had another CAT scan, I know they will find nothing as I have been examined over and over. As I get older I get weaker. I am tired and my blood pressure has been 120/210 at times....with meds. I usually can keep it down however. But most mornings i wake up very sore and swollen. Please if you get a response, e mail me and let me know what you find out. It would change my life. wnmaker@hotmail.comThank you
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • wow this amazes me i thought i was the only person in the world who had this problem although i have had physical therapy and use my tens unit frequently along with morphine and lortab i have gotten absolutely no diagnosis what so ever i have been sent to a pain management specialist who only wants to prescribe meds and tell me i will never get any better without knowing what the underlying cause is and lets be real there has to be a reason for this back spasm ***l!!! i have no other ailments i am a very active woman at the age of 44 i am in excellent shape and strive on being in good health due to having younger children if you find out what your problem is i would love to hear and i in turn will do the same. Thank You, Wilma
    nanahilljr 1 Replies Flag this Response
  • I have some of the same problems. I all started when I was around 30 years old now I am 46. I have always had high stress jobs and when I was 30 I would have muscle spasms that would require I stay in the bed for days. After a few days it would leave as fast as it came. I went to the Doctor when I was able to walk, I walked crooked over to the right. Dr gave me pain pills, muscle relaxers, after a few episodes (6 months between) the Docter ordered CAT scan and MRI - said they were ruling out Hodgkins. I have not had another "attack" that put me in the bed for at least 10 years. This past week end (After a very stressful report I wrote in June) I have muscle spasms and my spine "goes stiff" for no reason I have to stop what I am doing until the spasm is over. I have to sleep on my left side because sleeping on my right gives me a spasm that is very uncomfortable. If anyone can offer any response of similar experiences, please do wow this amazes me i thought i was the only person in the world who had this problem although i have had physical therapy and use my tens unit frequently along with morphine and lortab i have gotten absolutely no diagnosis what so ever i have been sent to a pain management specialist who only wants to prescribe meds and tell me i will never get any better without knowing what the underlying cause is and lets be real there has to be a reason for this back spasm ***l!!! i have no other ailments i am a very active woman at the age of 44 i am in excellent shape and strive on being in good health due to having younger children if you find out what your problem is i would love to hear and i in turn will do the same. Thank You, Wilma
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • September 7, 2009
    • 04:48 PM
    • 0
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