For years I have been fighting with the medical field in regard to chronic severe lower back pain. Unfortunately NO ONE would listen to me & I had these movable nodules in my lower back for years(both sides of tailbone area) that are painful. They seem to get aggravated easily, swell, and cause a lot of pain. When I changed chiropractors a couple years ago he did some research and thought the lumps are either myofascial sheath tears or a herniation (back mouse). I was getting some relief from spinal manipulation & electrical stimulation but then my symptoms began getting progressively worse. We finally found a great medical doctor who has begun testing & referring me to specialists. My primary doctor seems to think these lumps are just non-harmful fatty cysts. MRI has indicated: moderate to severe central spinal stenosis, a 6th lumbar vertabrae, mild disc degeneration L4/5 & epidural lipomatosis w/nerve root compression. I've been put on muscle relaxers & sent to aquatic therapy & am waiting to see a neuro & a rheumatologist. I've noticed after my first full week of aquatic therapy that these lumps (back mice) are noticeably inflammed & painful. I think the therapy has aggravated them. The muscle relaxers I am on doesn't touch the pain. I am also now getting pain in my right flank again from under my rib & radiates across flank to my lower back. My question is: are back mice real? Could this really be affecting the pain in my lower back & side? Could the aquatic therapy be aggravating this? I've tried to do some research online about back mice but there isn't a lot of info that relates to my situation. Any info would be helpful.
Do you have a hairy back? Mice usually generate via hair mass, such as that in your head. You have alot going on with several procedures already done and more to come. Relaxers are short term temporily fixes. If they aren't helping, discuss this with your doctor and opt to be taken off them. Wait until you have competed your upcoming tests and see what the results reveal. Then stay with your primary care provider and specialist who specialize in your problem.
The results tell you what is wrong. Your nerve is being compressed on. THAT is what causes the severe pain. (There are nerve meds out there that calm down the nerve pain. One in patucular needs to be monotored because it will make you slow and stupid if on too hagh a dose. Injections of steroids can relieve the pain but, there can be troubles from them as they are steriods but, it is what people usually do. (watch you petuatary gland functions, thryroid levels and potassium + hormones carefully.)All this is done by a pain management doctor way befor surgery is considered. It is the conservitive way.
It sounds like your also "overworking" in the aqua therapy. slow it down a bit. Ice and or frozen peas work really well for inflamation. (frozen peas conform better and don't leak + they are chaep, can then be refrozen. 20 mins on 20 mins off.
As for the lower back area your describing, it could be the sciatica nerve also being bothered. It sounds like you need to get to a "pain management" doctor. They know what to do.
(ignore the phrase back mice) also, totally ignore the person who asked if you had a hairy back. Must have een a rude person or a dummy.
sorry that the aquatherapy isnt helping.
i had a conversation once with a spinal neurosurgeon who told me he does several surgeries a year on patients who developed epidural lipomas as a result of ESI injections. have you had any steroid injections. if so that could have caused the epidural lipomatosis. i would pursue the neurosurgeon who specializes on the spine. it doesnt appear conservative treatment is helping. .....take care....pete
Hi everyone.. sorry I havent been online in awhile. Thanks so much for the replies & suggestions. As everyone on here probably already knows, it is frustrating when you are bounced doctor to doctor & everyone thinks something else is going on. So far they haven't figured anything out. I did have to cut back my water therapy to 2 days a week instead of 3 because it was totally wiping me out but on a positive note, it seems to be helping a little bit. Other than that, they aren't doing much for me... no injections, no surgeries just loads of bloodwork & more MRI's. One doctor thinks MS, another thinks Lupus, & another thinks Fibromyalgia... kind of makes your head spin A LOT!! Anyhow just wanted to touch base & thank you for your replies!
I would consider seeing a experienced massage therapist as well. Having some muscular release could really take the edge of your discomfort. There are a lot of different bodywork modalties out there now Lymphatic Drainage, Cupping could slowly pull the excess energy out. Just a thought
Hi, it sounds like you are experiencing 'lumbar fascial fat herniation'. It's when a lumbar fascial fat layer herniates through the overlying 'thoraco-dorsal fascia' (the layer of muscle over it) and it gets inflamed and trapped.
Know how you feel... I like heat on my back, and the TENS unit...massage therapy...
The "moveable" lumps in the low back region around the hip area are called Back Mice, they have other official names. While the lumps occur in 10% of the population, only about 10% of those who have them get pain from them. The pain can mimic herniated disc and sciatica type pain. Because of this mimicking, the cause of pain is often misdiagnosed and is also the reason they are so little known. The reason they CAN hurt is this, they often are caused by some traumatic event, like an auto accident, labor, etc. The fatty tissue in the sacroiliac region of the low back breaks through the membrane and is trapped between the skin and muscle. This fat nodule (back mouse) SOMETIMES carries nerves with it and because of the pressure it causes to the nerve, pain is produced. Very few doctors know about these things. Most of the articles about them online are posted by massage therapist and acupuncturists.
I had an auto accident in 1999 and for 13 years I've dealt with horrible chronic low back pain on my left side. I have two of these lumps and no matter how many doctors, surgeons and other specialist I complained to about them relating to my pain, they all said they were not the cause of the pain. It was an acupuncturist/massage therapist I recently visited for three months to try and "work" these lumps out that said I needed to find someone who will take a look at them. She was unable to work them out and agreed with me that they were the cause of my pain.
So I searched online (Nov 2012) and found some articles on back mice. They all pointed to a Dr. Peter Curtis MD. They can be cured relatively easily by injection therapy or removal. In most cases the pain will be gone immediately after injection therapy, if done correctly, but some may need to be removed. Before I found the article below on the injection therapy technique, I read in forums that they shot anesthetic into them. So I told my doctor to just shoot something into them to see if anything would happen. He did a single shot of anesthetic into each nodule and I immediately felt the sciatica in my leg and the awful stabbing pain that never goes away, go away! After 13 years of pain and Methadone/Percocet, I felt wonderful. It only lasted about 18 hours but it showed me they were the cause of my pain. As mentioned after this I found this article explaining how to do MULTIPLE injections into the lumps to bring immediate, long lasting, if not permanent relief from pain. I emailed my doctor the article and am I'm making an appointment to have the injection therapy done next.
The procedure for injection therapy is explained in the FULL article. I could not find the full article on line, I had to get it from a library. Here's an excerpt from the article that is found online.
Treatment of Low Back Pain Associated with "Back Mice" A Case Series.
Motyka, Thomas M.; Howes, Barry R.; Gwyther, Robert E.; Curtis, Peter
[Article] JCR: Journal of Clinical Rheumatology. 6(3):136-141, June 2000.
(Format: HTML, PDF)
Back mice are subcutaneous fibroadenomatous nodules that cause low back symptoms. Previous case reports do not provide systematic descriptions of the clinical presentation or long-term follow-up of this problem. This retrospective case series reports syndrome characteristics and treatment outcomes for injection therapy for "back mice." We completed telephone interviews, chart reviews, and written questionnaires for a convenience sample of 35 participants.
Participants reported the following symptoms: pain radiating to the lower leg (37%), leg numbness or paresthesias (14%), and a median of 8 weeks of pain before treatment (range 3 weeks to 10 years). Thirty-one participants (89%) received lasting relief from injection of local anesthetic and corticosteroid. Injection therapy relieved both local and radiating symptoms but often did not eliminate the nodules. Thirty participants (86%) were "satisfied" or "very satisfied" with the treatment. There were no adverse events reported.
Back mice can cause radiating pain that can be confused with other low back or leg syndromes. Injection treatment seems to be effective, long lasting, and well tolerated. Physicians should search for these nodules in patients with unexplained low back pain and try injection therapy before initiating expensive therapy.
Are back mice the same as a lumbar hernia? I had the symboms of a back mice, was diagnosed and had surgery for a lumbar hernia. I had inner leg pain on the same side as the hernia which the surgeon emphatically denied was related, however the leg pain (and back pain) disapeared post surgery, so I think I was right in that they were related.
Back mice are not the same as a lumbar herniation. Back mice are a herniation of subfascial fat through a tear in the thoracolumbar fascia. Fascia is the connective tissue between the muscle and the skin. A lumbar disc herniation is completely different. It is the herniation of the disc which is between your lumbar vertebra.
Lumbar refers to the lumbar vertebra. Vertebra do not herniate, the disc does. The term "lumbar hernia" is vague and I've never heard it used outside of referring to a lumbar disc herniation. I am a doctor specializing in the musculoskeletal system. I like to think that I know what I'm talking about, but I'm not above learning something new. If not referring to the lumbar disc, what exactly are you referring to?
Hello Sir, Some nice people tried to explain but I would like to give you my opinion and take on this whole thing. The topic gets so confusing because no one or not many understand this whole problem. I'm a 46 year old male. I'm not a doctor but have been suffering from "back mice" for over 30 years and am on the cusp of finally getting to the bottom of it and hopefully getting cured of this debilitating injury.
First when people are discussing "back mice" the term "lumber fat herniation" is sometimes used synonymous.
fat being the key word. This is different than a lumbar disc herniation. To add confusion "Back Mice" have other names like "Episacral Lipoma", "Lumbar Triangle Hernia" among others. There may be a difference by severity but the names add to the confusion and lack of understanding about this injury. They are called Back Mice because of the way they can behave. When you push on the lipoma like nodule it will sometimes disappear behind other layers of tissue, hiding like a mouse. The term lipoma also adds confusion because doctors know that lipomas are not hernias but rather fatty nodules that can form just about anywhere on the body and are usually not painful. An "Episacral Lipoma" is not the same. It is a fat herniation that occurs in a few particular areas of the lumbar region and can be quite painful (speaking from experience). Dr David Bond wrote an article published in 2000 that is very informative but it's well past time that more doctors have a better understanding of this injury as I believe it is often misdiagnosed as a muscle strain or harmless lipoma especially when MRI's show the spine is healthy.
Treatment is to have the fatty mass removed and the subsequent tear in the underlying tissue repaired.
I would like to see more doctors (especially those that specialize in the musculoskeletal system) perform a routine test for this injury like they do regular hernias and I would be willing to bet this is much more common than reported. Just look up "back mouse" on the internet and tell me that there are only 300 people that have or have had this injury.
My boyfriend has been coping with back pain for a number of years after doing weight training for many years. He has recently, over the last 4 months been suffering from a burning / tingling pain, which can be best described as the start of pins and needles but not pins and needles in his forearms and calves first thing in the morning. in addition he has also been suffering from nausea. It last for about an hour. This has got progressively worse and the sensations have started in the day and night time too and are now in his pelvis area also. The pains in his back have worsened and when I felt his lower back I would feel the lumps, sometimes they seem to be larger than other times dependant on the pain.
Obviously I have been concerned and so looked into it and saw the posts and information on various websites about back mice and the issues that they cause. The symptoms seem to match his i.e. when you push on them he feels the burning / tingling sensation in his calves but there doesn't appear to be any mention of anyone being affected in their forearms or suffering from nausea. I would be grateful if you could let me know whether anyone here has suffered from those symptoms also. He has been to the doctor and like most people the GP has never heard of back mice and dismissed it.
I would be grateful of any feedback as his situation is worsening and I would like to be a stronger position to push the doctor on the back mice if the symptoms match up.