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Back Mice ?

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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.
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First Helper lantzn
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replied June 15th, 2010
Community Volunteer
Hi cimtrbl2,

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.

Good Luck,

Faded Rose
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replied June 15th, 2010
Experienced User
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.
Good Luck,
Temperwolf.
(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.
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replied June 16th, 2010
Extremely eHealthy
hi cimtbl2

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
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replied July 17th, 2010
Experienced User
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!
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replied August 19th, 2010
Massage
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
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replied October 2nd, 2010
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...
good luck
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replied December 16th, 2012
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.
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replied July 15th, 2013
lumbar hernia /back mouse
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.
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replied July 19th, 2013
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.
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replied July 19th, 2013
A lumbar hernia is not the same as a lumbar disc herniation but thanks for responding.
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replied July 20th, 2013
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?
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