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Strange pain attacks – any ideas?

Posted by sweeby (My Page) on
Wed, Apr 11, 07 at 16:47

OK, I know this is w a a a y off topic, but my husband is having these strange ‘attacks’ and we can’t figure out what’s going on. I’ll try to describe what’s happening and hope that maybe someone here will have a suggestion.
The attacks are basically an intense, irritating, biting or stinging sensation just under the surface of the skin on his torso. There is absolutely no visible change to the skin – no reddening, itching, hives, rash, etc. He describes it like "being bitten by a swarm of fire ants". The pain moves from here to there and back and seems to be nerve-related. Scratching does seem to offset the pain a bit, but there really isn’t an underlying itch.

There seems to be some sort of climate trigger since the attacks have all occurred on humid days when DH is doing light physical work and is just starting to break out in a light sweat, or just after a hot shower. They certainly don’t happen every time, and it hasn't ever happened if he is working hard enough to break a full sweat. The attacks typically last 30-60 minutes and leave him exhausted and cranky when they’re over. They don’t seem to be associated with any particular type of soap or skincare product, and occur several times a week for a few weeks then disappear for months. He has tried Benadryl in case it’s some type of allergy, but since the episodes stop on their own, we have no idea if the Benadryl is helping or not. (In general, DH is not a highly-allergic person.)

He has already asked his primary care doctor and dermatologist, neither of whom seemed to have any idea and pretty much dismissed it "since his 10 minutes were up"… In general, DH is in robust good health (except for borderline high blood pressure), gets plenty of exercise and is in his early 50’s.

So do any of you wise people have any ideas what this might be? Do you think it warrants a neurologist and a bunch of tests? We need a new primary care doctor anyway since neither DH nor I like the first guy.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Strange pain attacks ďż˝ any ideas?

Shingles?

And he needs a new doctor....

Here is a link that might be useful: shingles


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RE: Strange pain attacks – any ideas?

While I have never heard of this symptom before, this definitely sounds nerve related to me. I would see a neurologist as soon as possible. Frankly, I'm stunned that the other two doctors did not recommend seeing a neuro immediately. You are wise to seek a new primary care physician, but I would not wait for that before going to a neurologist.

See the link below re: neuropathy. I don't know if it is a perfect fit for what your DH is experiencing, and if it is it could be caused by any number of things, but I think it needs to be ruled out. Good luck and please keep us posted!

Here is a link that might be useful: neuropathy


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RE: Strange pain attacks – any ideas?

I've spent some time searching the internet, and so far, everything I've found relating to the type of sensations he's having (I think they're called 'paresthesias' but it could be a neuropathy -- Or maybe all paresthesias are neuropathies?) talks about these sensations occurring in the face, hands and feet, possibly including the arms and legs -- Never in the torso. That's what seems so weird.

We've thought of shingles Fairegold - but an attack lasting only 30-60 minutes? And there's NO visible skin involvement, either at the time or later. I definitely agree about the doctor though.

The other possibility that seems to 'sort of' fit is an exercise-induced allergy. But DH describes it as 'fire ant bites' more than itching, and there are never any hives. The activity, climate and duration symptoms fit, but no skin symptoms.

Here is a link that might be useful: Exercise allergy


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RE: Strange pain attacks – any ideas?

Sweeby,
If you search paresthesias and torso I think you will find several links. Yesterday when I was googling for you I used the terms "torso" and "biting stinging pain", and I also came up with paresthesias, which led me to neuropathy. From what I read yesterday it can commonly be found in the torso, and it is not unusual for it to be located in only one area. And I think paresthesias is one symptom of neuropathy, which includes a broader range of symptoms, but I could be wrong.

In any case I do think a neurologist is the way to get started.


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RE: Strange pain attacks – any ideas?

Just back on after 3 days of no 'connect'. I have no idea but can only give my experience. I did have shingles about 8 yrs. ago or so......then nothing until a couple of yrs. ago on only the right side of my back, neck to waist. I have the burning, tingling, grabbing, stinging pain really constantly. I take Lyrica that you've probably seen advertised on TV and magazines for nerve ending pain. It doesn't work that well but it does take the edge off. Also I take a pain med. called Ultram. I'll tell you, I wouldn't wish this on anyone.....one day I would like to wake up and say, "wow, NO pain or burning". I am treated by my GP and did go to Pain Management Clinic for several months and they basically said good luck. (also I had two epiderals that didn't help). Sorry your husband is having these pains, no fun at all.


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RE: Strange pain attacks – any ideas?

When I had shingles last year I felt that sensation around my waist, but had no rash. When the rash did come out, it was on the inside of one thigh-- strange! It definitely was shingles and the anti-viral made quick work of it.


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RE: Strange pain attacks – any ideas?

DH has also had shingles with no skin rash. Change doctors as soon as you can- like----yesterday!

Good luck- sorry he's in pain!


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RE: Strange pain attacks – any ideas?

Shingles was my first thought. I just had a physical and they offered a new injection for it. Don't let him hang on in pain...change doctors is my advice too.


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RE: Strange pain attacks – any ideas?

Do you'all really think shingles can attack for 30-60 minutes, then disappear again? I've had a few minor episodes that I thought were shingles, but they lasted for about a week and were over a much smaller area - like one nerve. DH's attacks are over his entire torso - both sides, front and back.


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RE: Strange pain attacks – any ideas?

I really think it has to do with the nerve endings...that firey, burning, grabbing, crawling, interior feeling. Wish there was an answer really. It is just strange that his comes and goes, mine never leaves unless I put pressure on it like sitting in my lounge chair with the heat/massage pad going. Keep us posted!


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RE: Strange pain attacks – any ideas?

I don't quite remember for how long the pain stayed; I was very busy at the time and just felt an irritant that was around my torso, mostly at the waist. I would ask whether the anti-viral might be in order, on the chance that it could be shingles. Is there any reason not to use it, any harm if he does not actually have shingles?


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RE: Strange pain attacks – any ideas?

Sweeby-- if you find out definitively, let me know. I've got the same exact symptoms, although not quite that severe. Sweating doesn't bother me, but when I come out of the shower, regardless of the soap or shampoo, I feel like I've been rolling around in fiberglass insulation for about a 1/2 hour. I just figured it was due to dry skin, and I'm not a big one for lotions.


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RE: Strange pain attacks – any ideas?

Sweeby, it may be the start of shingles, and if so, you need to get hubs to the doc TODAY. Shingles, if not treated immediately, can be a long, painful road. The word shingles comes from the Latin word for girdle, because it commonly goes around the torso (on one side), from front to back. I had hem a while back and believe me, you do not want to wait any longer.


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RE: Strange pain attacks – any ideas?

If it's shingles, then we're way past the start. His first attack was a few years ago.

Interesting, Bill! I'm wondering then if it might be work related, since DH is a hands-on build-it-yourself ('cause nobody else does it right) kind of guy.


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RE: Strange pain attacks – any ideas?

Is he coming into contact with lime-based products? They upset my father's skin.


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RE: Strange pain attacks – any ideas?

Jane-- I don't know about Sweeby's DH, but I know for myself, I come in contact with lime containing products on a daily basis, and on a CONSTANT basis all day long. But I don't have a problem till I come out of the shower. Not only that, but with lime irritation, you'll usually show a rash of some kind, usually looking like a mild sunburn. In my case, there's nothing. it looks completely normal.


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RE: Strange pain attacks – any ideas?

Yes, he does come into contact with lime products, but it's only occasional and the attacks don't seem to correspond time-wise to the tile or cement work.

So Bill, do yours also last 30-60 minutes, just on the torso?


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RE: Strange pain attacks – any ideas?

Pretty much, yes, but also on my arms, as well. Not as bad on the arms, though.


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