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Back Tingling
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Back Tingling

I am a 38 yr. old female. About 9 mos. ago I started experiencing a tingling sensation in the middle of my back.  It is not painful but comes and goes daily. (I had the same thing when I was 20 but it went away after only a few weeks.)I
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Avatar_n_tn
First of all, keep in mind that I am unable to diagnose you because I am unable to examine you, this forum is for educational purposes.
   The symptoms you describe are non-specific and may not be related to a single disease process.  I would definitely see a neurologist to help provide an appropriate perspective for your care.  The symptom of recurrent numbness, sometimes assocaited with weakness that gets better without treatment in a few weeks are common features in multiple sclerosis.  The symptoms of tingling/numbness in the hands with weakness (loss of gripping strenth) that burns at night is consistent with carpal tunnel syndrome.  In addition, numbness in the mouth area and in the finger tips is often seen with anxiety.  Pian that shoots down the leg can often be a sign of disc/degenerative problem in the lower back that is pinching a nerve.  Without being able to examine you it is not possible to differentiate inbetween these possibilities (A neurologist will be able to help with this).  I would recommend that you get an EMG/nerve conduction study of your upper extremity (to evaluate for carpal tunnel) and the lower extremity (to evaluate for a pinched nerve).  I would also suggest an MRI of your brain and lumbar spine with contrast to evaluate for multiple sclerosis and lumbar disc/degenerative disease respectively.  If the MRI of the brain is negative then a MRI of the Cervical spine, a lumbar puncture, and somatosensory evoked potentials will give additional information.  
I hope this has been helpful.
28 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Wow, that is absolutely insane.  I've been having nearly the exact same symptoms since early May.  It began with tingling in my finger tips (both hands), then a numbing feeling in the lower part of my right leg (beginning behind the knee all the way down to the foot).  Shortly afterwards, it started with tingling / pulsating feeling in my mid upper back...especially when hunching over, say when I'm at work in front of the computer.  Then it started with a tingling / tickling feeling on the tip of my nose, upper lip, earlobe, face (either side). To top it all off, been having headaches on and off for the last month.

Got referred to a neuro which I saw last July and he shrugged it off as "these symptoms aren't consistent with any disease I'm aware of, if you're an anxious person, learn to calm down".

Decided to get a 2nd opinion, so I got a referral to another neuro about 2 weeks ago.  He took my sypmtoms very seriously and ordered a blood test, CT scan and EMG, which I had done last week.  I was told the EMG and blood tests were fine, awaiting results of the CT scan next week.

I've done a lot of reading on stress / anxiety related symptoms and I'm starting to think there could be a correlation.  I've just gone through 2 1/2 difficult years trying to juggle a young family, career and having gone back to school all at the same time, and it was tough...I believe these symptoms are all the remnants.  I've read that prolonged periods of stress and anxiety could cause a chemical change in the brain and bring about such symptoms, and may have to be treated with medication.  My neuro said he'd get started with all the above tests to rule out the obvious and then work his way towards the remaining possibilities.

I'll keep you posted on the results since I'm shocked to see the similarities in our symptoms.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks for your input!When I hunch over that's when my back tingling starts. I thought it was some type of pinched nerve or something but the other symptoms made me question this. Oh,a minor detail, I have to urinate at least 15-20 times a day. Not sure if this is related but it started shortly before the back
started tingling. Recently, I too have been having headaches (piercing) versus regular.

I went to the Dr. last week and they have ordered a MRI (w/ & w/out contrast) in 2 days. They still haven't referred me to a neuro yet. I just know that they are not going to find anything and tell me something similar to what your initial Dr's told you. The fact that you are going through the same thing is reassuring to me but I'm sorry it is happening to you.

As far as stress goes, I definitely believe there is a correlation. My mom was diagnosed w/ cancer in 03/03 given a 20% chance to live but has, then my dad was diagnosed in 03/06. I've been trying to control myself and not get so upset over the daily grind. I've seen what stress does to them. To top it off, my husband's celiac disease became active a month ago so I get to add weight loss to everything else but at least I know why!

Please let me know your results on the CT scan. Good luck and happy tingling!
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Avatar_n_tn
The numbness, the tingling, the #of times you need to use the bathroom each day, the weight loss.....has any doctor specifically tested your blood glucose level for type II diabetes?  I'm not saying you have it, but it sure sounds like you need to be tested. The numbness may be peripheral neuropathy? Just a guess, but it never hurts to ask.  It's a good thing you've had MRIs - hope they can point to a solution for you!
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Avatar_n_tn
Really sorry to hear all the problems with your parents and husband.  I guess the difficult part is being able to juggle the emotions within reason, so as not to have it affect your health; although I'm sure you and I will admit that's easier to say than do.

As for the headaches, guess what, I did some reading up on those too and the most common type is what they call the "tension headache"....attributed to stress.  Does your headache feel as though someone is poking your brain with a sharp object?  That's how mine feels, it isn't constant but comes and goes several times throughout the day.

Someone else made a good point about the frequent urinating versus type2 diabetes, have it checked out.  With all your symptoms, you should have a comprehensive blood test done nonetheless.

Don't despair with your parents, back in 2000, my wife and dad were both diagnosed with cancer (thyroid and prostate) within 6 months of each other and both have made full recoveries...I wish your parents the same outcome.

Happy tingling...yeah!
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Avatar_f_tn
I was wondering, when you bend forward you say your back tingles.  Does it do it even when your naked?  Mine does the same thing, but when I don't have a shirt on, it doesn't.  I also get the tingling nose tip, thats the most annoying thing ever. And when I sit down, if I have clothing on, my upper legs will feel like a million ants crawling on my skin, remove my pants, and Woola, gone!!!  Is that psychotic, or what?  Everyone tells me that its anxiety also.  Although I haven't found any meds that takes it away, sometimes the xanax will help some, it will take the edge off.  I have had brain and cervical MRI, nothing but a bulging disk. Facial tingling started 6 years ago, the rest about 5 years ago.  It not a picnic, thats for sure!!!
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Avatar_n_tn
In April I had a complete blood work done which included glucose screening. My dad has type II diabetes and I've checked my blood using his kit as well. No bladder infections, etc. The tingling occurs clothes on or off and I seem to notice it more while at the computer, driving, cooking, watching TV... but never while laying down! Lifting weights accentuates it so my upper body strength has all but disappeared. The pains in leg can occur while laying down, sitting or standing. Believe it or not, sometimes I'll go running to get it to go away - weird huh. Shaking my arm will not do anything to help it, you have to wait it out. The headaches are a quick piercing that don't last that long but enough to stop what you are doing at the time.  When I finally get the courage to see a Dr. I'm afraid stress is what they're going to say about my problems. It's unbelievable that we all can have these symptoms for this long and everyone says it's stress or anxiety. I can't imagine having these tingling sensations for years. Frustration central but I still haven't had my MRI yet - who knows maybe they'll find a "tingle bug." :)
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi. I am a 28 yr old female with the exact same symptoms.  Mine started in the back as well.  Mostly on the right side.  Then, this year, started to work its way up to my neck, and then my face, both sides.  Sometimes I can even feel the tingling in my eye.  I also have horrible shooting burning pain in my face and jaw.  I have also developed tinnitus in my right ear. I have been to my GP and she says it is stress.  I have been treated by a massage therepist and a chiropractor, but I still have the symptoms.. I have mild scoliosis, a 42 pound 2 year old, TMJ, allergies and Panic attacks.  So... not sure, but I think it could be coming from some of those issues.  So far I have had a CT scan to rule out brain tumor and a nerve conduction test to rule out pinched nerve.  I have an app with a neuro coming up soon so well see..
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Avatar_n_tn
I have all the same symptoms, and was wondering if any of you have had a spinal tap, I always attributed the back numbness to the spinal tap I had about 4 years ago. It seems like if that spot is touched my whole lower back will go numb radiating from the spot where it was done (between 3 and 4th lumbar) and when I bend this also happens.
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Avatar_n_tn
YO  i have similiar symptoms as well, i believe there is a correlation between stress and anxiety w/ my symptoms. i started getting panic attacks early this year around january and the symptoms came soon after, first w/ tingling in middle back then it went to headaches and vision problems. i wake up in the morning w/ a headache it sucks because i have class 4 days out of the week very early. i've also felt papilledema twice but it didn't last long, got  a ct as well to rule out brain tumor. anyone have any suggestions i'm going to get teasted for lyme next week seeing as how im from the south. thx for any input
hunter-
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Avatar_n_tn
I just had a brain MRI w/ & w/out contrast the other day. No results yet. I did fine except after they put the contrast in, I had problems swallowing/breathing. I had to get them to stop so that was freaky. I 've woken up before at night doing the same thing. It's like my swallowing reflex has gone wild and won't stop. I've not had any other tests other than checking my blood for everything under the sun including lyme. I honestly feel that mentally I'm doing ok right now. Stress could have triggered it earlier in the year but why is the tingling there every day. I even tingle during yoga so its hard to relax when you're tingling. My arm hasn't bothered me in a while which I think is great. Today both my feet are tingling. I'm confused by the whole thing. I wish the "tingle-bug" would go away a leave me the heck alone. I'd be happy if it took its buddies "shooting leg pain" and "need to pee every hour" w/ it!
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Avatar_f_tn
Hope everything turns out great on your MRI.  I also have weird tingling everyday, been 5 years.  My brain and c-spine were normal except for the bulging disk.  I don't know how anxiety can cause all these sensations, but when I'm busy it seems that I don't ever notice them.  Let us know how your tests turn out.  Thoughts and prayers, Jen!!!!!
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Avatar_n_tn
Since this was my first MRI, when do hear from the Dr. even if it is to say you're simply stressed? It sounds like many of you have already have been through this so I would appreciate some input. I figure no news is good news in terms of there being something really wrong w/ me. At least that is a comfort - I think.:) Thanks.
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Avatar_f_tn
I called my doc office to see if the results were in for my cervical MRI.  The brain MRI he knew that I was really stressed about this. I had it done early Wed, and Thur morning he called to say that everything was normal.  On the script for the MRI he wrote to look for lesions, and also that I suffer from migraines.  The only thing that showed was what the radiologist noted as "EXTENSIVE" sinus thickening in the ethmoid and frontal sinuses, took antibiotic for this.  Call the office and ask if the results came back yet, this way you won't have to wait all weekend.  Hope everything works out for you!!!!
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Avatar_f_tn
Siegie, just wondering how you been?  Still the same here.  Did you ever get to talk to your doc?  Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving!!!!!
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi there, just wondering, did you have your results from the MRI yet? I am suffering from the same symptoms as you are...

Hoping the best for you.

Jo.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hey.  I have similar symptoms and am a little nervous.  I'm a 44 year old Male, live in NS canada.  For 9 or ten months I've had a slight tingling in the bottom of my left foot that has slowly gotten a little more noticeable. occasionaly a tingle in my leg as well. Arthritic pain my in my left knee is originally what I thought might be causing it.  Fairly turbulent life with stress (I own a small restaurant)and a month ago we had a fire at the business, clsoing it indefinitely.  I'm not looking for sympathy, just some indication that my worst case scenario fears are not necessarily truth.  I've had a constant mild headache for four days too; I've never experienced this before.  I have some other symptoms of arthritis in various parts of my body too. . I have been to Neuro and work up did not show him anything immediately.  I am scheduled for MRI of Back in near future. Can stress cause all this?
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It has been over two weeks since my MRI and still no results. I called my Dr. twice and they said she hadn't reviewed it yet. If there were something wrong, surely I would have heard by now. The nurse even said that if there were a problem the hospital would have called them. So, I think that my body is trying to say chill out, you're stressing. Other than my constant back tingling and urination issues, my other problems seem to be at bay for the moment. If my weird arm and leg sensations return, I will pursue this problem with more tenacity in hopes to get in to see a neurologist which I have yet to have the pleasure. I have to be referred so my choices may be limited. I am not afraid to switch Dr.'s. My gut says it could be MS or something other. My mom has similar issues and she has both Parkinson's & ALS in her family. We've not pursued her problems because they seem small compared to what she is dealing with now - cancer. I was sort of hoping that not only could I determine my problem but somehow fix hers as well. So, for now, I am joining the multitudes of you w/ an unknown diagnosis. I am going to try and chill out / de-stress over the holidays - HA HA.  Happy Holidays to all and thank you for your support. If I find out anything I will let you all know.
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Avatar_n_tn
I had no idea prior to reading these posts that stress could present itself in a form of tingling and/or numbness. (See the Dr.'s comments regarding my issues.) I know none of us are crazy and we are doing the right thing by seeking medical help. I also understand that stress is very powerful. I hope your stress in your life will lessen and you are able to get some of your health questions answered. I am satisfied w/ this Dr.'s post and can see my problems may be from more than one origin. I am left handed so there could be a carpel tunnel issue with my left arm/elbow. Perhaps my leg issues could be due to a problem in my back which is why I would like a spinal MRI. If you have one, please keep me/us posted. Try not to think too negatively. I know it is hard because there probably isn't a disease that I haven't looked up online thinking possibly that this could be the cause of my problems. Since nothing showed up in my blood work and/or other tests, I am taking it one day at a time. This doesn't mean that I'm giving up on finding out what is wrong, I'm just laying back trying to make sure I'm not adding "fuel to the stress-fire" by worrying to death about it. Keep a log of problems which will help you & your Dr. A positive point to this is that you are already being proactive by seeing a specialist. Take care & good luck.
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Avatar_f_tn
what were your results??  how are you feeling??
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Avatar_n_tn
It has been 5 weeks since my brain MRI and I finally got my results! They were negative and the good/better news is that I now have an appt. w/ a neurologist which is what I've been wanting for over 6 mo. I go in 2 weeks. (YEAH!)If I've waited this long, 2 weeks will be a breeze. I had been feeling fine but yesterday I noticed some sensations were back in my arm and I've been having bad headaches. I still have back tingling daily and my face tingles fairly often, not daily but several times a week. The Dr. on this forum mentioned the facial tingling could be due to stress but typically it is when I'm relaxing, watching TV, etc. Since the MRI was negative I'm not as worried but I still want to find the cause of all the tingling, etc. I hope to get a spinal MRI. Perhaps I have some type of disc problem affecting several different nerves. They mentioned I might have some type of nerve conduction test. Anyone had this? HAPPY HOLIDAYS everyone!
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I was so happy read that more people has the same symptoms , my GP told it was muscalar atnd gave me anti inflammatory drugs  but did not help I decided to go to an osteopath did not really help and even tried accupuntare  help a little but my guts feeling tels me it's just stress and anxiety .. I only have the ticking burning feeling at the left side of me back just under my bra and now lately my left arm will feel like heavy. Or maybe a trap nerve ??? I was palnning to go back in the new year and talk to the GP  but what a releif that a lot of you have the same symptoms..my biggest fear that it is something  really bad like a tumor or something and that adds on the stress..not smart he!!   Have to trust and let the stress and fear go!!
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Avatar_n_tn
Finally I had my first appt. w/ a neurologist (11 mos. after initial symptoms). She did the normal tests in the office to see if she detected anything w/ my reflexes. I had very limited neck flexibility which I though was normal and my eyes didn't do what I think they were suppose to in terms of being able to touch and follow objects. I had also had a slight tremor in my left hand which has been new symptom for me the last few weeks (pulsing/ buzzing / shaking sensation). I have a spinal MRI (cervical/thoracic) next week and she said she would call me w/in ~ 2 days w/ the results. She's looking for any disc disease, degenerating disc, demyelination (ms?), tumor etc. I'm just excited to get to this next step and to hopefully be getting closer to finding an answer to these tingling sensations and other weird phenomenon. I will keep you all posted.
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Avatar_f_tn
Good luck with your MRI.  Will be thinking about you and cheering you on!!!!
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Avatar_n_tn
AAAAHHHHH!! It's offical, I must be going crazy. The Dr. called today to say I have a pertruding disc (T7-T8) that could be causing my back tingling issues but would not explain all the other problems. She going to review my blood work to see if there is something else that needs to be done. My reflexes were brisk but they didn't see anything on the MRI.  I go for a follow up in 2 weeks. After that I guess I'll give up for a while until the next series of symptoms drives me mad. I am not one who goes to a Dr. very often (I go for my annual pap at my OBGYN but that's it) so this is very irritating. Now both these Dr.'s (GP/Neuro) probably think I'm exagerating! AAAAHHHHH!
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Avatar_n_tn
I'm so happy for you that you know what it is ..the worst of all is not knowing!! Now you can relax
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The neuro called the other day and wants to run some more blood tests before we meet again which I thought was encouraging. At least she is trying to find out what is wrong. Considering the brain & spinal MRI's were negative, some Dr.s may have quit there. She told me the tests but the only one I remember was for a vitamin B deficiency. Recently, while doing research for my mom's genetic testing for cancer, I discovered my family had a lot of things hidden in our "health closet." Degenerative disc disease (neg. on my MRI), vit. B defiency (being tested for next week), pernecious anemia, addison's disease, one case of parkinson's and one of ALS in addition to all the cancers. The great thing is I can get that cancer thought out of my mind now focus on other possible contributors to my problems. I'm going to speak w/ my great uncle on the ALS to see what diagnostic factor indicated his disease in the early stages. I think you can have neg. MRI's w/ this though I am not positive. I doubt seriously it is ALS but I want to have all the facts before I see my dr. again. This experience has been a roller coaster of emotions. I am just thankful my dr. believes me and is trying to help find the cause of my problems. :) I'll let you know after I meet w/ her again.
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Avatar_n_tn
well sounds like your feeling better about all this sergie keep us posted on whats going on :)
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