My mother has been experiencing random pain all over for about 4 years now, and numbness on the right side of her body. There's been days at a time where she hasn't gotten out of bed because she's been hurting so bad. She's been to over ten different doctors, they've taken all sorts of tests and scans and they can't figure out what is wrong with her. Any ideas?
Thanks for using the forum. I am happy to address your questions, and my answer will be based on the information you provided here. Please make sure you recognize that this forum is for educational purposes only, and it does not substitute for a formal office visit with a doctor.
Without the ability to examine and obtain a history, I can not tell you what the exact cause of the symptoms is. However I will try to provide you with some useful information.
Whole body pains and numbness may be associated with a neuropathy. Your mother should make sure she has a complete rheumatic workup evaluating Sjogrens, lupus, etc. Since you mentioned symptoms on one side of the body these could be secondary to a stroke or multiple sclerosis. These would best be excluded by an MRI. If your mother’s symptoms migrate (move from one place to the other) and are intermittent, causes might include seizures, migraine disorder or metabolic problems such as low calcium.
Often these symptoms may reflect emotional/psychiatric problems related to stress (what is called somatization disorder). The latter is a true medical condition whereby instead of a patient experiencing depression or anxiety, they experience physical symptoms, and once the stress is addressed, the symptoms resolve. Fibromyalagia is another medical condition that leads to whole body pains, and is best treated with medications such as lyrica and neurontin, exercise, and physical therapy.
Your mother should at least have an MRI of the brain and cervical spine and EEG performed. If she has not been evaluated by a neurologist, it may be worthwhile to ensure that her neurological examination does not suggest a focal lesion. If everything continues to be negative or normal, she may need to see a chronic pain specialist who focuses on the psychological as well as the structural causes of pain.
Thank you for this opportunity to answer your questions, I hope you find the information I have provided useful, good luck.
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