Sensation of being poked in the back with a broom handle - what is it?

Sasha

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I just read this in Corinne Blandino's excellent piece on Cort's blog:

The foot numbness had started over a year ago but now it was progressing up both legs and I had developed a pressure sensation in my mid-back, similar to being jabbed by a broom handle along with numbness and tingling in the last three fingers of both hands. The latter resulted in my local doc diagnosing me with ‘peripheral neuropathy’ and referring me to the local neurologist who was booked up for three months.

Read more: It’s Official! My ME/CFS is a Pain in the Neck: Corinne’s Visit (#9) to Dr. Peterson (Feb, 2013) http://www.cortjohnson.org/blog/doctor_blogs/its-official-my-mecfs-is-a-pain-in-the-neck-corrines-visit-9-dr-peterson/

This rang bells with me. When I went into a substantial remission after years in bed, I would every few weeks get a sensation in my spine, at the level of my shoulder-blades, as though someone was poking me in the back with a broomhandle. I used to use those exact words to describe the symptom so it was weird to hear them, for the first time ever, written by another patient. The area would feel increasingly inflamed and then I'd have, within 24 hours, a major flare-up (what I interpreted as a new infection, at the time) and would be forced to go to bed for a day or two until the attack gradually wore off over the next week or so.

This 'broomhandle' symptom preceded every single flare-up/infection and I never had the broomhandle thing without it being followed by a flare-up/infection.

Anybody know what that is?
 

PennyIA

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I've had that.... it was 'manageable' by chiropractic care, but it didn't 'fix' it. It kept coming back and getting worse. After four years, I was finally checked and found out that my gall bladder had to come out immediately. IMMEDIATE relief from the pressure in my upper back. IMMEDIATE. At that point, it finally got diagnosed as referred gall bladder pain. Sadly, though, it's started to come back again. Still moderate pain, still comes and goes. Chiropractic care still helps, but doesn't fix. ETA: - I was free of discomfort for a GOOD eight months after gall bladder surgery... so it's not like it came back immediately.

My current doctor is suggesting accupuncture. We'll see... I'm trying to get an appointment set up for next week and will let you know if it helps.
 

Sasha

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I've had that.... it was 'manageable' by chiropractic care, but it didn't 'fix' it. It kept coming back and getting worse. After four years, I was finally checked and found out that my gall bladder had to come out immediately. IMMEDIATE relief from the pressure in my upper back. IMMEDIATE. At that point, it finally got diagnosed as referred gall bladder pain. Sadly, though, it's started to come back again. Still moderate pain, still comes and goes. Chiropractic care still helps, but doesn't fix. ETA: - I was free of discomfort for a GOOD eight months after gall bladder surgery... so it's not like it came back immediately.

My current doctor is suggesting accupuncture. We'll see... I'm trying to get an appointment set up for next week and will let you know if it helps.

Hi Penny - that's very interesting! Did you have the sensation constantly, or was it only related to flare-ups of your viral symptoms and/or new infections? I've not actually had it since I relapsed and am now mostly bedbound. But it happened every couple of weeks or so when I was in remission but getting new infections/flare-ups.

I've had a chiropractor work on stiffness in my spine in that same location and it did a little good.
 

PennyIA

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Hi Penny - that's very interesting! Did you have the sensation constantly, or was it only related to flare-ups of your viral symptoms and/or new infections? I've not actually had it since I relapsed and am now mostly bedbound. But it happened every couple of weeks or so when I was in remission but getting new infections/flare-ups.
It did vary. I definitely would get it at least every couple of weeks... and the worst I got with other health issues, the more consistent it would get. Eventually, I'd have really severe pain in that area and I broke down and ended up in the ER about five times when it was at it's worst (the fifth trip is when they finally actually figured out my gall bladder was out of sorts). Part of the clues became severe nauseau and vomitting (I thought due to pain). But it took over ten months of it being BAD before they figured things out.
 
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If it was lower around the kidney area it could be Rogoff's sign of adrenal fatigue but it sounds like this is higher up. Sorry to hear, it sounds very unpleasant!
 

Art Vandelay

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When I went into a substantial remission after years in bed, I would every few weeks get a sensation in my spine, at the level of my shoulder-blades, as though someone was poking me in the back with a broomhandle. I used to use those exact words to describe the symptom so it was weird to hear them, for the first time ever, written by another patient. The area would feel increasingly inflamed and then I'd have, within 24 hours, a major flare-up (what I interpreted as a new infection, at the time) and would be forced to go to bed for a day or two until the attack gradually wore off over the next week or so.
That's interesting. Ever since I got sick, the middle of my back was always very inflamed and painful upon waking in the morning. I would have to stand under the hot water in the shower until the pain dissipated and I was able to move. After a bad relapse, I noticed the inflammation in that area became much more pronounced and constant. I would describe it as feeling like someone was pushing their thumb into my back/spine. Although at other times, it feels like a burning sensation and often is accompanied by sharp, stabbing pains.

After another bad relapse, I also noticed I had developed similar area of inflammation higher up in between my shoulder blades. A doctor thought I might have a chest infection (although my x-rays were clear) so he put me on a fairly low dose of roxithromycin for 6 weeks and eventually that area disappeared. The inflammation across the middle of my back seemed unchanged though.

This got me interested in possible bacterial causes of CFS and antibiotic protocols for treating it and I eventually started on the Marshall Protocol. As time on the Protocol has passed, the inflammation across my back has improved slowly to the point where I'm no longer in pain when I first wake up in the morning and the area is growing considerably smaller and less intense.
 

Sasha

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That's very interesting, Art Vandelay - weirdly, I didn't get the symptom when I was chronically ill, just when I was acutely ill but in remission. I don't know what to make of that!
 

maryb

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I get this too sasha - it describes it perfectly. a thick poking sensation, not related to anything else in my illness however, have a chronic bad back anyhow so my shoulders and lower spine are always inflamed. Its been quite consitent over the past 3/4 weeks - one of those symptoms that comes and goes - like the drenching night sweats. I'm not in a good spell but I have been worse.
 

peggy-sue

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I've got somebody poking under my right shoulderblade with a great big broom right now. It's something that comes and goes, nothing in particular triggers it, it doesn't signify anything else. It's just... a pain. :mad:
 

peggy-sue

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I've always just assumed it's a muscular thing. It's not anywhere inside major organs - unless it's 45 years of smoking finally catching up with me - now I've quit tobacco. (I've been using an electric vapouriser since mid-november- and it is amazing. I have a lot more energy and less peripheral pain and odd stuff happening in my extremities and fewer crampy things. I would highly recommend these to any smoker who can't "quit".)
Must be more oxygen and less CO. :)
 

Sasha

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I've always just assumed it's a muscular thing. It's not anywhere inside major organs - unless it's 45 years of smoking finally catching up with me - now I've quit tobacco. (I've been using an electric vapouriser since mid-november- and it is amazing. I have a lot more energy and less peripheral pain and odd stuff happening in my extremities and fewer crampy things. I would highly recommend these to any smoker who can't "quit".)
Must be more oxygen and less CO. :)

Glad you've had that aspect of your health improve, at any rate! :thumbsup:
 

Sparrow

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I get a similar feeling in my spine when I've spent too long with the TV or computer. If I don't stop, it progresses to a really unbearable burning sensation along my upper spine, along my neck, and up into my head. For me it's definitely a sign that I've gone too far.

Never ever thought to mention the pokey feeling, though. It never occurred to me that anyone else would have that.
 

peggy-sue

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I got to thinking about it a bit more last night.
I used to play the piano, and I'd often end up with muscular pains in my back and shoulders - because you actually USE a whole load of muscles in your back when working your fingers. There are no muscles in fingers - it's all ligaments, and moving fingers is facilitated by loads of muscles co-oordinating - pulley-like, all the way from your back and shoulders.

It's probably just over-use of fingers, causing the broom-in-the-back feeling from typing or mousing at a computer.
 

PennyIA

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I've also found that if I catch myself slouching more than usual - the pain picks up. Straighten those shoulders? and the pain seems a bit milder. It doesn't 'fix' it by any means... but no sense aggravating it.
 

Sasha

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Mine doesn't seem to be related to posture or what I've been doing - just as a herald of a flare-up. Baffling.
 

aimossy

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I am so glad its not just me either Sasha thanks for posting thread. I get this stuff intensely every day. drives me batty with dragging and pulling sensation pressured poking. in the back of liver and stomach bit like gallbladder pain in the back under right shoulder and sometime radiates up into throat and right side of my head.i have related it a bit with my gut but not fully like it might be referred from upper in my gut. get pulling sensations up high btw shoulders too that are weird.:)

oops had to edit..the last three fingers in both hands numbness tingling and funny sensation in them as well.:rolleyes: