MDJunction - People Helping People
 
Ask a Question
03/31/2009 08:34 AM

bruises on lower back

terenia58
terenia58  
Posts: 1
Member

Morning all, I have degenerative disk/herniation/nerve root damage in my lower back. I also have fibromyalgia along with the back problems. Recently though, my husband has noticed large bruises on my lower back. I don't know if it's caused from the excessive use of a heating pad - but then I would have thought that would have showed up years ago because that's how long I've been using it. Doctor is baffled and I'm confused. Anyone else ever come across this?
Reply

04/01/2009 01:08 AM
fluffyluggage
fluffyluggage  
Posts: 4722
VIP Member
I'm an Advocate

Hi terenia,

Welcome to the forum. There are a few things I can think of. But first, I would caution you against using a heating pad constantly. I learned from a physical therapist that it's important not to use one continuously, cuz not only can it cause heat burns, which is possibly what your hubby is seeing, rather than bruises, because some first-degree burns can look like bruises after a period of time, but if you use the heat constantly, you are basically getting your body used to it and will need more and more to reach a good effect. The problem with heat is that it's similar to a drug. You need more and more to get relief from it if you use it all the time. Your body just gets used to it. So, just a thought.

However, do you get bruises on other areas of your body besides that? If so, it's possible you are experiencing vertigo. People with FMS can experience vertigo and wake up with bruises in places on their body they wouldn't know it. That could point to a vertigo-type of condition, such as BPPV (a type of positional vertigo), Meneire's disease, or something similar.

Have you had surgery on your back, had a fusion, or something like that? Have you had a recent MRI to check for further damage? Is this your PCP looking at it, or has he referred you back to the neurosurgeon or orthopedic? If you have had surgery on your back, then I'd be very concerned that something has gone bad with it, and I think you need to get an MRI and go back to the neuro or ortho... Even if not, because of your diagnosis, both are a very good idea. I think hearing that a doctor is baffled is not good, and it's time to look elsewhere for a solution.

Does it hurt? Are you having more trouble moving around, having to take more pain meds? I mean, are there other oddities you can come up with?

I can't say I've come across it, but it concerns me, and "I'm baffled...don't know what to tell you" isn't an appropriate answer for a doctor to give me. I'd want more, and I'd expect more from my doctor, whether a PCP or a specialist. There has to be a reason for them, and it's time to find out.

If you are finding bruises elsewhere, what you need is an ENT referral to determine the reason for the vertigo. You also need to ensure that you have nightlights lighting your way to the bathroom or any area of the house you need to navigate at night, and you need to also have cleared pathways, and hand rails around the toilet and in the shower. Your house needs to be safe until you can be sure that everything is ok.

Vertigo (BPPV, too) is something I dealt with for a while, and the bruises were how we actually figured out much of the cause of it, and what prompted us to deal with it. If you have that and can get it resolved, and then you still have a problem, as I did, then you can at least deal with an aspect of it and get it settled, then turn to the next part...

Hope that helps some.

*hugs*

jen Smile


05/09/2009 09:03 PM
LeahC
Posts: 1
New Member

Hi terenia,

I'm so glad I found your post. I am brand new here to this site. I only registered so that I could reply to your post. I also have degenerative disk in my lower back as well as middle back. My husband recently said, "what in the world have you done to your back?!" I didn't know what he was talking about til I looked in the mirror. My lower back is covered in what looks to be old bruises (purple/brown blotches). I knew immediately what caused it ... my heating pad. I received my diagnosis a couple years ago by MRI's but have been unable to go for any further treatment (even though I'm in constant pain). I just wanted to let you know you are definitely not alone! I did wonder if you've learned any more from your doctor about the "bruises" such as how to diminish them, etc.? I'd greatly appreciate any info you feel free to share. Thank you and good luck!

LeahC


05/10/2009 06:22 PM
fluffyluggage
fluffyluggage  
Posts: 4722
VIP Member
I'm an Advocate

Hi Leah,

Did you read my response above? You may want to consider some of the things I mentioned, such as contacting a physical therapist about proper use of a heating pad. If you aren't using anything in between the heating pad and your skin, such as a towel or several layers of clothing, you should be. If you are using the heating pad constantly, you really need to discontinue that. It is very similar to a drug, in that if you are using it constantly, your body will adjust to the heat, and will require not only longer periods of using it, but higher and higher levels of heat to get an adequate feeling of relief.

The other concern I'd have is how high a level of heat you are using. Heating pads shouldn't be used for more than about 15 to 20 minutes at a time, and rarely should they be put on high heat, especially models made prior to 2000. Older heating pads don't have automatic shut-off to prevent fires or burns. If you fall asleep with one on, you are likely being burned, and what looks like a bruise to you and/or your hubby is likely a first- or second-degree healing burn.

Because your body has become so used to the heat, you aren't feeling the burns. You may argue and not believe me, but that is true, and you can verify it with a doctor and or a physical therapist. Heat therapy can be a major problem if you aren't using it correctly. It's not meant to take the place of other forms of physical therapy, or to take the place of other forms of medical intervention.

It can also cause significant nerve damage if you aren't careful.

I hope this doesn't sound too stern, as I'm merely concerned for your health. I'd really suggest your see your doctor and ensure there are no new burns that may be infected or need attention at this time.

You might also consider trying alternating heat therapy with cold therapy, which may help both the burns and the back pain.

Good luck, and please update us with further info as you get more care.

*hugs*

jen Smile


02/05/2010 09:23 PM
rebchic72
rebchic72  
Posts: 17
Member

I am having the same thing going on and I just put a post up asking about it. I have used a heating pad too! Not 24/7 but a lot! I will turn it off and not use it again until after my dr. appt.

02/06/2010 05:32 AM
ray2135

Hi

I used a hot water bottle one time when I was experiencing stomach cramps. I wound up with 3rd deegree burns and some of the burns went all the way down to the hip.

Any heating for the skin can cause serious damage if not done properly.


05/17/2010 10:51 AM
paigeterra
 
Posts: 2
New Member

I have the same issue, with bruises popping up on my lower back, just above the sacral area. I have a DDD at L4-L5 and SIJD. The bruises occur more when I sit for long periods of time, or overdue it with too much walking. However, I am an easy bruiser. I also have a problem with swelling and inflammation in the same area.

I too received a "baffled" response from my family practitioner, and the heating pad response from my PT. However, my Physical Rehab Physician confirmed it as soft tissue bruising. If it hurts like a bruise when you touch it, it is not a heating pad burn. I hope that helps!


05/19/2010 10:39 PM
fluffyluggage
fluffyluggage  
Posts: 4722
VIP Member
I'm an Advocate

Hey paige,

Welcome to the forum, and thanks for the information. That's good to know, and coming from a doctor, always a great source. I always try to remember that we're giving advice only, and everything should be checked by a doctor and confirmed, since we can only give advice based on experience. Whenever anyone has a concern or is in question about what's going on with them, it's best to see their doctor, but when their own doctor can't answer the question, they gotta be thinking, what the heck? LOL

Hugs,

jen Smile


02/20/2011 12:30 AM
leesuh
Posts: 2
New Member

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR POSTING THIS....I, TOO HAVE DEGENERATIVE DISC DISEASE AND I RELY HEAVILY ON MY HEATING PAD FOR COMFORT....LATELY I HAVE NOTICED THAT MY ENTIRE LOW BACK IS COVERED IN ONE BIG SPLOTCHY BRUISE....IT'S PRETTY SCARY LOOKING....I AM ON THE DURAGESIC PATCH WHICH I ALSO PUT ON MY LOW BACK....AND YES, I KNOW YOU AREN'T SUPPOSED TO USE A HEATING PAD AFTER APPLYING THE PATCH, BUT IF I DON'T USE THE HEATING PAD, THEN I GET EXTREMELY COLD AND MY MUSCLES TIGHTEN UP AROUND MY SPINE AND JUST MAKES THINGS WORSE!! I WAS JUST WONDERING IF ANYONE KNOWS IF THIS BRUISING IS DANGEROUS.....I READ THE REPLY WHERE IT SAID YOU HAVE TO BE REALLY CAREFUL WITH THE HEATING PAD....I ALREADY KNEW THAT....I JUST WONDERED IF HAVING THAT BRUISING THERE CONTINUALLY IS DANGEROUS?? IT HAPPENED TO ME ONCE BEFORE A FEW YEARS AGO AND EVENTUALLY WENT AWAY, BUT THIS ISN'T GOING AWAY.....I'VE HAD IT FOR OVER 6 MONTHS AND I'M AFRAID TO SHOW MY DR BECAUSE I'M SCARED HE WILL THINK I AM ABUSING MY PATCHES AND I AM NOT!! I AM VERY CAREFUL WHEN USING THEM AND I AM EXTREMELY ANAL ABOUT KEEPING ON A CONSISTENT SCHEDULE!!

PLEASE HELP IF U CAN....ONE LAST THING....DOES ANYONE KNOW OF ANY MEDICATIONS THAT ARE SUCCESSFUL IN TREATING THE DEGENERATIVE DISC DISEASE....I HAVE BEEN ON THE DURAGESIC PATCHES FOR ALMOST 11 YEARS AND THEY JUST DON'T CUT IT FOR ME ANYMORE....I HATE TAKING PILLS, SO I REFUSE TO TAKE ANY OPIATES, LIKE PERCOCET, ETC. FOR BREAK THROUGH PAIN! ANY SUGGESTIONS THAT I CAN TAKE BACK TO MY DR.???

THANKS SO MUCH!! Smile


02/20/2011 12:24 PM
fluffyluggage
fluffyluggage  
Posts: 4722
VIP Member
I'm an Advocate

Hi Leesuh,

Welcome to the forum. I'm sorry to hear you're suffering from the same issues so many of us have dealt with. First, if you've had them for over 6 months, I'd say yes, they could be very dangerous and need to be examined. Second, if you are using the heating pad over a duragesic patch, that is also extremely dangerous. Instead of doing that, I'd advise you to use the heat around the patch and not directly on it. Please don't ever violate a safety advisement of any medication, as that alone can cause these kinds of complications.

Next, if you feel like the patch isn't working for you, you really need to discuss with your doctor what you feel is going on. This is so important because when we're on these narcotics, we build up a tolerance to them, and we often need to switch off them to something else that's equal or even lesser in strength so that your body will accept that as a different pain medication and won't have the tolerance. The only other thing you can do is suffer for a few days so that your body will adjust to not having pain meds, and then put them back on for a few days, and just rotate a few days on and a few days off.

If you refuse to take pills, there's not a lot more you can do, unless you want to look at alternative methods of treatment. There are a couple of posts on alternative remedies here that you can look at and see what you might find that would work for you. Just be sure to discuss them with your doctor and make sure nothing will interact with anything you're doing now. Therapies like acupuncture, acupressure, etc, may work very well for you.

I hope this helps. Keep us updated.

Hugs,

jen Smile

P.S. If you would, please try to write us in lower case, as upper case can be very painful to the eyes for people who have other conditions. It also appears in "net speak" as though you are yelling. Wink Thanks!

Reply

Share this discussion with your friends:
<< Start < Prev 1 Next > End >>


Disclaimer: The information provided in MDJunction is not a replacement for medical diagnosis, treatment, or professional medical advice.
In case of EMERGENCY call 911 or 1.800.273.TALK (8255) to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Read more.
Contact Us | About Us
Copyright (c) 2006-2014 MDJunction.com All Rights Reserved