Back pain and swollen lump at base of spine
January 21, 2011 5:49 PM   Subscribe

My gf has a swollen puffy lump about 2.5" wide on the base of her spine, no discoloration or pain, it just appeared at the same time she got a sudden sharp stabbing pain in her right lower back - are these 2 things related, if so, can anyone tell us what it means? Obviously we need to talk to the doctors, but she's been working with them for years and no one can tell us anything yet - we thought someone else might have some ideas?

My girlfriend was the passenger in an awful car accident 4 years ago - her friend who was driving walked away fine, but she wasn't so lucky, and the doctors still can't fix her pain... she has severe lower back and knee pain (not sure if they're related - she has some nerve damage in one knee from car accident). She's only 25 yrs old, shes had the pain for going on 4 yrs and doctors can't really find the answer/solution.

Tonight she got a sharp sudden pain in her lower right back (very low, almost on her butt) that made it hard to walk, and even intense while sitting. At the exact same time a swollen lump about 2.5 inches wide at the base of her spine just appeared - very puffy, but not discolored or noticeable other then the swelling. I pointed it out to her, she said that area wasn't even sore, she didn't know it was there.
She's never (as far as we know) had this swelling there before, its soft and puffy, and as I'm typing its still there, going on 15 minutes - the pain is still bad in her lower back too.
Can anyone give us some idea as to what this lump might be, is it related to the pain?

Thanks everyone!
posted by absolutshrk to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Can you call a consulting nurse at your doctor's office, if you have one, or at any hospital in your area?
posted by tristeza at 5:54 PM on January 21, 2011

Sounds like maybe the beginnings of a pilonidal cyst?
posted by zug at 6:15 PM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

posted by gaspode at 6:21 PM on January 21, 2011

You say it's onn her lower back, and there's no pain, but occurred at the same time as intense pain in her lower back? I'm not a doctor but this sounds pretty related and also pretty bad. I would want an MRI or an X-ray or something to see what was going on in there.
posted by amethysts at 6:38 PM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've had a pilonidal cyst, and the pain is exactly where the bump is. My pilonidal cyst was also red. The location you are describing is correct though.
posted by two lights above the sea at 7:25 PM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

I encourage you to suggest she exit her current medical care loop and find a new one, asap. I don't like the sound of any of this, particularly doctors who say they can't help her address pain for 4 years. It's time for fresh eyes and this new issue is a good impetus. Good luck!
posted by thinkpiece at 7:33 PM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

Stabbing pains? Sudden lumps appearing? Difficulty walking? I'd be on my way to the ER, or at the very least, an urgent care clinic.
posted by schmod at 10:29 PM on January 21, 2011 [3 favorites]

Longer term, perhaps consult with a DO? it's a primary care physician who is a doctor of osteopathy rather than an MD. Same med school training and certification plus extra training.

Might provide some new thinking, at primary care prices, and works well with other specialists (has been my experience)
posted by vitabellosi at 2:21 AM on January 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Could it be a slipped disc that's protruding and referring pain to another location? Or maybe a muscle seizing up and referring pain elsewhere?
posted by xenophile at 10:08 AM on January 22, 2011

The ER has no ideas unfortunately.
I don't think its a slipped disc - however, I agree she should get an MRI and/or x-ray, she hasn't had one in at least 2 or 3 years - but more importantly, its very disturbing to me that her doctors haven't wanted to do an MRI since then.
I agree with ThinkPiece, something smells rotten, and I don't know if her doctors just don't care, or they aren't that smart, but we need to find someone new. It's just difficult because in the past 4 years she's seen many, many doctors, and no one has really helped. She's losing hope, but I'm not about to give up, and I know if I can be strong, she will continue to fight.

Vitabellosi - Good idea, I'll see if I can find a good DO to speak with and have him look at her.

The pain doctor today said that if its not her diet (yeah, hes actually suggesting the long lasting debilitating pain is caused by too much cheese/caffeine), then his only idea is to put her on Lyrica - which shes tried and it doesn't work. - bottom line I want to find the SOLUTION to the root of the problem, not mask it with more drugs.

Thanks everyone!
P.S > I'm trying my best here, but I'm not that good at searching out the best doctors, and we don't have a lot of money. If anyone knows of any good TV Shows or something that takes problems like this and finds help, I'm all ears.
Thanks again!
posted by absolutshrk at 6:45 AM on January 24, 2011

P.S> I don't think its a cyst, it went away a few hours later, when the pain went away... So odd.
posted by absolutshrk at 6:46 AM on January 24, 2011

You say you're in CT. Has she seen doctors in NYC? Are you guys at all close to NYC? It might help to widen your range of your search; and NYC has some good ones. (That's all I got, unfortunately..)
posted by amethysts at 5:50 PM on January 24, 2011

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