Feeling the burn and it's not going away
May 26, 2016 4:46 AM   Subscribe

What could be causing an internal furnace-like heat on the left side of my body? And more importantly, how can I get rid of it?


On May 15, I started feeling an internal heat in my left leg, mainly in the hamstring area, but definitely feeling it down to my foot. In the first few days, lifting the left leg, bringing the thigh closer to my abdomen, caused immediate cramping in my lower abdomen. Lowering the leg would stop the cramping. That symptom went away after a few days.

When touching the skin, it doesn't feel any hotter or cooler than other parts of my body.

On May 19, the leg became sensitive to touch in that anything touching the leg made me itch. This symptom I still have, to a lesser degree.

On May 20, I noticed the heat was still in my leg, but had also moved up to my glutes and mid-back, all still on the left side. I also noticed that the muscles in my leg were sensitive to pressure. The pressure sensitivity has gotten better since then.

On May 22, I noticed that it felt like I had decreased sensation on the leg. I was shaving my legs and felt that it was like there was a thin film over the leg preventing me from completely feeling the razor. This symptom has not gone away.

On May 23, I went to my GP, who prescribed me prednisone and took blood work (from what I can remember, the blood work tested (among other things) lipids, kidney function, thyroid function, and inflammation levels). All blood work came back as normal. She told me that the prednisone should help with the heat sensation within 24 hours. It has not helped in the slightest.

The heat is the worst when I have something touching my body. So I'm wearing clothes and right now, my shirt is making my back feel like I have a furnace radiating off of the left side of me. Even wrapping a towel around me after I shower increases the heat sensation.

I'm currently waiting on a referral from my GP's office to a neurologist, but wanted to see if there were any theories out there for my symptoms. Maybe I'm googling the wrong things, but Google hasn't helped me this time.

Other info: I'm 34, female, in good health, living in the U.S. I work out about 2 times a week (my workouts since May 15 have been at lower intensity levels, especially with the legs; working out does increase the heat sensation, but that doesn't surprise me). No change in appetite or sleep. I still have full range of motion in my leg and there's no pain.

If you need any clarification, let me know. Thanks.
posted by lea724 to Health & Fitness (15 answers total)
My husband had similar (scary!) symptoms from a spider bite, and only found out what it was after his second GP trip. Is that a possibility?
posted by third word on a random page at 4:49 AM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Could you have a pinched nerve that's gradually worsening? I had both the burning and sensation loss after getting a pinched nerve in my neck. It's miserable, I hope you get to the bottom of this soon.
posted by _Mona_ at 4:59 AM on May 26, 2016

I have trigeminal neuralgia on one side of my face, and when I don't take my Torodol, it feels like it's snowing on one side of my face. Actual cold and wet sensations that I can't get rid of, and pain when changes in actual temperature happen, so I'd suspect the neurologist will have something to say about it.
posted by xingcat at 6:33 AM on May 26, 2016

Sciatica? I admit until now I thought sciatica only presents with shooting, jolting pain, but cursory googling tells me that some people also experience numbness or a burning sensation.
posted by sively at 7:22 AM on May 26, 2016

Perhaps sciatica? I have mild sciatica that sometimes presents itself as tingling/burning up and down my leg. You could try some stretching and foam rolling to see if that helps or makes it worse.
posted by writermcwriterson at 7:30 AM on May 26, 2016

Is your leg swollen at all? Is there any redness to the skin?
posted by ocherdraco at 7:34 AM on May 26, 2016

MS is the first thing that jumped to mind, but hopefully that is not the case.
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 7:40 AM on May 26, 2016

I had a similar problem. I was referred to a neurologist for this and other random symptoms, and she described it as paraesthesia. There are many causes (and no causes) so I'm not going to guess about how it relates to your condition. FWIW, in my case the symptoms went away in their own after a year or so.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:43 AM on May 26, 2016

third word on a random page: I haven't noticed a bite anywhere, though I suppose that doesn't necessarily mean I haven't been bitten.

_Mona_: My first thought when this was happening was a pinched nerve, but it's a little unsettling that the heat is moving up my body. Would that happen with a pinched nerve?

xingcat: I think neuralgia usually presents on the face and head, so I'm not sure it's that.

sively & writermcwriterson: Maybe sciatica. I'm willing to try the stretching and foam rolling.

ocherdraco: No swelling, no redness.

thegreatfleecircus: I very much hope that's not the case.

Room 641-A: Paresthesia seems the most like my symptoms. I wonder if that could be it?

One other symptom I forgot to mention: A few days after symptoms presented, when my leg would touch anything cold, the sensation to the skin was an icy hot feeling, rather than just cold. I'm still having that symptom.
posted by lea724 at 7:51 AM on May 26, 2016

Certain viruses can cause bizarre sensory issues. PHN springs to mind.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 8:20 AM on May 26, 2016

Meralgia parethestica or some other nerve discorder. I have it and many of my symptopms are similar to yours. It's also in my left leg, I am also a woman mid-30s. There is no cure, not a lot of info on the internet (I have a google alert set up which will probably be triggered for the first time in months by my answering this ask). I was prescribed a nerve blocker and an anti-inflamatory for it — neither one helped, but now it's to the point where it comes and goes. I haven't had any symptoms for the past few weeks. I am now taking notes on my eating, sleeping and workout habit to try and detrmine if and what causes it or alleviates it.
posted by Brittanie at 8:26 AM on May 26, 2016

It's probably not a blood clot but you might want to make sure your doctor has ruled that out.
posted by littlewater at 10:31 AM on May 26, 2016

I had similar symptoms re heat and sensitivity in my right leg and odd pains from my heel through my hip for a few weeks before the tell-tale shingles rash appeared near my knee. The rash itself was no more than a couple of inches across and relatively painless—the pre-rash symptoms, however, made me pretty miserable.
posted by she's not there at 10:35 AM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

I also have meralgia paresthetica. Some of your symptoms chimed but not all, esp. not pain in the foot / hamstring area, and not anything I would describe as 'cramping'. I think a neurologist would be able to tell you fairly clearly whether it was that or not.
posted by smugly rowan at 1:54 PM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Allergies can do that. Have you tried anything new within the last month? Even a new detergent can trigger something. Many times our bodies will react to repeated exposure while we are under stress, so it could be something that you use or are exposed to every day. The important thing to do is to not freak out. Stress will make it worse.

Before I found out that I was allergic to certain foods, I was in a great deal of pain. Someone just brushing up against my skin would cause lightening bolts of pain. Cold felt like fire and I would get hot spots on different parts of my body. All of this went away when I stopped eating peanut butter and bananas every day. All of it comes back if I get even a taste of pineapple.
posted by myselfasme at 6:37 PM on May 26, 2016

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