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View Full Version : I'm wearing soneone else's back and it ITCHES!!!



txmarinemom
03-05-2008, 09:18 PM
Geez, Louise ...

My back's numb in places, normal in some, tingly in others. No big deal ... just *strange* (like I'm wearing someone else's back).

I lean back on the car seat and I barely feel a thing (but oddly, I can feel the pressure where it touches in places that were rotated before and didn't make contact ;-).

Trying to describe the numbness/nerve insult to someone who's never had an incision over 2" - much less 17" - is pretty much impossible. Sometimes it goes away, sometimes not: My first knee surgery from '92 still has numbness and phantom itching.

Anyway, a few days ago by entire back started itching like crazy. I was literally afraid to scratch it because it's so numb and you can't get to the itches anyway. I would have clawed it to pieces.

They started me on Gabapentin yesterday. Dude. For all my tolerance to pain meds, THIS stuff has me lOoPy. Anyone else have that effect?

Other than that, it's working *great* for the pain, and I only took about half the normal dose of my Percodan/Norco today.

Pam

samsmom
03-05-2008, 09:40 PM
Pam,

You are not alone. Sam has been having having the same thing. She has been saying her back is numb and feels very weird. When she has pain and I tried to give her the heating pack, she says why bother, she can't feel anything! I thought that was bizarre, but I guess not.
- Michele

__________________
Samsmom
Mom to Samantha, Age 17

64 Degree Thoracic Curve
42 Degree Lumbar Curve
Fused T-4 to L-2
Yale New Haven
2/5/08

txmarinemom
03-05-2008, 10:48 PM
Sam has been having having the same thing. She has been saying her back is numb and feels very weird. When she has pain and I tried to give her the heating pack, she says why bother, she can't feel anything! I thought that was bizarre, but I guess not.

Nerves are so odd. I've been able to feel the sensation of my clay heating pack even on the parts of my back that have no feeling.

I DO, however, have to be VERY careful on certain areas that are particularly numb ... I've already blistered myself in a small place.

Hopefully she won't get the itching, Michele ... it's MADDENING to not be able to reach it. I know it's a normal part of healing from all my *other* surgeries, but had no idea they could do anything for it. I sat through it for 2 days before I finally called Hanson's office.

If the sensation really gets to bothering her, you might want to call her doctor. I've heard the med works better on some than others, but it's working great for me. Another day of that phantom itching and I was headed for the looney bin!

skoshi314
03-05-2008, 11:14 PM
They started me on Gabapentin yesterday. Dude. For all my tolerance to pain meds, THIS stuff has me lOoPy. Anyone else have that effect?

What strength are you taking? I've been taking Gabepentin (Neurontin) 300mg for a while for nerve pain and it really helps. I only take it at night though because it does make me quite sleepy but that helps counteract the wide awake feeling I get from taking Norco (Lortab). My pain management doc prescribed 100mg capsules to take during the day with the hope that they won't make me as sleepy but will still receive some relief from the nerve pain. I'm waiting until this weekend to try the 100's so if they do make me sleepy, I can take a nap in my bed instead of under my desk LOL. You might check with your doc about trying the 100s so you could adjust the dosage to better suit you. Hope this helps!

txmarinemom
03-06-2008, 12:00 AM
What strength are you taking?

I just looked ... I'm taking the 100 mg's.

Let me clarify "loopy": It's not sleepy, not "under the influence", it's producing a rather surreal mood and seriously screwing with my depth perception and night vision (I discovered the last two when I walked my rent check to my landlord 2 houses over earlier).

I've never had anything affect me like this. Not intolerable, just weird. Like anything else, the effects may settle down. They certainly aren't unbearable enough to discontinue at this point.

Man-oh-man ... I don't know how you handle the 300's. I'd have to take it lying down in bed - LOL!

The Slice
03-06-2008, 06:19 AM
Hey Pam, why not make yourself a "safe" back scratcher? Get a piece of flat stock (aluminum, or steel) and either attach some rubber, or easier, make a ball of cloth like a terry dish towel or something. This will should give you enough of a rough texture to get the scratching and no chance of hurting yourself. You can find flat stock easily enough at Home Depot, or your equivalent. Good luck.

csc
03-06-2008, 07:22 AM
Samsmom,
I hope you don't mind a word of warning. When I went to my two week visit, I was told not to use a heating pad. Since areas are numb a burn could develop without that person being aware of it. When I had used it, I used the lowest setting. Advised to use ice packs instead.
I have not developed that "itchy" feeling. My back does not feel like it's a part of me. It seems so swollen at times and that is when it really bothers me. I wore a
Milwaukee brace as a teen-ager and now it feels like it's inside me. It feels like I am leaning against bars when I lean back in a chair. Anyone experience this?
Thanks for replies. Sorry, I don't have an answer for the itchiness, Pam. Hope it goes away soon for you. :confused:

cameol998
03-06-2008, 07:51 AM
Pam,

For your itching back, you should try a Dry Brush. They are used in spa treatments. They have them at places like bath & body or the Body Shoppe. Even at pharmacies. They have soft bristles and some come with a long handle. They are really great for softly rubbing your incision. They are the brushes with the wooden handles. Cameo

suzyjay
03-06-2008, 08:03 AM
I used a long handle back brush to scratch my back, the kind you would use in the shower, it worked very well and wasn't harsh on my skin. At times I still get itchy and I am over a year post op.

Sue

Diane BCSW
03-06-2008, 08:31 AM
I'm going to echo the two or three posts above that suggest a long handle brush. I cannot remember where mine came from but the bristles are very soft and it does the job. It is so totally weird to reach back to touch one's own back and you can't feel any sensation. It makes me wonder if it will always be dead or will the nerves eventually grow back together. Since I haven't yet started itching, it's ahead of me, because it's happened each and every time. Do y'all remember another household gadget that made life so much easier? a pair of kitchen tongs (the red handled ones worked best). At the first surgery, I had to wait until a Tech came along to wipe me on the toilet... I just couldn't bend that far. By the second surgery 4 months later, I still couldn't bend but had learned about the tongs... wrapping a fairly long piece of toilet paper around the end of it and looping the dangling end over the top and into the middle to hold it on the tong. That independence meant everything. By the time the 3rd, 4th, and 5th surgeries came along, I no longer had any trouble bending. I had such a bad Tech at my first surgery, I wound up reporting her before I left. I had talked to the nurses about her and they knew how she was, but they couldn't do a thing - politics in hospitals. That was in the Rehab Hospital at Med Cnt of Plano (TX). I hate to be so gross, but one time after they had given me Milk of Magnesium, I had an accident in my bed and this Tech refused to clean me up. The nurse had to come do it. Another time she left me sitting on the toilet with me begging her not to leave me. I could not reach the pull cord (she could have made it work so that I could but she didn't) but she left saying she would be right back. She didn't come. Apparently she forgot. I had to scream and scream until I drew the attention of the patient's family across the hallway (who happened to be a personal friend) and they summoned help. Help wasn't from that Tech either - they couldn't find her. After that, I refused to let that particular Tech into my room and as I said, I reported her. Oh, the stories that each one of us have had to live through..... !!

Diane

cameol998
03-06-2008, 09:05 AM
Diane,
Your story reminds me of what our elderly must go through in the nursing homes. It is so sad. It gets me so mad. If they cant fire her then they could at least, keep her AWAY from the patients. Give her something else to do.
I have an appt with Dr. Shelokov in April. If he suggests surgery for me, will I end up at the hosp she works at. I am from CT. I am not familiar with Texas. That is such a big fear of mine. not being able to take care of myself and having no one there to help me. I think Pam has more strength in her pinky than I do in my entire body.

Geish
03-06-2008, 09:16 AM
I have found that once the itching starts and you scratch it, it just gets worse. And then the itching spreads to new places and it is a horrible cycle. For me it takes a good 10-15 minutes for the nerves to calm down and the itching to go away, and then only if I don't scratch. For me it feels like fire ants are having a party all over my skin. And lucky me, more nerves are waking up daily, even on my stomach and ribcage in the front! I use a bath net thingy on a long handle to scratch when i just can't resist. The netting is soft and nonirritating.

txmarinemom
03-06-2008, 09:40 AM
Hey Pam, why not make yourself a "safe" back scratcher? Get a piece of flat stock (aluminum, or steel) and either attach some rubber, or easier, make a ball of cloth like a terry dish towel or something. This will should give you enough of a rough texture to get the scratching and no chance of hurting yourself. You can find flat stock easily enough at Home Depot, or your equivalent. Good luck.

Y'all don't understand ... it NOT the incision that's itching. THE SKIN IS NUMB. Trust me ... I already lightly tried my bath back scbrubber. *nada*. I might as well be rubbing it along my countertop.

What I'm experiencing is nerve regeneration/misfiring - the skin itself doesn't really itch.

This is underlying nerves (severed in surgery - or whatever world y'all settled on - LOL) trying to make the synapses fire from A to B again. It produces phantom itching (and as Geish described) the "ant bites" (some say "bee stings" ... same concept).

My incision is *completely* healed, and I have NEVER had itching on the surface of the skin at the incision. This is different.

Pam

trulyaries
03-06-2008, 09:41 AM
I have dealt with the itching and numbness for years. Fortunately, the itching is no longer so unbearable as it used to be. If I get a spot that starts itching, I really try to take my mind off of it because you really can't reach the itch - it's too deep inside, I guess - and that works sometimes. If it doesn't, I use my loofah strap all across my back. Sounds harsh, because the loofah is pretty scratchy when dry, but IT FEELS SO GOOD! As far as numbness, I still have areas of my back that are still numb so I'm almost resigned to the fact that it will always be that way.

I have also been on Gabapentin (300mg 4xday) for years, first for the spinal stenosis and since then for nerve pain in my right butt and leg. It has been a wonder drug for me and has never given me any problems (unlike some other drugs!) and I'm still taking it post-surgery until I see my doc next week. This might be the first time I can stop taking it in years since I'm not aware of any nerve pain right now.

cameol998
03-06-2008, 09:58 AM
Ohhh. I get it. I had my foot operated on in Nov. and I had THAT itch in between my toes as the nerves were regrowing? It was like ants so deep under the skin you could not get to it. It did feel better when I massaged the area with lotion. Not scratching. Just firm rubbing. I am talking about a 2 inch incision between my toes though. Not along my entire spine. But maybe you could get someone to massage it for you. My doctor told me it speeds up the healing process. Good luck.

skoshi314
03-06-2008, 10:23 AM
I've had that same itching on the ridge of my rib hump and I'm pre-surgery. Geish is right, the more you rub or scratch, the more it itches. I've tried to describe it before and couldn't find the right analogy, but I like the ants. That's exactly what it feels like!

Pam, it's amazing to me how different meds affect everyone so differently. Some that you've mentioned in the past (can't recall which ones at this moment) that haven't had an effect on you just kick my a**! The Gabapetin makes me relaxed but I haven't noticed any problems with depth perception. I refuse to drive once I've taken it for fear of becoming SO relaxed I'll float right through a red light. So I take it about an hour before I go to bed. My doc did say that you will build a tolerance of sorts to it and won't feel the loopy effects. Maybe that'll give you a little hope!

FeliciaFeliciaFelicia, if I took 300mg 4 times a day I'd be a Jello jiggler just lying in the bed jiggling. I'm impressed!

lisanicole
03-06-2008, 10:34 AM
Ant bites is the PERFECT description. I know exactly what you're talking about... it is nerve regeneration, like they're reconnecting. You'll be sitting there and just bolt straight up at the these little electric shocks. I never came online much after my surgery, but 7 years later it's SO great to hear that you guys are experiencing what I was experiencing and I wasn't totally nuts. ;)

And "wearing someone else's back" is so right! I called it my "new body", your ribs are in different spots, and after a lifetime of your insides being in one place and then so drastically moved, it takes some time getting used to. I remember always having a numb itchy feeling in my right ribs because they rotated them so much during surgery, my skin wasn't used to the sensation of having ribs under it in this new location.

You guys are great. :)

txmarinemom
03-06-2008, 11:23 AM
Yes, it does take time to a body that's been "rearranged".

I could not walk a straight line for 10 days - LOL ... my entire center of gravity was OFF - lol.

rainbow2010
03-06-2008, 11:30 AM
I was told years ago that itching is a form of pain. I have a spot on my face that when I scratch it, I feel it on my back. My daughter had a spot on her stomach that she feels on her back. Some of the itching is the nerves growing back. I had to put up with the itching inside a body cast. I learned to ignore it.

txmarinemom
03-06-2008, 12:25 PM
That's so weird - but I can relate! I occasionally have itches on my fingers, and the place to scratch is NEVER where it itches (it's usually on the other hand!).

Pam

dalmatica
03-06-2008, 03:47 PM
It took about a year for that itching/tingling/numbness to subside. I would feel itchy but yet couldn't feel myself scratching. So don't worry, the sensation should come back in some form or another.

As for Lyrica (Gabapetin), I can't take it. Tried again the other night and 75mgs will hang me over the next day big time yet I live on Oxycodone. I know it can be a miracle drug for some but I can't tolerate it. I have tried it several times over the years and same results. Krysi

trulyaries
03-06-2008, 05:19 PM
FeliciaFeliciaFelicia, if I took 300mg 4 times a day I'd be a Jello jiggler just lying in the bed jiggling. I'm impressed!
I LOVE that mental image!! It's amazing to me once again the varying effects that drugs have on different people. Like me on valium - just plain loony tunes!!! :D

samsmom
03-06-2008, 06:23 PM
Samsmom,
I hope you don't mind a word of warning. When I went to my two week visit, I was told not to use a heating pad. Since areas are numb a burn could develop without that person being aware of it. When I had used it, I used the lowest setting. Advised to use ice packs instead.
I have not developed that "itchy" feeling. My back does not feel like it's a part of me. It seems so swollen at times and that is when it really bothers me. I wore a
Milwaukee brace as a teen-ager and now it feels like it's inside me. It feels like I am leaning against bars when I lean back in a chair. Anyone experience this?
Thanks for replies. Sorry, I don't have an answer for the itchiness, Pam. Hope it goes away soon for you. :confused:

Thanks for the word of warning. I honestly never thought of that!