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Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: Itching and tingling - psychogenic?


 Laure - Thu Jun 03, 2004 3:12 pm

Last November, I suddenly started having pain and weakness in my lower back and right leg. My doctor ruled out appendicitis, tubal pregnancy, and kidney or bladder infection. She told me that she believed I had a ruptured ovarian cyst, and that there was nothing to worry about. Sure enough, about two weeks later the pain was gone and I was fine. Then, towards the end of March, the pain came back. At first it was concentrated in my lower back and right leg. After about a week, both legs started feeling very weak with numb patches. I was sent for an MRI of my spine, and a slipped disk was ruled out. I was sent to a neurosurgeon for a second opinion. By the time I got an appoinment to see him, my arms had started to become weak and I was having itching and tingling in my legs, arms, and chest. The neurosurgeon sent me to a neurologist, and he did a nerve conduction test and an EMG. Both came back fine, and he told me (not in so many words) that I am a hypochodriac. He's sending me for blood work, and told me to come back in a month. I am miserable. I get so weak sitting or standing up, that I am constantly having to take breaks to go lie down. Is it possible that there really is nothing wrong? If so, why do I feel like this? I know that I am not making this up, and I am tired of doctors making me feel like I am stupid.
 Dr. Tamer Fouad - Sun Jun 06, 2004 6:28 pm

User avatar Laure,
I am glad that your tests came out fine. It would have been much worse if you turned out to have any of these conditions that your doctors ruled out. Now to answer your question: You are suffering, that is obvious and no one can deny this. It could be something at an early stage that hasn't manifested yet or more likely, your suffering is not organic (in a loose sense that words means physical).

There are doctors that study and research all their lives just to help people like you: psyciatrists. And that does not mean you are insane. Let me explain. The brain has complete control over all our body functions. We think and sense things using our brain, but besides these obviously conscious functions, there are vital undeniable subconscious functions too. For e.g. The heart would not work without the heart regulatory center; the lungs would not breath without the respiratory centers in the medulla; the vascular system is completely controlled by the brain. The brain also releases 'master' hormones whose function is the control all the hormone producing glands in the body. Now, taking into consideration all these functions are the responsibility of this compact structure called the brain, don't you think its possible that it can go wrong from time to time. So what happens if these functions go astray: Your heart could beat different or it could stop altogether; you could start having shortness of breath, your blood pressure could rise or decrease. But when doctors check the heart, lungs and vessels .. they find nothing wrong with them. Thats because the organ that needs fixing is the brain. We don't have easy access to the brain, we also do not understand the brain as we the heart. That in part is due to its extremely complex structure. However, those that do understand it more than we do are the psychiatrists.

Just to sum up.. in your case it could be that the sensory system at the level of the brain is what needs fixing. In such a case you would feel pain and other sensations in those areas but on examination these areas would turn out fine. It needs fixing at a higher level.

I suggest you go and see a psychiatrist he would also be able to tell you if there is nothing wrong with the brain and refer you back your physician.

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