Burning sensations, acid-like pinpoint pains, all over

Posted by adriggs @adriggs, Nov 29, 2020

I experience flashing pains all over my body–scalp, back, arms, legs. The pains feel like acid-burns manifesting in flashes at very pinpointed areas for just brief moments at a time. They can feel wet. Additionally, I had for several months chest pains that began similar to heart attack symptoms but were diagnoses as costochondritis due to tenderness to the touch at the appropriate location on chest. Subsequently, the tenderness to the touch aspect was no longer there but the burning and warmth and sensation of wetness would come and go. This has never been diagnosed. Chest x-rays and CT scan normal.

Hi @adriggs, welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. It is very frustrating and tiring to have such debilitating symptoms with no diagnosis or treatment plan. Some of you symptoms do sound like costochronditis.

Here are some related discussions:
– Costochondritis and lung problems https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/costochronditis/
– Costochondritis https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/costochondritis-1/

Has the original diagnosis of costichronditis been ruled out now?
I was intrigued by your description of a sensation of wetness and found some people with multiple sclerosis describe that sensation too. I'm not a medical professional and am not qualified to even guess at a diagnosis. Has MS been discussed with your doctor? What tests or investigations have been done?

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Thank you Colleen. At some point, it was pretty much agreed that the chest symptoms I was having (and still intermittently have) were no longer tracking with a costo diagnosis. MS was originally looked into when I first received a diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy several years ago, but I believe MS is notoriously hard to diagnose so I think it's still a possibility. Anxiety is another angle that may have some merit–both in terms of the odd chest warming/wetness sensations and the all-over burning, acid-like pinpoint pains.

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@adriggs

Thank you Colleen. At some point, it was pretty much agreed that the chest symptoms I was having (and still intermittently have) were no longer tracking with a costo diagnosis. MS was originally looked into when I first received a diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy several years ago, but I believe MS is notoriously hard to diagnose so I think it's still a possibility. Anxiety is another angle that may have some merit–both in terms of the odd chest warming/wetness sensations and the all-over burning, acid-like pinpoint pains.

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@adriggs MS or even ALS is something that is considered as a differential diagnosis for a spine problem. Have you ever had an injury to your spine or a whiplash? Have your doctors done imaging on your spine to look for potential problems? The thing about a spine injury is that years later, arthritic changes happen, discs collapse, etc, and you may not know that a problem had been brewing there for years. It took twenty years for this to happen to me after a whiplash. Another possibility after a whiplash is developing TOS or thoracic outlet syndrome. I have that too, and it does cause chest tightness and that's enough to start twisting ribs and causing chest pain in the costal cartilages and near the sternum. When I get a spasm it starts in my neck and goes down to my chest and that can be confused for heart related which I did have checked out. I also know that when I can use my hands to massage and stop the chest pain that it is a muscle spasm and I also massage the neck muscle that started it all. I'm not suggesting patients diagnose themselves, but this was the answer after heart issues were ruled out.

I am a Mayo spine surgery patient and I had a compressed spinal cord in my neck caused by a ruptured disc and bone spurs. That was generating pain all over my body and for a while, and that pain would change location depending on which way I turned my head. I have also had instances of cold sensitivity caused by nerve issues. The first time was due to a spinal injection that caused a lot of new pain with electric shocks and as that gradually subsided, I was left with cold sensitivity in my hand and that lasted a year and a half. My spine surgery was 4 years ago and I am well recovered. This past spring, I had a bad ankle fracture which was causing nerve pain all during the time I had a cast, and after my cast was removed, it got better slowly, but I had the sensation of stepping into cold water with my injured foot. I was barefoot and looked at the floor to see if there was water there, but there was not, so that too was a nerve still recovering from an insult. If there is any possibility of a neck or back injury from an accident, you may want to ask for spine imaging. MS can show up on a brain MRI, and on my spine imaging, there was enough of the brain stem that the neurologist could say that I did not have MS. Unfortunately this type of spinal cord issue that causes all over pain is difficult to get diagnosed, and surgeons didn't connect that to my spinal stenosis until I got to Mayo for my 6th opinion. I could have saved myself a couple years if I had come there first. It's called "funicular" or "referred pain" when spinal cord compression causes these symptoms. I also had nerve conduction and EMG testing and had some normal results except for muscles that had atrophied because of the spine problem. Keep track of any changes over time. I was drawing my nerve pain on a body diagram and dating it so I could tell how it was progressing as my bone spurs grew bigger. My spine surgery resolved all of that.

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@adriggs

Thank you Colleen. At some point, it was pretty much agreed that the chest symptoms I was having (and still intermittently have) were no longer tracking with a costo diagnosis. MS was originally looked into when I first received a diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy several years ago, but I believe MS is notoriously hard to diagnose so I think it's still a possibility. Anxiety is another angle that may have some merit–both in terms of the odd chest warming/wetness sensations and the all-over burning, acid-like pinpoint pains.

Jump to this post

@adriggs I wanted to check in. I noticed @jenniferhunter was kind enough to respond but I'm wondering if you'd like to check out some of the other groups Mayo Clinic Connect offers. Below I have three that may be of interest to you.

– Chronic Pain: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/pain/
– Depression & Anxiety: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/depression-anxiety/
– Mental Health: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/mental-health/

May I ask what the next step is in regards to your symptomology?

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@jenniferhunter

@adriggs MS or even ALS is something that is considered as a differential diagnosis for a spine problem. Have you ever had an injury to your spine or a whiplash? Have your doctors done imaging on your spine to look for potential problems? The thing about a spine injury is that years later, arthritic changes happen, discs collapse, etc, and you may not know that a problem had been brewing there for years. It took twenty years for this to happen to me after a whiplash. Another possibility after a whiplash is developing TOS or thoracic outlet syndrome. I have that too, and it does cause chest tightness and that's enough to start twisting ribs and causing chest pain in the costal cartilages and near the sternum. When I get a spasm it starts in my neck and goes down to my chest and that can be confused for heart related which I did have checked out. I also know that when I can use my hands to massage and stop the chest pain that it is a muscle spasm and I also massage the neck muscle that started it all. I'm not suggesting patients diagnose themselves, but this was the answer after heart issues were ruled out.

I am a Mayo spine surgery patient and I had a compressed spinal cord in my neck caused by a ruptured disc and bone spurs. That was generating pain all over my body and for a while, and that pain would change location depending on which way I turned my head. I have also had instances of cold sensitivity caused by nerve issues. The first time was due to a spinal injection that caused a lot of new pain with electric shocks and as that gradually subsided, I was left with cold sensitivity in my hand and that lasted a year and a half. My spine surgery was 4 years ago and I am well recovered. This past spring, I had a bad ankle fracture which was causing nerve pain all during the time I had a cast, and after my cast was removed, it got better slowly, but I had the sensation of stepping into cold water with my injured foot. I was barefoot and looked at the floor to see if there was water there, but there was not, so that too was a nerve still recovering from an insult. If there is any possibility of a neck or back injury from an accident, you may want to ask for spine imaging. MS can show up on a brain MRI, and on my spine imaging, there was enough of the brain stem that the neurologist could say that I did not have MS. Unfortunately this type of spinal cord issue that causes all over pain is difficult to get diagnosed, and surgeons didn't connect that to my spinal stenosis until I got to Mayo for my 6th opinion. I could have saved myself a couple years if I had come there first. It's called "funicular" or "referred pain" when spinal cord compression causes these symptoms. I also had nerve conduction and EMG testing and had some normal results except for muscles that had atrophied because of the spine problem. Keep track of any changes over time. I was drawing my nerve pain on a body diagram and dating it so I could tell how it was progressing as my bone spurs grew bigger. My spine surgery resolved all of that.

Jump to this post

Thank you for your reply Jennifer. I have not checked in on this forum in quite some time. The symptoms I described above have ebbed as of late but I don't doubt they may return, seemingly randomly. I am seeing a new neurosurgeon re my spine and he is taking a look at things, considering surgery, etc. I have for some time had lumbar spondylolisthesis and stenosis.

Lately, I've not thought much about the issues I described in my original post above because I have been preoccupied with different problems–namely abdominal bloating/pain, bowel issues for over 2 months and they are much more significant that my normal IBS experiences.

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@erikas

@adriggs I wanted to check in. I noticed @jenniferhunter was kind enough to respond but I'm wondering if you'd like to check out some of the other groups Mayo Clinic Connect offers. Below I have three that may be of interest to you.

– Chronic Pain: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/pain/
– Depression & Anxiety: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/depression-anxiety/
– Mental Health: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/mental-health/

May I ask what the next step is in regards to your symptomology?

Jump to this post

Thank you for that, Erika. Lately, I've not thought much about the issues I described in my original post above because I have been preoccupied with different problems–namely abdominal bloating/pain, bowel issues for over 2 months and they are much more significant that my normal IBS experiences.

REPLY
@adriggs

Thank you for your reply Jennifer. I have not checked in on this forum in quite some time. The symptoms I described above have ebbed as of late but I don't doubt they may return, seemingly randomly. I am seeing a new neurosurgeon re my spine and he is taking a look at things, considering surgery, etc. I have for some time had lumbar spondylolisthesis and stenosis.

Lately, I've not thought much about the issues I described in my original post above because I have been preoccupied with different problems–namely abdominal bloating/pain, bowel issues for over 2 months and they are much more significant that my normal IBS experiences.

Jump to this post

@adriggs I'm glad you are looking into things with your neurosurgeon. Changes to bladder and bowel function can also be spine related. I did have difficulty emptying my bladder because of cervical cord compression. You might want to ask your spine specialist about it. I would also recommend several opinions if you are a surgical candidate and there may be different ways to solve the problems depending on which surgeon you see. I've been told lumbar spine surgery is a more difficult recovery than my cervical spine surgery because the body is bearing most of your weight on the lower spine. Twisting and bending would put extra pressure there and the exact placement of screws into bone must be just right or the screws can pull out. Make sure to ask questions about that before any surgery. I learned that by watching online presentations from neurosurgeons.

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