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    Unknown source of pain
    avatar
    jrfalkner posted:
    My wife is suffering from ever increasing and often debilitating lower back pain with additional thigh and feet pain. Multiple MRI's, CT scans and a recent nuclear study have not revealed anything abnormal. She has had multiple injections at the L5 and L4 (bi-lateral) without relief. Her primary care physician and neurosurgeon have suggested seeing a neurologist in a large metropolitan area (Methodist hospital in Houston, Baylor hospital in Dallas or Mayo) as they would have a greater probability of seeing a similar condition than one might see in our rural area. Has anyone heard of such a condition?
    Reply
     
    avatar
    Peter Abaci, MD responded:
    As unsettling as this may sound, doctors often don't know the true causes of many of their patients' pain problems. This can be a source of real anxiety for patients and their caring spouses like yourself. In fact, it has been estimated that for low back pain, that as much as 90% of the time the causes are really unknown. Moving ahead with the recommended neurology consultation certainly sounds reasonable, but I thought it might help to know that your wife is certainly not alone in dealing with pain of uncertain causes.

    I also thought you might appreciate reading a recent blog I wrote on this subject for the Huffington Post: http://peterabaci.com/the-pain-of-the-unknown/.


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