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Old 16 August 2013, 03:34 AM
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Default Has anyone heard of exercise-induced neuropathy?

I've been trying to get back in shape these past couple weeks, but I've encountered a problem: a couple hours after I work out, I start feeling terrible pain all over my body. It's not the usual muscle soreness that comes from a vigorous workout; this is burning, stabbing pain that I feel everywhere (even when my workout consisted only of running, I feel it in my arms, neck, and back, as well as my legs). Also, I'm not working out that hard--30 minutes on the elliptical trainer one day, then a day of rest, then a slow 1-mile jog, etc. The pain lasts about a day before it subsides, and it's pretty incapacitating--interferes with sleep, makes the flight of stairs up to my apartment seem insurmountable, etc. OTC painkillers help somewhat, but not enough.

This is totally new to me. I've been in and out of shape at various points in my life, and while getting back into the groove has always been difficult, it's never been like this. I have scheduled a doctor's appointment, but they couldn't get me in for three weeks. I've stopped going to the gym and have been trying to research the problem online, but the only sites I found on exercise-induced pain were either about delayed-onset muscle soreness, which this definitely is not, or were specific to chemo patients, which I definitely am not. I was diagnosed with B-12 deficiency last December, but I took supplements and got shots and by May I was well into the normal range. I'd been too fatigued during that time to work out, but I regularly ran 2-3 miles at a stretch last summer, and now that I have my energy back, I'd like to do that again.

Has anyone heard of this? Again, I have a doctor's appointment, and I promise I won't try anything crazy on some internet stranger's say-so. I'd just like to go in armed with as much information as possible.
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  #2  
Old 16 August 2013, 04:52 AM
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The only thing I can suggest is a pinched nerve in your neck. Which would explain why you feel it ever where.

But my family has a history of back problems and my mum has permanently a damaged nerve in her back so that is where my mind goes.
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Old 16 August 2013, 05:10 AM
Gayle Gayle is offline
 
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Lactic acid?
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Old 16 August 2013, 05:46 AM
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I would guess pinched nerve as well, mainly because I do not think that B12 induced neuropathy can fluctuate like that. I know it can cause neuropathy, permanently if not kept in check, but I am pretty sure that that would be ongoing until your levels come back up.

At any rate, I would lay off exercising until you find out for sure one way or another. Skipping your workout for a few weeks will probably not hurt you, but continuing to exercise when you are having symptoms may well hurt you.
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Old 16 August 2013, 06:15 AM
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I read up on pinched nerves once, but the sources I consulted talked more about weakness and numbness than pain; I have only the latter. Is that possible/normal?
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Old 16 August 2013, 06:49 AM
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What is "normal" when you are talking about a malfunction in your ability to sense things? Even if it is not usual, it may well be possible. IANA doctor, but it seems somewhat more likely to me than transience of symptoms due to some of the other things that cause neuropathy (vitamin deficiency, actual damage to the nerves themselves, tumors be they malignant or benign). It would fit with the observations: you move, you shift or inflame whatever is pinching the nerve, then after a while that shifts back or the inflammation subsides and your nerves go back to normal.


ETA: Web MD lists back problems among the possible causes for neuropathy. While it is not explicit that "back problems" translate to pinched nerves, it seems somewhat implicit to me.
EATA: Neuropathy.org cites pinched nerves explicitly.
Quote:
Many times the nerve is injured by a something that can be treated or reversed, i.e. a compressed or pinched nerve, chemotherapy or exposure to a toxic chemical. In these cases, whatever is the culprit can simply be removed from the equation and allow the nerve to heal.

Last edited by geminilee; 16 August 2013 at 06:56 AM.
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Old 16 August 2013, 06:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Esprise Me View Post
I read up on pinched nerves once, but the sources I consulted talked more about weakness and numbness than pain; I have only the latter. Is that possible/normal?
My Mum has perminate nerve damage from her last back operation and it manifests as a stabbing pain in her foot (the damage is in her lower back) I don't think she feels numbness.

Remembering my uni studies doen't lactic acid cause the usual muscle ache rather then pain? The aching muscles you feel the day after a work out is lactic acid build up?

Just out of interest, do you warm up at all?
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Old 16 August 2013, 07:45 AM
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As far as warmups, the gym is a half-mile walk from my place, so I do at least that, plus some quick dynamic stretches (swinging arms, walking lunges, that kind of thing). I stretch more thoroughly afterward, and I do a long cool-down walk.

Also, one other thing I forgot to mention: my skin gets tender to the touch as well. It's a little like having a sunburn; a gentle pat on the arm feels like a slap, and some of my clothes feel too rough.
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Old 16 August 2013, 08:05 AM
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Hypersensitivity is common with neuropathy. When I have a flare up, I cannot stand to have anything touch my feet. At first, before I was put on neurontin, I had to make piles of blankets next to my feet, because the pressure of a sheet on my feet was painful. Now I am not that bad, but there are times that I cannot wear socks because the pressure is too much. And forget about foot rubs.

The fact that your symptoms are transient makes me think that once you figure out the cause, full healing is likely in your case.
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Old 16 August 2013, 08:43 AM
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I don't have any suggestions, really, but it sounds awful and I hope you get it sorted out quickly.

hijack:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dasla View Post
Remembering my uni studies doen't lactic acid cause the usual muscle ache rather then pain? The aching muscles you feel the day after a work out is lactic acid build up?
Nope, turns out what we learned about lactic acid years ago was wrong.
Quote:
Contrary to popular opinion, lactate or, as it is often called, lactic acid buildup is not responsible for the muscle soreness felt in the days following strenuous exercise.
http://www.scientificamerican.com/ar...ctic-acid-buil

Researchers still don't know exactly what causes delayed onset muscle soreness after exercise, but they know it doesn't correlate with lactic acid.
/hijack
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  #11  
Old 17 August 2013, 08:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erwins View Post
hijack:



Nope, turns out what we learned about lactic acid years ago was wrong.


http://www.scientificamerican.com/ar...ctic-acid-buil

Researchers still don't know exactly what causes delayed onset muscle soreness after exercise, but they know it doesn't correlate with lactic acid.
/hijack
arh...well Uni was 20plus years ago.
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  #12  
Old 28 August 2013, 06:18 AM
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Update: I was able to get an earlier doctor's appointment. The GP didn't think it was a pinched nerve, but she did think my being on Accutane might have something to do with it. Accutane can cause joint pain in rare cases, which is not what I have, but maybe it's close enough? Anyway, she wanted me to stop taking it for now, wait and see what happens, and then maybe go see a neurologist.

She ran every conceivable blood test to rule out other conditions, and everything came back normal--my B-12 levels were actually through the roof this time (normal range is 200-1,000; I once got as low as 90 but am now at 8,000).

I'm going to make a followup appointment to discuss my remaining concerns. I stopped taking the Accutane on Thursday. On Sunday, against her advice and my better judgment, I went on a bike ride I'd been planning with my friends for months. It was only supposed to be 2 miles each way with a stop for brunch, but it ended up being almost 6 miles each way. Later that day I had agreed to help my boyfriend move but said I could only drive the truck; he got a friend to help him carry furniture, but they ended up needing an extra set of hands and I pitched in. Hours later I still felt fine. Maybe bike riding and mattress-lifting are just lower-impact than running, or maybe being off the Accutane for just a few days already made a difference. I think I'll try going back to the gym to see what happens.

Thanks again for all the input and support!
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  #13  
Old 28 August 2013, 02:16 PM
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Glasses

Bike riding is definitely lower-impact. Mattress-lifting is different impact I'd think, rather than lower or higher.

Good to hear.

Seaboe
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Old 28 August 2013, 03:02 PM
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When I had a pinched nerve, my only symptom was intense, stabbing pain.
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Old 28 August 2013, 08:21 PM
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Yeah, a pinched nerve was very much localized. "Pinched" is an apt word. It was like someone took a c-clamp and chomped down on it and you could say "see? now this nerve runs from here to here." Very much localized pain; not all over.
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Old 16 October 2013, 06:27 AM
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So the Accutane theory is looking less credible; I think we're pretty close to concluding that it was actually the excess of B-12 that was causing the pain.

As I mentioned before, when I saw the doctor and got a series of blood tests, everything came back normal except that my B-12 levels were about eight times what they should have been. I had previously been diagnosed as B-12 deficient, but the doctor who saw me refused to give me injections, instructing me instead to take dietary supplements. I gave it the old college try, but they didn't work--I remained deficient after a month of taking supplements with several hundred times the recommended daily value. So it appears my deficiency is due to a lack of intrinsic factor for absorption, rather than a lack of B-12 in my diet. (Which I knew already, but now I can prove.) So I sought out the services of a naturopathic doctor who works out of a Sprouts (grocery store along the lines of Whole Foods). The injections were very effective, and I experienced a complete turnaround in energy levels, focus, and mood. I did a bit of research and didn't find anything saying this could be harmful; B-12 is one of those vitamins that, if you get too much of it, you'll just (literally) piss away the extra. But as it turns out, that's only true of the B-12 you ingest orally; B-12 toxicity is indeed possible if you're injecting it, and it can cause the symptoms I was having.

After stopping the Accutane and the B-12 shots, I started exercising again with no problems. After a month, under my doctor's supervision, I went back on the Accutane and still had no problems working out. My B-12 levels are now only about twice what they should be, and I'm getting tested again in a couple weeks. I imagine we're going to have to figure out some kind of long-term care plan that involves getting regular blood tests and then shots as needed, but it's so good to be able to move freely again.

Thanks again for all the support, snopesters!
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Old 16 October 2013, 11:03 AM
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I'm glad you got it figured out.
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