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Q. Why is there a skin discoloration in my back?

Answered by
Dr. Salah Saad Shoman
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on May 25, 2018

Hi doctor,

I have been diagnosed with cervical dystonia, a chronic neck disorder for most of my adult life. It is extremely debilitating and treatment resistant. The onset was after car accidents, stress and substance abuse at age from 19 to 21. I am no longer smoke or drink and have stopped before 10 years. I have seen the top neurologists in my country, taken all the drugs and Botox variants and even considered deep brain stimulation. All scans and blood tests have come back with nothing. I also have vague symptoms that my neurologists dismissed out of hand or had no clue about and said as much. The first symptom is a discoloration of the skin from the base of my skull, which runs halfway down my back. It is a pale yellow brown hue, more noticeable in natural light. Aside from my neck spasms, this is the only visual, physical symptom I have, apart from persistent acne on the back.

The second symptom I have, which happens once or twice in a year, although less frequently in the last few years, is a feeling at night. It feels like I am going to experience some kind of organ failure in my middle back. This is coupled with breaking out in a cold sweat. I can only describe it as feeling like I am on the verge of dying. It is not a pleasant sensation. I also experience depression and anxiety and an odd lack of pain in most of my body. This lack of pain numbs the excruciating spasms in my neck, but also hinders healing and sensations throughout my body. With all this in mind, my question is, are there any tests the neurologists might have missed that an endocrinologist would usually employ? Does my symptoms sound worthy of further investigation by an endocrinologist?

Dr. Salah Saad Shoman

General Medicine Internal Medicine


Welcome to

  • Your treatment plan seems efficient, but still did not match up to your satisfaction.
  • The remaining two treatment options that you have not tried are deep brain stimulation and sensory trick, which is a stimulation applied to the affected or nearby body part that may reduce the muscle contractions, by simply touching this area and people can control their own contractions.
  • As for the discoloration of your back, the area you are describing is the area that is pressured while lying down on your back. It seems that you lay down for long periods of time that it interferes with the blood supply of the skin of this area.
  • You should not lie on your back for more than 2 hours in continuous. You should lay on each side for another 2 hours and so on. It is also best that you send a picture of the area.

Revert back with the photos to an internal medicine physician online -->

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