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Dr. Abby
Dr. Abby, Board Certified MD
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 10330
Experience:  Family Physician, practicing medicine for over 10 years, United States
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Is is possible that lower back pain, possibly sciatica, to

Resolved Question:

Is is possible that lower back pain, possibly sciatica, to create a cyst that protrudes from the skin?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Dr. Abby replied 5 years ago.

I am assuming you have developed a lump under the skin?
Where is it located?
What is the size?
What does it feel like?
Is it moveable?

Dr abby
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
yes. i have developed a lump under the skin on the left side of my lower back. it is left of center; i am approximating it to be around L3 or L4. and i have been having lower back pain in a similar area on and off for a few years. this back pain seems to be a result of my hamstrings being too tight (i am a weight lifter) and i am assuming it to be sciatica. I have no medical knowledge but am an american overseas, and am reluctant to listen to any advice from doctors in indonesia.
The back pain has increased today, and this cyst has been there for several months, and i wonder if the tow are related, and this could be a sign of a serious problem, or something i can wait until i return stateside to have taken care of

It is not moveable, feels like could be puss filled. not painful .about 1/2 inch in diameter. it seems to get bigger and smaller periodically.
Expert:  Dr. Abby replied 5 years ago.
Is there any redness to the cyst?
Just to make sure I am clear, it is not painful to touch, correct?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
not painful, nor is it red
Expert:  Dr. Abby replied 5 years ago.
Ok, thank you for clarifying,

There are cysts that can occur in the lumbar spine area.
They can all cause pain...however the ones that are superficial (under the skin) do not arise out of underlying problems with the spine.

Lumps that arise in the subcutaneous tissue of the low back (and also other areas of the body) are usually either lipomas or sebaceous cysts.
Lipomas typically have a rubbery feel to them, are painless and often can be moved under the fingertips.

Sebaceous cysts are raised, filled with a cheese like material when opened up, are painless unless they become infected and are somewhat hard to the touch.
What you are describing sounds more like a sebaceous (also known as an epidermoid) cyst.

As long as it is not painful or red, I would not do anything with it until you get home.

Feel free to ask any follow up questions you may have,

Dr Abby

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
so you are saying that it is coincidence? the back pain started a few years before the cyst
Expert:  Dr. Abby replied 5 years ago.
Yes, I do think it is a coincidence.

The cyst is painless and in the subcutaneous tissue as you have described.

You can have cysts in the lumbar spine, but these are not palpable (ie Tarlov cysts, synovial cysts)

Lipomas and sebaceous cysts can also cause pain, but they are not "created" as a result of low back pain or from underlying back pathology.

Dr Abby
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