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Need to understand

I went and a thoracic spine xray done and i need help  understanding what the results are. There is a levo-curvature of the upper lumbar spine associated with degenerative changes at the L2-3 level. and mild degenerative changes also noted at the T8-9 level. How severe is this diagnose.  Any help would be appreciated.
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Avatar_m_tn
OK, Let me break to down a bit for you. Levocurvature means "left" curve in the spine; as opposed to dextrocurvature meaning "right".  The lumber area of the spine is the lower end of the spine numbers L1 through L5. The thoracic area of the spine sits on top of the lumbar section numbered T1-T12. The L2-3 area would be around your belt line (depending on how you wear your pants!) and T8-9 would be between you shoulder blades.

The severity of the diagnoses would depend greatly on your age and sex.  The curvature can be addressed with with temporary braces, surgical, and other treatments. The older you are the more difficult to treat it becomes.  Are far as the degenerative changes go, those happen with age but at different rates due to arthritis, or other conditions. There are some new treatments out to slow the degeneration, and some surgical options depending on your circumstances.  So without your age, sex, and any pre-exsisiting conditions, I am somewhat limited on solid answers. The good news is that there are many options for those that have these conditions, so I hope you can work with the right doctor to find what works for you!  
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Avatar_f_tn
I can't thank you enough.  I will tell you that I'm 48 years old, and I have had back problems since my early 20's when I had been tossed on my tailbone where it put a chip in it.  I have problems regularly with pinch nerves in the back rib cage area and lower back.  I also suffer from extreme migraines and pain in the neck area also. Please tell me that there might be some kind of help for me I need to return to the work force but am not sure with the pain that I'm gonna be capable to return to work.  The doctor at the present time has me taken Flexeral and Naproxin and it does not seem to help.  Any advice? Thanks for your help.
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Avatar_f_tn
Sorry,  I am a female.
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Avatar_m_tn
Hello again,
Thanks for the additional info. I will break this down again now that I have your feedback. First, the fact that your are female works against you a bit as women lose bone density earlier and faster than men. It really kicks in as menopause starts (estrogen drop affects bone health).  On the up side you are only 48, so you have many more options with better outcomes than if you had passed the 65 year point.

Flexeral is a muscle relaxer and I am guessing that you take this at bedtime to help you sleep (since it can make you sleepy if taken in the daytime).  Naproxin is an anti-inflammatory which makes sense but both of these medications will only take the edge off, I am a bit surprised that you are not on a more aggressive treatment protocol.    

I hate to do this but I do need a little bit more info if you want me to be specific with treatments with the highest chance of success.  First question: are your migraines triggered when your neck goes into spasm/pain, or is it independent of your original complaint? Second: what country do you live in, or better yet do you have socialized health care like the U.K. and Canada vs. privatized health care like the USA has.  If you live in a  privatized  health care country, do you have decent insurance or do you have to pay all costs out of pocket?  The answer to these questions will tell me which path to pain management and resolution will be best for you based on your resources.  It is of no use for me to recommend something that you cannot afford or don't have access to.  

I will wait for your reply.

Take care
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Avatar_f_tn
Hello again. And thank you for your response to my article.  As to your questions my migraines are a separate thing from my neck pain I think i'm not really too sure.  I live in the states, Oregon to be exact.  I am currently on the State medical program called Care Oregon. As for the migraines they are in the back of my neck area and also include the top of my head and in the area behind my eye sockets.  They get to the point that I get nausea and the light bothers me and the pain feels like my head gonna explode. I have to lay down in a dark room and hope that I fall asleep to lessen the pain.  As for my neck area I can take my hands at each side of my verebraes and snap them back into their original position.  Hope this information helps you out.  I am awaiting your response with antipation. Sincerely Celesteb
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Avatar_m_tn
Celesteb,

    I finally got the formulary info for Care Oregon so here we go. First with the bad news if you want to call it that.  They require a process to get to the treatment that will most likely give you the relief you are looking so you can return to work. Based on your history that you gave on prior posts, you goal will to be to receive a set of 3 anti-inflammatory epidurals one week apart which will give you a great deal of relief for 6 to 12 months (which can be repeated as needed).  This is typically what is done to avoid surgery which is the last option.  The problem is that you will need to start with your family doctor and get him to refer you to a pain specialist. Care Oregon will want the family doctor to show that he/she has exhausted their options to justify sending you to a specialist. However, some doctors may have figured out shortcuts to get you referred if they are so inclined to do so.  

  I have a suggestion for you neck/headache pain that you can start now for under $50 that is quite effective.  Here are the links at amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.com/Caldera-Releaf-Neck-Rest-Regular/dp/B0027CU1PS/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

Be sure to read the pro and con comments on the page. You can wear it to work, shopping, etc.
Now here is a one that works very well but you are limited with where you can do it. It looks cheap and basic but is very effective with neck and headache pain.:

  http://www.wayfair.com/Core-Products-Overhead-Traction-System-990-L2925-K~XCS1028.html?refid=AC49-XCS1028


O hope this helps as you start your journey



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Avatar_m_tn
I forgot to address the migraines, I think your neck pain might be a trigger for your migraines so the neck brace and the injections should help.  With that said, if there are different triggers such as certain foods, sleep changes, stress, then let give you some additional information.

There is a class of medication that Care Oregon does cover called "Triptans".  The brand name for these are: Imitrex, Maxalt, Axert, Frova, Zomig, and Relpax. This medication when taken at first symptoms of the migraine will usually stop it from getting worse. IF you can take it with 500mg of Tylenol or Ibuprofen at the same time it will be even more effective. When you develop migraines during the day it is easier to get in front of them using this combo.  However, when you wake up with them already in progress it gets much more difficult because of the nausea and need to take the medication to stop it.  You have two options at that point, first is  a auto injector pen that has the triptan medication in it that you inject into your arm (looks like an EpiPen the people with severe allergies carry at all times). Second, is to ask for anti-nausea suppositories that you  insert into the rectum to reduce the nausea so that you can take you medication to stop the migraine.

If any of this does not make sense let me know.
  
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Avatar_f_tn
I had an accident where I was pulled forward and backward at the same time leaving me twisted and now I have levocurvature of the lumbar spine with disc buldge and degenerative changes as well as edema. Is there anyway the lawyers can say this is only due to my age? I am 51. I never had back problems until this accident happened, now I have back spasms, I am in so much pain I cry at night after working all day. My right leg is longer now than my left leg, I have never had scoliosis or anything else wrong.
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