I have been diagnosed with a large disc herniation at t8-t9(MRI). I have pain radiating around my rib cage which is relentless and frequent muscle spasms around the disc area. I can barely use my arms as it aggravates the problem and sets me back. My surgeon had informed me that the surgery is very complicated and dangerous and does not want to do anything unless he is sure this will not improve with time. He also infomed me that 3 out of 4 of these herniations will get better on there own without sugery. Has anyone gotten better with one of these, has anyone had the surgery? These are rare and no one seems to be able to give me answers. I don't know if I should be active or do nothing, physio is giving me mixed messages and state they have never seen one of these before.
Wow, seems like I have been searching forever to find someone with a very similar problem. I have had this problem since Jan/09. Mine started with pain radiating around the rib cage down thru my stomach, when the pain eased up I felt frozen down my whole right side starting at the rib cage + going down to my toes. Things have gone from frozen to numb, spasms, sensitive skin, pins + needles, tightness in hips + pelvic area, but not much pain except the pain around the rib cage. I find I am feeling very tight in the right hip on walking +then a tight, numb ,very uncomfortable feeling sets in. I don't like to go shopping anymore. I am seriously thinking about surgery.
When I think about how I felt a month after mine happened, yes you very well could improve without surgery. They try non-surgical treatment first.
I have not had much success with my physio, but everyone is different.
Are you on meds?
This is a very rare place for discs to herniate + no one seems to know too much about it.
I was told the same by my surgeon-about complicated surgery.
Good luck. Would like to hear how you are doing.
I have 3 bulging discs in the thoracic region which were discovered by MRI ordered by my family physician. Dealt with the pain every day solidly from December 08 to May 09. Physician referred me to a pain management clinic, but I haven't gone yet. The pain subsided in late May. Being ignorant of the nature of bulging discs, I thought this was the end of it and began a rigorous daily exercise schedule--felt great! 2 weeks ago, was doing a new exercise: lying flat on my back, lifting 5 lb weights straight up. No problem--until the next day. Severe pain in my right chest area directly under breast. (this was where my most severe pain was when I had this problem back in December.) Pain every day, NOW add to that a pain in my shoulder blade area, plus the chest/breast pain is spreading to the left side of my body. At times, I feel tingling skin in various places on my back, pins and needles type of feeling too. Sometimes, even while showering, the water spraying will "hurt" in these pins and needles areas.
Is it true that there is no cure for bulging discs? Surgery is out of the question for me, as I haven't even tried the physio yet. But from the other sources I've read on internet researching, physio is rarely effective for this problem. I sure don't see a lot of talk about thoracic disc problems. Is this condition hopeless? I shudder to think of living with this pain (or worse) for the rest of my life.
Hi I am wondering how you are making out? Not much has changed for me. I did see my specialist + discussed the surgery required. I am thinking "second opinion" in hopes of a less invasive surgery.
Hope you have a good Christmas + a healthy New Year.
I hope you give a DIFFERENT physio a chance--one who is more experienced in thoracic. I went to physical therapy beginning early November (2 months ago). WHAT A DIFFERENCE. The bulge that was pressing on a nerve has subsided according to the spine doc. What remains is the pain from ribs and muscles that have been trying to "take care of" the spine problem by shifting/moving/being pulled by muscles. My physio has concentrated on the ribs and muscles in the painful area. I can say without a doubt that I've seen much improvement. I even have pain-free days. Please, I encourage you to seek out this muscle/rib correlation and have your physical therapist work on it. I've also had traction and this feels good as well. There IS hope that's non-surgical. Please let me know how it goes with you.
Thanks for your letter, am glad things are going better for you.
My situation seems to be different than most- I do not have as much pain. I have more problems with numbness + walking now, can't lift much either. As long as I do not use my right side too much the pain stays away. Physio seems to enhance the numbness. I seem to improve more by doing some back strengthening exercises & doing as much in a day as I feel able. I am not able to go to work which I miss very much.
Anyway I am hoping my Dr. will give me a referral to a spine clinic that I have heard good things about.
What geographic location are you in?
Are you on any meds & if so are they helping?
Take care. Happy New Year
I'm so sorry to hear that physio only enhances the numbness. And not being able to work has to be awful. I did go to a spine doctor. She wanted to put me on anti-depressants which supposedly help for back pain. I didn't want that type of drug so requested the most conservative approach possible to start out with. She gave me mobic, which is a non-steriod anti-inflammatory. I can't say I felt any difference from this at all. Taking nothing else. I'm in Missouri, where are you located? Are you on any meds at all? Have you got referred to the spine clinic?
It seems anti-depressants are very popular for herniated disc problems. I am trying gabapentin which seemed to help almost immediately, but not anymore. I really don't want to increase the dose because they all have their side effects.
I am on the prairies in Canada, our nearest spine clinic is 5 1/2 hours away. I am seeing my family Dr. tomorrow to make arrangements to go there or at least get a second opinion on the surgery.
I'm post surgery from spinal fusion at t8/9 and t9/10 on Dec. 4th. I'm on Gabapentin as well, I don't believe it is a antidepressant, my understanding is that it is a drug for nerve pain. I'm on morphine LA and Perkoset as well. I will be 5 weeks since my surgery as of tomorrow. I am slowly getting better, and hoping for a full recovery. I was told 3-4 months to recover and 6 months to get right back to normal. Time will tell I guess. I'm in a lot of pain now, I have to sleep part of the night in a recliner. I have my first checkup on the 21st of Jan. to see if my fusion has started.
Gabapentin is not an anti-depressant, that is why I chose to try it rather than amitriptyline.
Before your surgery, was your surgeon quite optimistic that you could expect full recovery after surgery? I left with mixed feelings from mine.
Do you live in the same city where your surgery was done?
How is it to travel 3 - 6 hours?
Thanks, I appreciate all your info!
I have a herniation at the T7-T8 with a hemangioma at the T-7 T-8 as well. I have gotten NO answers. My Neuro set me up with an appointment to see a surgeon. I have not be able to get ahold of any one to answer my questions my neuro cant see me for 3 weeks. The only thing I have been told is that I was put on a priority list for the surgeon and it was the secretary who told me that. I had MRI 2 weeks ago and go see surgeon next week. Is it only t8-t-9 that is rare or are any herniations in the thoracic spine rare. I just dont understand why I can not get answers. It says on my MRI My thecal sac is decreased by 50% I dont even know if this is bad. I am so sore and so frusturated and scared of surgery and dont know what to do
Any thoracic herniation is rare, mine was the result of a bad ski accident. The problem with surgery is that it is risky and complicated to get to the spine because they have to perform a thoracotomy. In my case they had to collapse my lung as well. I really did not have much of a choice as far as surgery because I had very little use of my arms. I was too young to live like that for the rest of my life. I hope I fully recover from the surgery, but it is only been 5 weeks since the operation so it is too early to tell. I was told it would take 4-6 months to fully recover. The surgery is very painful because of the spreading of the ribs, also the fusion donor site was my ribs as well so that hurts too.
My gosh, I had no idea the surgery was so invasive ! I feel bad for what you are going through. My right shoulder always feels like it has been smashed and the arm always aches into the hand although it wasnt injured in the car accident that caused my back issues. I hope my surgeon has some other suggestions for me that will help before having all that done. Physio did not help. I truly wish you a fast and full recovery.. im still shocked as to what you have gone through, I had assumed they went in from an inscision in the back had no idea it involved ribs and.....i just really had no idea it gives me the willies.
I had the same surgery you had! Mine was to remove the calcified herniated disc between the T-7 and 8, and insert a piece of rib harvested from me so it could fuse the two together. My surgery was urgent because I was stricken with near paralysis in the middle of the night. Luckily, my spine surgeon is in my hometown and he is very good. He confidently performed the mini thoracotomy and fusion by going in on my left side beside my breast. They did not have to cut the lat muscle, thank goodness, because that would have left more pain afterwards. There were no problems. I am 6 weeks out from the surgery and am s-l-o-w-l-y getting more feeling back, but still am limping around. I was unable to walk because my left side was so very bad, but now I have gotten so I can walk, but am still numb from the breast down. How are you?
How is your recovery going. I am going to see the surgeon tomorrow to review my catscan results. I'm up and down with the pain, I'll be manageble for a few days and then sore for a few days. It seems to be changing all the time. It is a slow recovery for me. How did they get around your lung? Did they put a plate in as well? Sounds like you had quite the ordeal too.
It is nice to find some other people who are having the same problem as myself as I also have a problem with my T7-T9 region. I have been on the anti-depression medication for a couple of years now and find that it works well as long as I only take it when I am in a lot of pain. The more frequently you use it, the less effective the medication is.
Does anybody else find that sitting at a desk aggrevates their back and leads to a lot of pain?
i have a sever hernated t8-t9 pressing on the nerve root a small L3-L4 herniation and bulging L-5 S1 cant sleep went from a size 8 to 1 slim in for months i have trouble sitting standing cant bend backwards at all and i have been going threw this since last nov had pt makes it worse pain injections dont work and im scared and been of work with 5 daughters i feel helpless.
Just some clarification: disc herniations/protrusions etc tend to clear up spontaneously over a generalised peiod (nothing specific) between 6-24 months and is why healthcare professionals and certainly surgeons only wish to operate, as a last resort. I.e. the problem will usually resolve whether you receive physiotherapy, perform stability exercises or stretches or, arguably, whether you chew gum on the left side of your mouth every other two days....the end outcome is the same regardless of any intervention......In the MAJORITY of cases.
There are exceptions i.e. the minority, which is when surgery is more apt. Such cases occur mainly when people start to experience problems of muscle function. Generally, surgery is only directed towards pain if the pain is that bad and persistent, hence why the preferred route for pain is medication, especially nerve-pain medications e.g. gabapentin & pregabalin. These act to take the 'edge' from the pain, to allow a little more relative rest/relaxation and might be combined with muscle relaxants e.g. diazepam/amitriptyline (generally: daytime/night-time use...from my understanding: I'm a healthcare professional with limited knowlegge of this but, pharmaceuticals are not my area of expertise). Other medications might also be used e.g. anti-inflammatories (especially if an injury has recently occurred) or other medications aimed at pain e.g. paracetamol/codeine phosphate etc. It is your doctor's responsibility to put the drug to the diagnosis. Pharmacists have a greater understanding of which drugs interact with other drugs and in which way and therefore tend to advise patients or doctors when one medication might interfere with the working of another and which, if any, alternatives might be more suitable.
An important note pertains to detrimentally labelling medications with 'good' or 'bad' connotations e.g. Amitriptyline acts as a muslce relaxant, in order that people can gain sleep. It is also used in mental health for the some of the same reasons: to help relax muscles which have become tight e.g. due to stress/fear. The importance is not labelling a drug as e.g. 'a mental health' medication, rather than 'a medication', like any other; in this instance, the objective is the same: for the person to gain greater sleep.
Physiotherapy for many of these cases is to descrease muscle disuse occurring and therefore help muscles maintain flexibility and strength and thereby help keep a joint mobile.
It can also be argued that physiotherapy acts as a stop-gap, i.e. it takes up some of the time (6-24 months) during which the problem should spontaneously resolve regardless of what happens. The use of physiotherapy from this perspective, I used to think was a poor one but, this came from my own inadequacies of knowledge at that time. I think as long as I am able to determine what is wrong (diagnose) and provide a brief genearlised knowledge of the likely prognosis (i.e. what might occur as a result of the diagnosis), then I am able to offer people informed choices regards which, if any, options are available to them.
Unfortunately, with approximately 5-10% of disc problems, at any level (within the spine), people are in a significant amount of pain for a non-specific amount of time. Guiding people to 'wait' is clearly not a great option but, if provided with knowledge of the options avaiable, the risks of these options versus others and, what to look out for (regards a large negative factor which would sway a persons' prognosis towards e.g. surgery) and how to act should that occur (i.e. attend your doctor or accident/emergency dept), then maybe I've done my job, eased a person's fears and given them some ideas on how their pain might be reduced by movement/exercise, different postures and medications.
I hope this clarifies. Should anyone wish to dispute the above, please do so but, try to do so responsibly, as other not-so knowledgable people will look at these inputs to cyberworld and may take what you have to say literally. The above, from my perspective is to be used as a rough guide. It was 'placed' here due to the clear lack of knowledge from other inputs.
Wow, this is the best thoracic forum thread I have found yet, so I feel obliged to contribute knowledge of my experiences.
I have had problems above and below T8. Tried different chiros, chinese doctor but nothing took pain away better than swimming. Chinese back doc did do a great job of grinding out dead blood/scar tissue under the skin of my back with his elbow though. That helped me get more than 5-6 hours sleep per night. How many of you have that problem, excruxiating pain at 6am or earlier - before the hot shower????????
I get that same pain radiating around the ribs and 'hot poker' like shooting pains that some our you mentioed already.
My cause was a rugby injury about 1997. After comparing 2009 MRI's pre-swimming and a year later (swimming about 5km a week on average) I came to the conclusion there is no natural cure.
The doc said the future risk for me was nerve damage. Naively I asked how I would know if I have nerve damage. Yeah...he said I would clearly know, and it was irrepairable(**** is that even a word?)
Just had a costotransversectomy(that is a word) 2 weeks ago. Involved the doc making a 60mm cut, making about a 5mm hole in one of those knobbly bones near rib end, then cutting out T7/T8 herniated disc between spinal cord and vertabrae. 2 hours surgery.
I walked out of hospital 2 days later (1 day ahead of schedule). Doc said I had initially recovered quicker because i wasn't operating in an emergency situation, rather he referred to the planned op scenario equating to faster recovery.
Scar healed and plaster fully removed after 12 days, swam 650m after 13 days, 1km today after 14 days.
Still alot of pain sitting, especially with any hint of poor posture and also becuase I am off the post surgery drugs now. Pain still subsides as usual after swimming but the location feels 'lumpy'. Touch it and it feels numb like a local anesthetic, which I guess is a result of surgery.
Based on how I feel now, only time will tell the truth, genuine success story or not?
I have decided that I will continue the swimming regime, have another MRI in 12 months and reconfirm whether to do the remaining T8/T9 disc problem also.
NOTE the doc said its too risky to do both discs in a single operation, he didn't feel comfortable about that idea. Remember that finding a doc that has experience with this type of rare surgery is a sure bonus. My doc/ ie.specialist back surgeon said he has done this surgery less than 10 times over a period of 5-10 years. Definitely ask.
Learn yourself online, thoracic cases are rare, approx. 1 in 1,000,000 diagnosed anually, 1 in 5,000,000 for multiple thoracic disc. Read the case studys and you will discover there's about an 85% sucess rate, 5% of ops will have no benefit/end worse off, 5% end in neurological problems, 5% end in mortality.
Seriously people, I hate swimming, but definitely recommend doing it. The pain relief from swimming (freestyle) is equal to taking NSAIDS. I started off swimming 6x lenghts of an 18m long pool, stopping at each end, I was useless - so have faith, you can do it too.
Hanging from monkey bars for 30 secs once a day helps too.
I have 4 herniated discs in my thoracic with the worst ones being at t7-t8 & t4-t5 as well as many micro fractures, schmorl nodes, etc. (my updated journal post on my back issues is on my profile page if you want all the details). I can relate to everyones pain/issues/concerns. My pain began there over a year & half ago & although I've stopped teaching fitness classes due to my back injuries, it is only getting worse at 7/8 4/5 areas. It radiates around to my ribcage & hurts so bad I feel like I'm having a heart attack & I cannot breathe or even stand up straight & I throw up with the pain. The 'attacks' began gradually & now they are frequent & I'm even having them in the middle of the night. It's begun affecting my bladder & I have numbness around my ribcage & foot. My sleep is affected - my whole life has been affected!
Doctors won't operate due to the location & I am at my wits end with pain. I've tried everything the professionals has suggested (inversion table, epidurals, facet joint injections, chiropractors, physical therapy etc etc). I'm a personal trainer so I try to lightly work out regularly to keep my muscles strong but I find I can hardly work at all now due to the constant pain. I'm in the same boat as most of you all & I know exactly what you all are going through. If anyone has heard of any other treatments or good thoracic back doctors (I'm in VA) please let me know!!
I'm 6 weeks post op now. All is going quite well I believe, Seen the doctor the other day who said to expect post op pain for about 3-6 months. He prescribed some Tramadol which seems really good, I'm dropping a 50mg cap once a day before bed.
Have also been outstanding in self motivating myself to stick with some swimming therapy.
Trust me people, swimming can help you alot, probably won't fix your problems but it definitely helps as a natural painkiller. Give it a go, nothing to lose and feel free to abuse me if it doesn't work.
I live in Thailand so had it done here. Really impressed with the surgeon and hospital and currently feeling really good that I have made the right decision even though its probably another few months until I will know sucess for sure.
Despite what many others have said about specialists not wanting to touch the thoracic area, he had no qualms about it. He did warn there are no 100% guarantees, so I knew the risks were entirely on me.
My sister flew over to look after me and was so impressed with the hospital she may come back for some foot surgery herself.
I'm 2 months post op now as of yesterday. Seems to be fine in general. Have had less Tramadol this last week, maybe only 3 or 4 50mg caps. Still some 'hot poker' shooting pains ocassionally.
Still difficult getting to sleep, but then sleeping really well and just showing up for work after I wake up basically. Thank goodness 8 hours sleep is not a painful experience anymore.
Have swam 1km swimming for 5 days each of the last 3 weeks. I still hate swimming, that will never change - but it seems to help.
Perhaps some of you know this or don't, and really its just my experience and opinion.....Inversion tables are great for the lumbar but have little effect on the thoracic area due to the rib cage support in thoracic (and different muscle groups).
Hanging from a bar(pull up position looking at the back of your hands) for 30 secs a day does help some. I've been doing that for over a year and have noticed a couple times recently that moving your legs with a scissor action while hanging assists the 'pop' sound we all like to hear occassionally when tendons or vertabae/discs are decompressing.
Give it a go, again nothing to lose but don't try over do the period of hanging or you will feel it in the shoulders at a later date.
As a personal trainer, I'm sure you are aware of some other exercises for the thoracic area. Maybe others don't and need some suggestions??? Pills and doctors can help but can't fix everything. We need to get people off their butts to help themselves.
I do believe it is important to understand the 'connections', that with the thoracic between lumbar and shoulders then you need to exercise those areas also to be able to assist the thoracic area problems to the maximum.
I have had L5 problems before as many have, so I stretch my hamstrings every morning. Easiest exercise in the world, one leg at a time on top of the table, touching my toes. 2 reps 20 seconds each side.
Besides swimming, there is another good upper body/shoulder exercise worth trying. Visualise you are a 16 year old Chinese gymnast or Hungarian - up to you. At the end of whatever routine you just did, you turn to the judges and stretch both arms straight up, palms of hands to the sky, chin up looking at the ceiling and poking your chest out confidently - all in the same motion. Don't expect a crowd to applaud like on TV, and theres no gold medal - but give it a go.
I used to do 500 of those in morning, 500 at night, takes ages and it's boring to be honest. Start with 50 and work your way up to 500. Do it everyday and after about 6-8 weeks you will start to hear/feel tendons or bits 'popping'.
This exercise gets flexibility back, makes parts supple again, gets those shoulders moving back into the correct postural position, probably helps the blood flow up/down better too. Won't fix all your problems but it helps and will give you some minor control of your thoracic area, enables you to pop things back in place yourself when you can feel vertabrae are not quite sitting right, especially after sitting for long periods of time.
So glad I found this thread. By far the most informative, and most people I've found with a similar problem to mine.
I fell about 8 feet onto concrete, landed right on my back. After over a year of going to the doctor and getting massage therapy, I finally got an MRI done and they found a protruding disc T8 - T8. At the time I was around 260, and very active, playing tennis, coaching, tae kwon do. Since then my health has gradually declined. Its been a little over 3 years. My blood pressure cant be kept in check. The pain wraps around my chest and makes me feel like I'm having a heart attack on a daily basis. My weight ballooned to 320. Cant sit at a desk very long. Can't stand over something very long. I've tried shots, several different types of PT, massages and nothing has helped. I have found most to make me feel worse, especially when I wake and cant move anything. Takes me anywhere from 5 min to 30 min to get out of bed. After massages, shots and PT is when it took the longest. Plus going sleepless some nights because of the chest pains.
Doctors won't do surgery on that part of the back unless you have spinal compression and it's causing immobility. And like you've heard in some posts already, it's a very intrusive surgery. The collapsing of a lung, removable of 3 ribs (in most cases I've read), and they fuse it from the side. Every expert I talked to so far has told me the same thing. Get used to the pain. Find things to do that makes you feel most comfortable. Unfortunately, those things don't pay the bills. Been out of work 3 years, and am still going at it with SS. I'm on 300mg Tramadol a day, muscle relaxers, and a pharmacy full of high blood pressure meds. Mind you, I never had high blood pressure before the fall.
I wish there was a magic cure for this. But my outlook hasn't been so good. I will be following this thread to see how recovery is going for some. And will give any updates I have for myself. Don't be afraid to ask me any questions either. Been battling this a while now. And been trying to do as much research on it as I can. Good luck all and hang in there.
I have disc bulges at t8-9 T9-10 and t11-12. Herniations at T10-11 and L5-S1. I have been dealing with these for about 3 years now. I am looking into spinal decompression therapy. My big question is whether it works for throasic disk problems. I encourage each of you to look into it. I have heard for some people it is a miracle. I will be getting back with you when I find out more info. They compare this therapy to traction just to give you an idea.Good luck.
Had to laugh at the way you mentioned 'shots' a couple of times. Tequila is probably as effective as some other meds, its just the side effects that are a bit harsh, especially if used to wash down the meds.
We all wish for a magic cure, but it appears there isn't one.
I do find your(and others) comments about surgery interesting. Although my doctor ultimately left the decision's up to me, he did confidently suggest a costotransversectomy. His concern was that not operating leaves the window open to permanent nerve damage, particularily at T7/T8 disc compressing on the spinal cord per section horizontal views. T8/T9 looked just as bad on the main spine vertical sections but he said it was 50/50 on the horizontal sections.
We didn't discuss surgical procedure for fusion, so I'm not sure about the collapsing of a lung, removable of 3 ribs etc, but he did comment that the fusion approach in thoracic should really be a last resort.
Spinal decompression therapy for thoracic sounds great if it's the real deal and you have more info.
I'm skeptical TBH, sounds too good to be true so I'm wondering if it's just someone with a typical L5 complaint getting their wires crossed about lumbar traction therapy & knowing nothing about thoracic.
I was seeing an 8th generation Mongolian back doctor for about 18 months. His own objective as he described to me was to soften up the tendons which he believed were compressing the mid back. Maybe that is called decompression therapy? Involved a solution of chinese herbs & alcohol, soaked up in 4 or 5 sponge type pads, microwaved warm, put on my mid back, hooked up the the electrode things to buzz away for 20 mins.
I liked the guy, appreciate what he did, including fixing my right shoulder AC joint at the same time, but 3x $100 sessions a week for the 1st x 6 months, 2x session a week for the next 6 months and 1x session for the last 6 months ate a hole in my pocket - not that different in overall cost for 2 hours surgery.
So this is the reality of what most of us have to face up to at some stage. Hard earned wasted unsucessful treatment money VERSUS risking that same hard earned money earlier in the process for just as potentially useless and unsucessful surgery.
Myself, spending money on both has been costly bordering on stupity, with still no fantastic final result. I'm sure others are in the same prediciment asking themselves "what the f**k do I do?"
For most thoracic problems, people need to be aware that the expression "surgery should be a last resort" - may in fact be bad advice, and more costly in the long run.
I collapsed, for the first time, it happened 9 months ago, over a period of 2 weeks 3 times, I have back problems for 13 years, It felt like i got shot, i fell to my knees and and could not get up for minutes, i was so scared as i thought i broke my back, should i be worried??
Sounds like you should be worried.
Sorry, but I've never collapsed because of my back.
Can I suggest you share more details? Area of pain? Any treatment?
Apart from the obvious or your own instincts, an MRI is really the only way to know if you have thoracic problems, which probably accounts for estimates that thoracic disc problems are diagnosed 1 in 1,000,000 people annually.
The real figures are probably more like 2-5 in 1,000,000 people annually, but only 1 in 1,000,000 people take it a step further and convince a doctor to get an MRI.
i had an mri done in 2004, normal wear and tear, however t7 & t8, i take mobic 15mg every day for 7 years, train when not in pain, go to a chinese doctor who i owe my mobility to, when people **** me off or im stressed my pain hits with a vengence. So in a nutshell i need to keep my weight down, be happy, ignor toxic people i cant change and keep fit.
My pain shoots down my leg. in my right side near my kidney, when i rub the area with soap in a hot shower, it seems as though blood flows under my skin, and a massive bruise remains for days, then i feel better.
Thats some weird kind of symptoms in the last paragraph and out of my league of personal experiences to be of any help. Pain shooting down legs almost sounds more like a lumbar problem but I'm sure you'd feel that anyway.
It's 7 years since your last MRI, maybe your problems at T7, T8 have degenerated further, could be worth the expense of checking again?
Blood flow is a really interesting point though, which I will expand on Maybe we can get some more feedback - hopefully and specifically from others with thoracic cases?
I did previously have sleeping issues for a few years, waking with excruxiating radial pain after 4-6 hours sleep. Problem is all but gone at present.
After the 1st ever therapy session with my Mongolian back doctor, he said I have a hardest tendons adjacent the spine he had ever felt and concluded after 6 weeks I had a lot of dead blood cells & scar tissue under my skin. It took him about 3 months/3 times a week to grind all the lumps out with his elbow. It sounded terrible & felt like gravel at first. I would grit my teeth and take the pain for that 10 min period each session.
He said the dead cell tissue blocks the 'streams' of blood flowing up & down the spine/back.
The reason why the pain symptoms disappear after a hot shower in mornings were obvious to him. The hot water helps loosen it all up and flow again. I have also found sleeping in the 'V' between 2x hot water bottles quite pleasant.
He told me not to drink anything cold or eat ice cream, which I think is a bit ridiculous - because that rules out beer unless you are English. When I took up swimming he said to have a hot shower afterwards.
It was a tough time in my life though, and I tried everything, heat packs, soft beds, hard beds, those girly spa steam pad things that look like giant mushrooms and of course red wine to thin the blood hahaha.
I have no doubt the Mongolian back doctor improved it heaps but my feeling is that it has further improved with the swimming to the point where I can get a good 7-8 hours sleep. My feeling at present 2+ months 'post op' is that I can now sleep 8-10 hours like a teenager again!!!! with only minimal pain.
I can understand the blood flow thing too. And pain is often associated with blood flow. It deals with impulses to your brain. The pain shoots an impulse to your brain to flow more blood through the area to heal that painful area. It's your body's self-healing mechanism. One of the reasons I used massage therapy for so long. With slight pressure in the right spots, a good massage therapist can increase the blood flow to areas that need it, hence cleaning out that area of dead cells, and adding white cells to help with the healing process. Another reason they ask you to drink a lot of fluids after treatments, it helps in the blood flow and rinse out toxins.
When you said tequila, it reminded me of how I reacted when I first injured my back. Drinking therapy is not recommended however. lol
I think the Thoracic surgery is being evaluated all the time and they're always looking at ways of doing it with a less invasive method. The fusion surgery is designed to decompress your spine and hold it in place. The laser surgery, which is slightly less invasive, just shaves off the protruding disc. Laser surgery should provide more instant comfort, as it's less invasive, but doesn't supply decompression of your spine. That's my understanding of the surgeries, I am not a surgeon.
I almost collapsed just last Saturday. Was coaching in a basketball tournament, in between games in the cafeteria, when a sudden jolt of pain went right through my back. I staggered for a second, and was able to keep my balance. Luckily there was a chair close by and I was able to find it and sit down quickly. In the past I've had side pains so intense it's made me curl up in a ball in public places. Once even during a basketball tournament 2 years ago. Was embarrassing to curl up in a ball on the end of the bench while my assistant coach took my spot.
Because of where the Thoracic spine is located, a protrusion the wrong way can radiate pain to places such as the chest and side. Any time you're dealing with pain in those areas, it's easy to see how it can cause a collapse.
My 3 month post op update from the costotransversectomy at T7/T8 level....
Went to the doc for a check up last week. I enjoy the Q&A, it feels benificial for both parties. The doc never comes across as a 'know all', infact he seems to enjoy picking my brains about this problem. I have learn a bit from him too.
A question he asked of me this visit was 'what percentage of improvement do I feel as compared to pre-op?'
I thought about it briefly and gave an honest self appraisal of 25% improvement, thinking he might feel disappointed in my answer. His response was the complete opposite - he said 'WOW, that much - thats really quite impressive for 3 months post op'.
Haven't had any tramadol for 2-3 weeks, getting to sleep earlier/easier now too, he said that is a good sign.
This doesn't mean that I am completely without some discomfort. I had a break from swimming for 4 days, had a round of golf and noticed the difference. Golf was fine, no effects other than the other L5 problem I have. That's another story, a bit too common and more managable than T7/T8.
The 25% improvement is perhaps best described as being a reduction in 'round the clock' pain of say 2-3 out of 10, reduced to 1 out of 10. Just as obvious... is the longer 'sleep in' time without pain that I am experiencing now.
I told him I have noticed a change from 'hot poker' pains to more 'needle' like shooting pains. Similar but the feeling of less heat and more a quick jab sensation.
He did explain that I will experience itching/pins & needles around the 3-4 month post op stage as muscles begin to bind back together properly. At present it feels more like a slight 'tingling' sensation rather than itching/pins & needles. The operated area is still numb by the way.
OK, I'm half through the recovery period now. It isn't perfect but I am not complaining and I swear I will keep swimming, hanging from my bar, stretching my hamstrings etc. and happily accept any further improvement over the next 3 months as a bonus.
Another point of interest for some perhaps, the doc said T1-T6 is the most difficult area to operate on the spine, as well as having more muscle groups which equates to more recovery time needed.
I have disc herniations S1-L5, L5-L4, T10-T11 and T11-T12. When i first injured myself whilst working it felt like i'd been shot. Nowadays when it decides to cripple me it diesnt just feel like ive been shot, i cant walk and feel instantly dizzy, faint and sick. Im currently going through my motions with a surgeon but its complex as i also have scoliosis, kyphosis and theyve now found a mass between my pelvis and spine which i had scans on yesterday...hope everybody finds relief one day soon!
Wow, sounds like you're going through a lot. I pray you find some relief soon. Is there something they can give you for the pain, to help ease the sick feeling? I take about 300 mg of tramadol a day, helps me do a few every day things. I take them along with ibuprofren or tylenol depending on where the pain is radiating from. Oftentimes your back pain can make other parts of you radiate pain. Good luck!! Keep us informed.
You mention that life is more comfortable than previously if you skip those exercises. I was curious about that because I noticed whenever I was given a physical therapy program, I would end up in more pain and feel worse than before. I haven't made it to the new pain clinic yet as I can't afford it. But I'm assuming any pt they give me will be something similar to what I've already tried and that's building up the inner muscle core of the back. When I do that, the muscles seam to constrict the nerve endings closer to the protrusion and radiate more pain.
Glad you feel better than last month, I hope that continues. Gives us all a little hope. Thanks.
I see how my comment "that life is more comfortable than previously if you skip those exercises" could be easily misinterpreted.
What I mean, is that if I skip swimming for a few days now, its no big deal, not so much pain. Previously I'd swim 5-6 days a week because I would be in agony 36 hours after the previous swim.
I swam 1km Monday & 1km Tuesday, today is Wednesday and I feel great. If I don't swim again till Monday, I'll be fine now - not struggling like before.
For my pre-op mid back problems, 30mins swimming was the equivalent pain relief of Tramadol or Ibuprofren, just a hell of a lot heathier.
Pills & even surgery may help, but can't ignore the fact that most of us need to kick our own arses occassionally, self motivate ourselves to both create, then uphold life style changes for the better. Diet, exercise, whatever it takes to really address the serious nature of our back problems by natural means as well as minimising the intake of pills.
I guess for anyone considering the future surgical option, then my advice is to set some kind of plan perhaps following my own step by step experiences as follows:
1.) give yourself 12 months to get yourself into the best possible shape, it will make things easier post surgery(if you go eventually ahead), you'll feel better for it and know within yourself that you gave all non-surgical options your absolute best shot.
2.) aim to cut out the pills as much as possible so that you can actually feel the pain and experiment with natural ways to deal with the pain. Its highly recommended to take up swimming. I hate it, started off swimming 100m with 5 stops on the way. Just perservere.
3.) don't give up, drive yourself, continually set goals for that 12 month period including booking surgery 3-4 months ahead
4.) read surgical case studies for your problem and learn more about it in general
5.) get a new MRI 2 weeks before the booked surgery date
6.) sit down with doctor and family and make a decision. Confirm the surgery YES or postpone or even cancel. Surgery was a great option for me. Of the 2x disc problems, doctor said the T7/T8 level was a 'must take' option to avoid the risk of further nerve damage. Doctor said the T8/T9 level was 50/50 so we agreed to leave alone for now.
7.) If you take the surgical option, set more goals for the next 6 month rehab period. I was in the pool after 13 days once the scar was healed, swam 650m then 1km on the 14th day.
8.) not sure what's next because I'm still only 4 months into my 6 month rehab. I'm guessing though that step 8 is to continue to manage my diet, self motivate myself to exercise, stretch etc. and finally stcik my my previous goal of returning to hospital in November 11 for a new MRI to review both the operated T7/T8 problem + reconsider December 11 surgery for the remaining T8/T9 problem.
I really hope this helps someone, because there are so few guidelines on how to deal the issues we face, and many would agree that although the doctors may have the intellectual knowledge of our probelms, most have never had the real life experience, ie. felt the pain themselves.
This is an amazing forum on thoracic back pain. This is my first visit. I've had a moderate herniated disc at L4-5 SI with moderate central canal stenosis (it gets much worse...) which I've been dealing with for 5 years. I've tried pain meds, weight loss(I'm only mildly overweight), have been attending a pain clinic for epidural injections weekly and Botox injections quarterly (for 3 years)- and physio. This was managing my pain for a few years but my symptoms keep worsening. I was in scope to have corrective surgery this year in this area as it just was getting worse over time and I am only 34 years old.
More recently, right before my scheduled surgeon date I was rear ended at a red light by someone traveling at a high rate of speed. Now, on top of the above noted issues- I have large extradural masses at T2-3 and T6-7 indenting my cord anteriorly along with numerous small herniated discs in my C spine. I was lucky to have had a fresh MRI just 3 weeks before my car accident as a comparison!
Now, the surgeon will not operate on my low back as my damage to my mid back to too "acute" and I'm playing a waiting game with the T-spine... It's been almost 3 months since the accident and everything is getting much much worse as far as T-spine goes. Waiting is scary with SO much paralysis...I have to wonder if one day I'm going to just not be able to get up. I have a 3, 4 and 13 yr old...I can't have that happen.
My questions are numerous but I'll keep it as brief as I can:
1. Have any of you experienced Cauda equina? I have brief bouts of saddle anesthesia but only for up to 5 minutes max. then it goes. I don't know when I'm supposed to take it serious enough to go to the hospital.
2. They have to remove ribs for the T-spine surgery. How much residual numbness does is cause? and how many ribs do they remove? My surgeon just said "some". He spent 3 hours with me and I still didn't get to ask ALL the questions I wanted to ask.
Your posts did help me as well as some others. I do feel utterly lost as there is not much out there on the subject. I'm glad you're feeling better. Swimming is a great idea! I must admit I'm shocked that your doctor left a 50/50 T8-9 alone while he was already in there seeing as the surgery is so risky to re preform. I pray it fixes itself for you! I'm hoping mine does too, but everyday my symptoms, paralysis and pain get much worse so I don't think it's happening. I've had 5 MRI's since Jan 24th 2011! I have two more booked so I can't complain about the doctors neglecting me that's for sure!
I am going to try the swimming as I have gained some weight since the car accident. With the new pain I have not been doing much plus pain meds mean I'm laying around much of the day. It's a great idea. Thanks for that :)
All that at 34 is pretty tough, its not going to get easier as your body will likely change alot over the next 6 years. Many people seem to get lower back problems between 32-40 years.
I'm happy to hear you will give swimming a go. It shows a real committment to your helping yourself and your problem, so well done. Nike - just do it!!!! I can't for some feedback about how you feel post-swim each time.
I have swam 1km x 5 days this last week.
I will be 5 months post surgery next week. Operated area is still a little numb. All seems good enough, but some concerns the last few weeks with an entirely new sensation of pain annoying me. It was only on the R/H side and only hurt when twisting towards the left. Wasn't sure about it, thought maybe I had pulled a tendon or muscle rather than being disc related.
A further example of swimming was that this new pain would ease after about 600-700m into my swim, with less pain for a few hours after. Seems to be improving now overall, pain scale has gradually eased off the last few days so its probably just an over stretched tendon from my hanging exercise.
Regarding your comments, its was my final choice to leave the 50/50 disc. Surgeon said he would do it at the same time if I really wanted, but 2x discs in a diffcult area in a single operation adds alot more risk of infection etc.
He didn't take any ribs out, maybe just chipped a bit of one of them off and made about a 5mm diam,hole to the knobbly bone at end of rib
I keep thinking back to the swimmer of the Ukranian special olympics team I seen training in Christchurch in January. He was in a wheelchair and his back had maybe 6-8 no. x 2-3 inch scars all the way up his back. Somebody is always worse off than yourself.
My approx. 6 month post op update from the costotransversectomy at T7/T8 level....
Little further improvement month to month now.
The operated area is still a little numb. There’s still a general feeling at times that’s almost indescribable, a hole back there? or something missing perhaps?
Have been playing golf twice a month because I can but this is also the reason for a new concern. In my 4 month update I described a new pain sensation annoying me. It was only on the R/H side and only hurt when twisting towards the left. Previously wasn't sure about it, thought maybe I had pulled a tendon or muscle rather than being disc related. Thinking now it probably is disc related. Usually takes a week of swimming to go away so I will have to reassess my approach to golf. I love playing so an option I am seriously considering is buying some left hand clubs, swinging the other direction. My crazy theory is that working the muscles in an opposite way may be beneficial/balancing + I won’t be swinging as hard, and it will be a new challenge. Pity my playing partners though, at least they’ll get a good laugh. Could still chip and putt right handed.
I also notice a spontaneous pinch or stab sensation with the pressure of squeezing out a big poo (don’t laugh, its true)
As mentioned before, I especially notice that the subtle motions/body positions of cooking or doing dishes comes with discomfort after about 30-60 mins. Arms extended in front of standard body position, obviously puts a lot of stress on things. You could not be a chef with thoracic problems.
For similar reasons, I’m very cautious about carrying any extra load at all. Computer bags are out. Don’t carry your groceries too far – use a trolley. Common sense is needed for managing this problem(even though I completely fail regarding golf). People with thoracic problems should also consider losing excess body weight, I have dropped from around 76-78kg down to about 70-72kg - which must help.
When something feels not quite in place, I have some quick fixes. Arching backwards with arms fully stretched above head (either standing or lying over a big training ball) definitely helps. All seems to pop back into place easy enough. A quick lie down after helps even more.
Still swimming and hanging instead of taking pills as therapy.
So with my 6 month post op rehab period over on 3rd June, my conclusion is that it everything is not perfect but life is more comfortable than previously, the 2x big differences being the easing of round the clock pain & no early morning 5-6 hour sleep pain now.
I will return to hospital, perhaps November 11 for a new MRI to review both the operated T7/T8 problem + reconsider possible December 11 surgery for the remaining T8/T9 problem.
I was in a severe car accident two years ago. It took me 20 months to get an MRI; a chiropractor ordered it for me. The chiropractor I go to specializes in trauma; I also see a Acupuncturist and swim.
Some great supplements I take include: Ashwagandha Root and Magnesium for the muscle spasms. There are also homeopathic remedies for spasms as well; they work well for me. Just remember you can't take homeopathic remedies within an hour of having anything mint; peppermint or spearmint. And coffee stops the effect as well; some people drink this if they have a reaction to the remedy; which is very rare.
My symptoms include: liver to right toe numbness, muscle spasms and stabbing pain in my T-9 area, which turned out to be a bulging disk. I can't walk 2 blocks, swim freestyle or anything involving twisting my torso or pulling my arms towards my back without my right leg muscle control disappearing.
However I have Multiple Sclerosis and I guess folks with this can't get injured in auto accidents; so all of my symptoms were thrown into this diagnosis. Glad I found the chiropractor.
I hope this information helps you all. indigomagic69
Both myself and my doctor are extremely happy with results. He has effectively fixed my T7/8 problem. No disc compressiing on the spinal cord now - previously creating the bean shaped section view.
It appears the remaining T8/9 disc is still a problem, even looks to have worsened a little from being a 50/50 operation chance in November 2010 to 75/25 chance now. Disc seems to be bulging/compressing more onto the spinal cord (northwest part of spinal cord on photo as such). I will review again in November for Phase 2 operation.
He suggested the recent golf pain experience was probably partly muscular also so I need to do more specific golf related mid back stretches. Also noticed that the recovery period is quicker after golf if swimming within an hour or two after golf.
Nonetheless golf has been off the menu for the last month and quite a bit longer at present.
had been having right flank pain, and severe abdominal pain for about 8 month. After many CT scans and MRIs, two disc hernias were discovered, T8-T9 and T9-T10, with this last one being the worst of the two. Usually I wake up pain free, and the pain progresses through the day untill its basically unbearable at around 6:00pm. Severe abdominal pain (whole abdomen from belly button up to the start of the sternum) and right rib pain is only releived by narcotics, which I am hesistant to use. I am scheduled for an Epidural steroid injection next week.
Has any one has experienced this type of pain from a heriated thoracic disc??
What your Chinese doctor called "a lot of dead cells & scar tissue under my skin" and what to you "felt like gravel" most people call gristle. The medical community calls it crepitus.
When you wrote that you felt "a spontaneous pinch or stab sensation" when you strained to have a bowel movement that is indicative of an active trigger point in the erector spinae muscles.
Pain "that only hurt when twisting towards the left" is indicative of an activated trigger point in the deep paraspinal muscles (rotators).
"Early morning 5-6 hour sleep pain" is also indicative of active trigger points in these thoracolumbar paraspinal muscles.
The thoracolumbar paraspinal muscles consist of a superficial layer that runs the length of your back (erector spinae) and a deeper layer that are responsible for rotating your back (paraspinal). These are the muscles responsible for lumbago - the pain people feel in the
wee hours of the morning.
As I was perusing medhelp this morning I came upon a blog where a women wrote that her husband was having back problems, that is until recently. They were preparing for a trip and he took his wallet out of his back pocket and put his cash in a money clip. They discovered that something as simple as sitting on a wallet can activate these trigger points.
Thanks for your comments PPNH. I don’t entirely agree with all but it’s all appreciated and really important to keep this thread alive for the few of us that have thoracic problems.
I'm no doctor, and my writings may have bored some people(especially rambling on about the benefits of swimming). My progressive ‘diary’ of comments is simply a patient’s view of how events have unfolded in my life on the quest to fix my problem. It’s for the benefit of anyone who wants to listen. I felt really compelled to document the post-surgery for the hope & confidence of others.
Did you have time to take a look at my before & after (pre-op / post op) photos???? per link
Note the un-operated T8/T9 disc pressing into the spinal cord has caused a bottle neck reducing the spinal cord width to 80% capacity of the typical width of approx. 1cm. Surely this can’t be ideal, when talking about flow of vital ingredients.
My understanding of the latest MRI and body feeling is that the remaining un-operated T8/T9 disc(on photos) is predominantly herniated to 'my' right hand side (rather than centrally as such). If twisting right compresses the paraspinal muscles (rotators) whereas twisting left stretches those same muscles, could I be correct in thinking there is a combined pain from R/H disc problem increased by L/H twisting ??? It certainly appears that way.
Correct me if I'm wrong…isn’t Lumbago a lower back discomfort? My ‘wee hours of the morning pain’ was solely in the thoracic area, long since gone now, but only began improving about a month after my Chinese doctor started grinding the lumpy gravel (or gristle) bits out. This was all done before I took up swimming.
I am generally aware & cautious of posture & how simple things like sitting on a wallet can activate trigger points – it’s a good reminder for the readers though.
What I did was pick a couple of sentences from your writing and tried to clarify a few specific points such as crepitus which you described as "a lot of dead cells & scar tissue under my skin".
I also tried to explain the "spontaneous pinch or stab sensation" when you moved your bowels and your new pain when you twisted to the left. I also brought up the pain you had once experienced after sleeping for 5-6 hours. There was another point you made about the pain going away while you were in the shower.
These are all classic symptoms of lumbago which is described as pain in the mid and lower back. The reason people who suffer from lumbago are relieved of their pain when they stand on their feet (in the shower) is because you don't use the thoracolumbar muscles when standing erect. You will find that bending forward is also helpful.
The reason I mentioned these points in particular is that although you did have a herniated disc not every pain you experience in your body now is necessarily due to the disc that remains bulging.
In the November 2009 Readers Digest published an article titled "Is Your Doctor Out of Date? 6 Critical Signs. This is not the only article published on MRI's, whose rates have skyrocketed and the dangers of looking inside the body.
"In fact, a large body of research, detailed in guidelines by the American Pain Society and the American College of Physicians, cautions against routinely using imaging to figure out the cause of back troubles."
"When you look inside, you see arthritis, degenerative disks, and such. But it turns out many people from midlife on have these things and research shows that when you fix them, the pain usually doesn't go away.
The article goes on and quotes Dr. Deyo. "Back pain can drive you crazy, but it typically improves with steps like taking acetaminophen, using a heating pad, and, if the problem is chronic, starting an exercise program to strengthen muscles. In general, an MRI isn't necessary unless you have symptoms like severe weakness in your foot or leg, a high fever, problems urinating, or history of cancer. Dr. Chou advises. Be especially cautious about more aggressive fixes like surgery."
Active trigger points are one of the most common causes of enigmatic back pain.
Looking inside and seeing signs of arthritis, degenerative disks, and such (for most midlife cases) occuring from the natural process of aging is a reality check for many.
It's good people have access to MRIs to see problems for themselves, I would say more pros than cons infact.
The reason alot of people join in on these forums is perhaps due to a lack of confidence or belief in how their case is being handled by health professionals. It's not always easy for health professionals to be across all the many pains and discomforts - especially if they have never actually experienced those personally themselves.
Some here are looking for sympathy, but most are genuinely looking for advice & solutions by comparison with similar cases.
Unfortunately drugs, heating pads, exercise programs can only take you so far sometimes. I do agree you need in caution about surgery but for me it was a last resort. Another reality is that 2 hours of risky surgery cost less money than 2 years wasted on overly priced back doctors & countless hours off work in regular therapy sessions.
In response to your comment "Another reality is that 2 hours of risky surgery cost less money than 2 years wasted on overly priced back doctors & countless hours off work in regular therapy sessions."
I'm sorry you wasted money seeking treatment for your problem but at least now you know this isn't something someone else can fix, unless of course they are surgeons.
People who opt out of surgery heal themselves all the time. It takes patience, knowledge and dedication. Experienced chiropractors and masseuses can go a long way in helping one recover. Ask Ana_Maria61, Jul 26, 2011 03:59AM
Yes, I have seen your photos. I am glad that your surgeon did a great job and that you are happy with the results - that is good news.
I have seen similar photos that belong to a client of mine who had a bone spur. You would think this guy would be howling in pain but that was not the case. But due to the nature of my client who is meticulous, not to mention wealthy, he opted for surgery. He not only had the bone spur removed the surgeon replaced a disc between his fifth and sixth cervical vertebrae due to deterioration.
My client, who approaches life in an overly cautious manner is in his late 60's and lives a sedentary lifestyle. This is what he wrote when I asked him to rate his pain before surgery on a scale from 1-10.
"Sometimes 3 sometimes 8, depending on how busy I was (distraction), stress (higher) and just I suppose how my body was reacting. My impetus was more driven by the bone spur that intruded into the spinal canal, creating a situation that could have been disastrous in the event of a major trauma, such as a car wreck. In addition, the prognosis was for further deterioration given that the cushion between the discs 5 & 6 were nearly gone. Highly recommend disc replacement as opposed to fusion depending on age, sex and other factors."
It's interesting to note that the surgeon approached the surgery from the front of the neck, not the back. I read a post here somewhere that someone was concerned that that doctors cut into muscle. This is a common misconception. Doctors do not cut into muscle tissue.
Its a definite advantage in Cervical & Lumbar cases to have the option for disc replacement and performed from the body front. The latest solution I seen on video presentation is very impressive with like a routered dovetail groove in vertabrae above & below + special full movement fitting inbetween etc. Got to be better than fusion or anything else on the market at present.
As far as I know, thoracic is mainly only operated from the back of body, with doctors definitely cutting into muscle tissue.
My Doc said T1-T6 is the most diificult case on all of the back, not only due to the operation difficulties but also for the muscle recovery & binding together again of that particualr area later.
In my case at T7/T8 it took about 5-6 months before the post op numbness went away
gosh I see its been a long time that you posted your message. I hope you receive mine... I have a herniated disc at t7-t8 and I went swimming this summer and it was horrible.. I felt great when I did it and then I went to bed and that night and next day was horrible. The Pain was excruciating. I also have a Syrinx and the c7 to t1 . So maybe that had something to do with the pain... It makes me wonder where the pain came from
Refuse to be beaten by the problem, give it another go I'd say.
If you can accept the self motivation required to swim, then you are on a good path and will reap the benefits in the long run.
I'd suggest after every swim, check the time period before the usual excruciating pain returns(which is obviously more noticeable if drug free). Swim twice a day initially if going drug free and finding it too difficult OR aim to gradually phase drugs out - if its a realsitic goal.
When I first started swimming, I found the pain free period after was only an hour, but that gradually increases the more you swim. 4-8 hours relief is a huge achievment, 24 hrs will have you walking around with a big smile on your face with a new spring in your step.
I have nothing but pain relief swimming freestyle. Even yesterday I had meetings outside of my office, standing alot, carrying a shoulder bag, decent pain (3 or 4 out of 10) upon returning to the office at 3pm. Went for a swim about 4.30 - all fixed, no drugs.
I'd be the first to admit its not easy to enjoy swimming but when you are feeling that pain and relief is 15-30 minutes away, its a no brainer - even when the water is a little cold. I find the self motivation easier now since choosing a swim time between 3.30-5pm. Most days I go back to the office after, some days straight home. I've done the hard work already so weekend swims are optional for me now.
I guess my original goal was to improve my situation and manage pain without relying solely on drugs. There's cleary other benefits, in my 2 years swimming, my weight has dropped from 76-78kg down to 64-65kg now. Thats at least 15% body weight lost (solely in fat I guess). Its a huge lifestyle change and I remember my first swim was in an 18 metre long pool x 6 lengths with a stop at each end for a breather. Last week I swam 1.5km x 5 days = 7.5 km.
Thank You for emailing me ... Sounds like you are doing great..I read all your postings and it gives me a little relief. It makes sense that they went through your back... Why do they want to go through the chest here...You never know I might just have to make a trip..
Hey guys, I started reading this forum a couple of days ago when I was trying to find the answers to my problem. Seven weeks ago I was in a car accident, work related. I am a sergeant in a police department and while responding to an emergency call I was struck by another vehicle. I felt immediate pain in the back, went to get checked out to the local hospital, but made not much of it. The pain persisted and after the mri done four weeks ago I was diagnosed with the following: t2t3 disc bulge, t4t5, t5t6, t6t7, t7t8 and t8t9 mild disc bulges, also L4L5disc bulge and a muscle spasm in the lumber. I am attending physical therapy that is not helping me much. I feel a great amount of pain every day and I am not making any progress. What are my chances to make a full recovery, do I even have any? Do I stand a chance to go back to work full duty to do what I have done successfully in the past? I am a 37 years old female in excellent physical shape. Thanks in advance for any input from you guys.
Sorry for your luck Maya, I would like to say things are going to get better but I have not heard of anybody really better. I broke T11 T8 T7 in 2009. T8 was the main problem, it was pretty much crushed. The doctors wanted to give it time to heal on it's own and hoping that the pain would become a little more bearable. It did not help in waiting, so about a year after the injury the doctors decided to fusion that was t6 thru t9. I still am in constant pain, thank god I can still walk, but as far as pain goes I do not know if it helped much. I was a truck driver when it happened and have not been able to work since.
The wrap around pain feels like pins being shoved into me around and under my chest and done my arms and done my legs when my pain really flairs up, it also feels like somebody is putting their fist into my back right between my shoulder blades.
Some have asked weather the surgery helped, I can not really answer that for the pain level I would say is not a whole lot better. And things that I use to enjoy doing I can no longer do.
So I guess what I am saying is to tho's that are wondering about surgery is to study the different results that people have and understand that none of us are the same, and results will be different. I hope they are better for others then it seems to have been for me.
Good luck to all of you, and I do hope your backs become pain free.
I'm back home now and in recovery mode. By all accounts, surgery went well.
A bit quicker this time apparently, half hour prep and one hour surgery for a Thoracic Disectomy T8/9 (Posterolateral Approach) - trimming disc more to the right hand side where it was pressing on to the spinal cord.
I'm almost 5 days post op, moving around fine for periods of 30 mins, slept all day yesterday, still feeling drugged up and will forget all conversations.
Bladder feels very weak at present, wet the bed yesterday and almost again today. Best to sit on the toilet to pee, or its all dribble & spray.
Hello all, Great forum.
Here is my situation.
Putting up Christmas decorations, nothing big by any means, taking down lights and inflatable Santa. Walked into the house and told my wife that when we got the living room cleaned up I was going to lay in the floor because my mid back needed to be popped. I walked out the back door and picked up a something to wrap lights around and walked back in the house. Suddenly I felt a severe pain in my mid back. I tried to get to the bedroom (about 20 feet away) to get to the bed but collapsed in the floor. It felt as if I had been shot in the spine. The pain started in the center and radiated out to my sides along my ribs. My wife came in to find me on my knees with my head against the bed. The pain was so bad I could not move my arms. I tried to convince myself it was some sort of spasm and would pass. After about 10 minutes I could not hardly move my legs due to pain. I consider myself to have a pretty high pain tolerance, But this had me crying like a broken hearted school girl. Took 30 minutes to get me into the vehicle and to the hospital (should have called an ambulance but did not want to admit it was that bad) Had a great ER doctor who doped the crap out of me so I could get an xray. When they came in to take me for the xray I still could not move so they ran an I.V. line for more drugs. Got an MRI today and here are the results.
Moderate left posterolateral disc herniation T8/T9 and mild right posterolateral herniated T9/T10. T8/T9 herniation touching cord.
Had I.V. steroids yesterday and started a steroid pack today along with pain medications. Go to family doctor tomorrow for a neuro referral.
I can walk today with medications put can not lift arms over chest level or bend to pick things up.
You have to be careful of those inflatable Santas haha.
A good read my friend, but sounds like you need to rest up initially.
T8/T9 herniation touching spinal cord is not ideal. Was there a measurement of the spinal cord 'distance or width' as seen on MRI for various levels????
An example showing my similar problematic T8/T9 was obvious as below
ER Doctor gave me Percocet 7.5 and family Doctor gave me Lortab 7.5.
Percocet works pretty good for about 4 hours, Lortab does not seem to do anything other than if I do fall asleep I have nightmares. Lortab might take the edge off for 1-2 hours but nothing like the Percocet.
What if any prescriptions helped you guys and gals?
I do not like taking the lortab but I only got a 3 day supply of Percocet. I'm trying to switch them up and take the lortab during the day and Percocet at night, but that just means while I'm awake I hurt more.
I have been fascinated to see how you are going. I am a 45 year old male GP living in NZ. 2 years ago I tore a T8/9 twisting holding a child. For 14 months I was cursed with 3-6/10 pain from the nipple line down to the upper abdomen. Aches, sharp, burning and pinching pains. Worsened initally by putting my chin down and any movement, especially forward flexion. The pain got worse with prolonged sitting and hated any lifting. Nothing helped - physio, osteopathy, Paracetamol, anti-inflammatories.
After 14 months the pain melted away by itself. I do think being obsessive about posture - clavicles together and down, regular short walks, avoiding prolonged sitting, and taking 37.5mg of Nortripyline at night had helped.
I had 8 months of painfree living/surfing/swimming/playing with the kids, then for no specific reason it has all flooded back 4 months ago. This time I have found Celecoxib 200mg a day (an anti-inflammatory) has helped a tiny bit, but isn't miraculous. I would strongly recommend the Nortriptyline, quality sleep and the probable supression of the aberant nerve pain seems to have worked for me. I appreciate it is not for everyone, but it is worth a try.
Like you swimming freestyle always gives 2 hours of pain relief. I swim 1000 - 1600 m freestyle at a time.
I am considering a transforaminal steroid injection - advised by a Mayo colleague. I am sure it is discogenic pain, but do wonder what state my facet joints are in now with the loss of disc height.
I have been really interested in your progress. I hope things are going along OK for you and that you are watching your symptoms fade.
"Cursed with pain.....aches, sharp, burning and pinching pains.....the pain getting worse with prolonged sitting and any lifting....... nothing helped - physio, osteopathy, Paracetamol, anti-inflammatories" that about sums it up for most T spine cases I'm guessing.
I try to go drug free as much as possible so no experience or comments from me about about Percocet, Lortab, Celecoxib, Nortriptyline, transforaminal steroid injections.
There's a NZ company Xtendlife that makes a fish oil 50/50 hoki/tuna. I'm sure I read hoki oil has excellent natural anti-inflammatory properties. I have a previously dropped 4-5 soft gell capsules when in pain at the office. Seems to help an hour or more later.
Thanks for your feedback about the swimming, I'm sure if you keep at it , you'll get more than 2 hours relief. How long have you been swmming? How many times a week? My tip for keeping motivated is to swim around 3pm, or whenever the pain is really setting in. Swimming after 5pm is difficult because we all get lazy that time of day.
Anyway I'm 3 weeks post op and down to 75mg trammadol a day now.
Going ok, but got drunk new years and fell over backwards on the bathroom floor of hotel - twice. So stupid I know, potential disaster. At this stage I don't feel any complication as a result of that - the rubber body theory maybe. Perhaps best to wait a week or more until further judgement can be made.
Bladder seems to be ok again.
Still a big mid-back lump there which is uncomfortable at times, and I expect it to be like that for a couple months - numb 5-6 months.
Will be back swimming properly this week.
The surgery gave me a chance to feel some 'reward' for swimming my butt off in the form of blood pressure and pulse readings. My lowest reading was 93/54 with 46 pulse. The nurse was tapping the machine, thinking it was faulty. Doctor said pulse got down to 34 during surgery. Happy about that, not bad for 42 years old.
My weight also dropped from 74 to 65 kgs over the 1 year period between operations.
Besides, swimming, my new exercise goal this year is to simply work the core muscles more, which I haven't been doing previously. I've seen a 4 minutes 'afterburn' training session on you tube which looks about perfect.
Been thinking about this because I feel like my body is still lacking that type of strength due to over protecting the motions and not wanting to carry things etc. Swimming/hanging is great for working the shoulders and thoracic area muscles but I need to improve my lower back now to help my mid back more.
After seeing the healthy changes from swimming I have decided that
I have had a t7-t8 discectomy and fusion at the end of november. I have been in a lot of pain since and had an intercostal block put in last week as the rib pain was unbearable. So far I would say the surgery hasn't worked as I still have terrible back pain which was made worse by post operative complications. Please tell me that the pain eases as the thought of spending the remaining years of my life like this is depresing me....I'm 32.
Well, I will be having my T8/9, T9/10 left anterolateral thoracic interbody fusion surgery net monday feb 06, with posible instrumentation (NuVasive). Will report my progress from surgery as soon as i get out of the hospital.
The neurosurgeon will make the inscision through the ribs. He said the insicion will be about 2.5" long.
Day 14 after the T8/9, T9/10 left anterolateral thoracic interbody fusion Postoperative pain has reduced considerably from day 09 on!!
As others have mentioned, the surgery required colapsing the lung, and removing one rib (which was put back in after the surgery was completed) to gain access. Discektomy was performed, a plastic implant with bone allograft was fitted at both T8/9 and T9/10, followed by 4 screws and 2 plates.
The incision area is still lumpy, and somewhat painfull to the touch, but I suppose the removed/replaced rib is to blame for that...
Expect the lump to be there for a couple months. It's annoying but not much you can do about that. If I'm out and about, restaurant or somewhere I carry a small pillow hidden inside a biggish plastic shopping bag (so I don't feel like a fool). Put it behind your lower back, just helps to reduce pressure on the lump from the back of any chairs.
My incision area was numb for about 5+ months last time, but seems to have feeling alot quicker this time, maybe it will be normal by 3 months post op this time.
Hi folks, I am a 54yr old male,I to have had problems with the thoracic area of the spine, and I can tell you it hurts..a lot. mine started in"07"I had disc problem from T-7-T-8. I had a thoracotomy to remove the damaged area,pedicle screws and a fusion. didn't work they had to go back in to do a revision, this time from T-7 to T-9,crack the fusion,actually remove,take out the pedicle screws and do the procedure over. what the doctors either neglect to tell you or just don't is the recovery time,2-4 years each one. I have had 2,a year and a half apart.it is a long procedure,they have to remove a rib,deflate a lung,move your heart just to get to the problem area,then do the surgery.but wait before any of this can happen they have to insert what is called a T-coil marker,kinda like a little nuke chip so they can identify the problem disc,ouch! for some reason they can't use any pain medication during this process which took 21/2 hours.that was for the first surgery, yes some of the comments that the surgeons state about the dangers of this procedure are true I really had no choice because I was in a wheelchair when I went in,not now though, the complications after are sometimes just as bad. with the first one they set my lung on the bottom portion of my heart which created a minor heart attack or cardioescempiamyopthia(probably spelled wrong) I have 2 ribs gone and they can only take 3 before they have to rebuild the rib cage..gee can't wait for that to happen,yes I need another one or two,above and below. I hope that these can be done going in through the chest,but probably not,I don't seem to get that lucky, I will say my surgeon is a noted spine surgeon and professor at a major university hospital, it is just this is one of those surgeries they just don't like to do, to many unknowns. they went in thru the left side which messes up all the muscles,nerves and anything else in the way,so the use of my left side is limited.my left lung hurts as bad today as the day I got out of the hospital. I have been on just about every med mentioned on this page and some not. some times I could'n event pee straight,please be careful what is prescribed,addiction and dependency is something the body does'nt know the difference between, I feel for each of you in this situation,take care and God bless,Robbie
Hi all, I feel for all you people knowing 1st hand what you all are going thru.
I had a lamanectomy from T-3 to T-9 then had my dura opened up to correct
the Arachnoid Cyst which caused my spinal cord to get squashed from t3 to t9.
I have had to deal with a very sore Dura and back for the last 7 years from being cut open twice.Sucked it up and dealt with it with of course being careful but was doing as well as can be expected.
Now I have 3 bulging disks in my neck and 1 bulging disk at T-8 that radiates around my chest. sore ribs etc you all know the drill here. Been that way for 5yrs but managable. Not so much the last 1.5 yrs though.
Hurts alot to just stand and tilt my body from side to side let alone anything else. Just tilting my head back
sends radiating pain up through my neck and head and down my spine and left arm. It feels like there is a string
between my neck and L arm like a puppet.
I'm 55 160lbs and between my last 2 surgeries and now the cervical and thoracic problems I think
its pasture time ie disablity. So much pain but I'm sure you all know about that.
I've been on hydrocodone 10/325 for 7 yrs and it still works ok thank god. I can't take those anti depressents
because most of them make me either stupid or tighten my muscles up so tight that I can't walk or talk.
Currently at week 6 post op, and recuperating from an incident at week 5 wich left me bed ridden for several days. Had two consecutive sneezes that left me reeling in severe pain from my incision site, back, and the original right rib/flank pain which was the cause for the surgery. I thought I had pulled / broken my screws!!
X-Rays revealed everthing is okay. Neuroseurgeon thinks the sneezes shook things up inside a little resulting in inflamation which is the cause of pain. Said pain should subside in time.
he told me I must start walking 1 mile, and work my way up to 3 or 4 miles daily. Did that 2 times (I admit did 3 miles both times, maybe pushing myself a bit) and was left with excrutiating pain afterwards.
Does all of tthis sound normal??
I was really flying high at week 4, but now it seems like weeks 1 and 2 all over again!?!?!
I have been to an orthopaedic and was told I have a herniated disc at t8 and t9. I have tried cortisone shots an epidural and the strongest pain med my othro would prescribe is hydrocodeine 10/325. I also saw a neurosurgeon and was told that I could not have surgery there because it was too risky because it is close to my heart and lungs. I was told to try aleve (REALLY) if the hydrocodeine 10/325 didn't work what makes you think aleve is going to help. Plus I have high blood pressure and was told that you shouldn't take aleve if you have HBP. The ortho wants me to go to a pain management clinic but I have no insurance and can't afford to go. He (the ortho) will not prescribe anymore meds. I also asked my PCP for something stronger and he told me there was nothing wrong with my back. WOW WTF......is there a doctor out there that feels my pain???? This is crazy and I'm SO TIRED of HURTING!!!!
Any information would be appreciated. In 2007 I slipped on ice while getting out of my full size van. I hit my upper back on the door frame and running board. I had a bruise and swelling for quite a while. I had pain immediately which has not subsided if anything it is worse. As many have posted I too have the pain that goes around into my ribs and chest, especially if I have used my arms a lot. I had an MRI in 2009 which showed a herniation at T7-T8 with central protrusion and annular tear. I have been to 2 Neurosurgeons and 1 Orthopedic doctor who have told me they surgery to fix this problem is too dangerous. I take Vicodin 10/660 4 times a day and Robaxin 4 times a day. I went back to the Ortho. doc today to see if there was anything that can be done, he ran an X-ray and said there is nothing that can be done other than what I am doing, he told me I would just have to learn to live with it. I asked if there were any type of injections her said no, just physical therapy and medicine I have had 3 rounds of therapy and still continue to use what I have learned but nothing helps not even the medicine. I am lost as to where to go for help, but refuse to believe I have to live with this pain for the rest of my life
I have a herniated T8 T9. The pain started in October of 2011, MRI found the tear.I think it may have been related to an old fall I had about 5 years back. I've had horrible pain that radiates around my right rib cage, can't sit, lay or stand for too long at a time. Lots of sleepless nights and constant pain. My nuero Dr. also says that surgery is too risky accept only to go in and scrape off calcified dis material from the nerve causing the pain. My MD sent me to a pain interventional Dr. and he gave me a steroid injection but it only lasted a few months and the pain came back. My Pain management Dr. called me back in 2 weeks ago and gave me a new injection procedure of Duraseal to seal the tear. We are now waiting to see if this will allow the disc to heal on it's own. I am still in a lot of pain but was told it should go away soon. I will post at a later time to let you know if this works, God bless!
Hi, I hope you finally find some answers or treatment for your problem, I have the same hernia T8-T9 but nothing help me, no painkillers, no Neurostimulator Therapy, therapist, acupuncture, chiropractics. I been doing research all over internet, I visited many doctors no one give some hope, beside a surgery, because this is very rare herniation around the 100% of all herniation's this kind of herniation's T8-T9 is only 0.5% that's why no doctors are prepared to do the surgery which is very, very, dangerous or a good treatment. I found one person in Spain who have done this surgery and she was paraplegic for 8 months after that she have many spine problems, For me the only thing to help me is have a long hot showers 3-4 times a day or night or immerse my body in hot water for 20 min.
Sure Thoracic is a problem area, and theres alot of truth in what you say.
However I think you are over-exaggerating some things also.
Surgery is possible, I'm 7 months post op for my 2nd surgery and feeling pretty good actually.
Swimming is still as good as anything I have found for pain relief - can't say that enough but I always get the feeling some people are too lazy to even try or try and but no commit to it long term. Some aren't into a natural approach and would rather consume pills and complain about their problems.
Sure, there are people with problems genuinely worse than mine ever were, that even swimming may return limited results. I can sympathise with that group and wish them well.
just wondering if anyone has fevers caused by herniation at t7 t8 I have been in multiple auto accidents and broke neck c7 herniation bulges at every level pain is tolerable but the fevers and other symptoms are not joining to surgery for t7 t8 fusion hope it stops fever and
A few were talking about which pain reliever works best for thoracic pain. Thoracic spinal pain can be the cause of several other pains, so each injury should be treated injury specific. My thoracic pain is a 24/7 pain, like a knife jammed into my back. If you have a 24/7 pain, it comes into reason you'd want a 24/7 pain reliever. After trying many different pain relievers I have found that Methadone Extended release works best for me. Before any of you go off about that being a synthetic drug used to get people off other meds, research has also found it to be a very useful pain reliever for chronic back injuries. I also use Gabapentin for my Peripheral Neuropathy.
I just found out I have this same rare disc extrusion in T8-T9. I find that Flector (anti-inflammatory) patches are effective (it doesn't take the pain away, but it makes it more bearable). You put in on the most painful area and all the medicine goes into the localized area transdermally- it's good because if you've taken as much Naproxen as I have, you no longer have to worry about all the aspirin in the stomach.
I actually just got started on Butrans, a transdermal patch for pain- rather than increasing the percocets, it's main ingredient is Buprenorphine, the same main ingredient in Suboxone, which is used to treat opiate addiction/withdrawal muscle spasms that radiate from the braline to the front of the body.
I also have 8 bulging discs, arthritis, and degenerative disc (combination of thoracic and lumbar). I too am nervous about the progression of all this.
I also find that cortisone and medial branch block injections are helpful as well. Have not started the strengthening exercises. Waiting for my back brace to come in.
If anyone is still connected to this from a few years ago, I would like to hear how you have been doing since this post 3 years ago
Whenever my shoulder blades felt bruised and hurt a lot I just assumed it was my muscles spasming around my bone, and a pinched nerve under my shoulder- that's what I thought about my ribs and chest too, along with pain going from my braline around my body- and dull pain or sharp pain in my arms/hands too- now that I got my MRI and diagnosis of T8-T9 paracentral disc extrusion I am finding out that all of my symptoms are attributed to this.
In my field I have seen Gabapentin used to treat nerve pain/pain, while also used for generalized anxiety, Seroquel to treat sleep disorders/bipolar or psychosis (depending on the dosage), lamictal or trileptal used for seizures/mood stabilizers, Suboxone and Methadone for opiate withdrawals/maintenance for urges and cravings or for pain management, etc. All medicines have intended effects and side effects, and sometimes the side effects of the intended usage are a great way to treat symptoms of other diagnoses.
I had back fusion T8 - T10 in Mar 2009. Doc apparently tried to work on herniated disc at T 8. Have had constant pain around right ribs that you can't even touch my rib cage. Also had AC joint surgery on right shoulder, as MRI on shoulder showed degeneration, but after reading all posts. Thinking that maybe it was T8 related all along. Have tried so many drugs to help with pain release even morphine (oxynorm, jurnista) as well as nerve medication. on meds that take the edge off the pain but no relief as such. Can't do much daily activities and pain getting worse. Doc says he can go in again and remove disc as fusion already there.
Terribly fearful to go through op again. My fear is what if pain is still there after or something goes wrong during operation as he discussed with me risks are extremely high. Much higher than if it was Lumber. Don't know what to do, but know I cannot go on with life in pain like this. Also tried therapy and she said she can't touch me as mechanical damage and she won't be able to help but make it worse. She did let me use her TENS unit which aleviates the nerve pain around the ribs, but not that it goes away. on a scale of 1 - 10 (10 being the worst). TENS takes it down to an 8 or 7.
Should I or shouldn't I go through with op????
I recently was diagnosed with an HNP at T8-9. I had pain for 2 1/2 months before I finally had an MRI. Two months of increasing pain meds didn't help, only made me dizzy. Percocet did help some, but who wants to be on pain meds longterm? I had a cortizone injection (has helped some, but still a constant ache) and just started physical therapy with TENS last night. I am hopeful, but after reading all of these posts, less so than previously. I didn't have an accident or injury so the doctors are not sure what caused my herniation. The only answer I received was "wear and tear." I was told surgery was rare, but no one mentioned risky and complicated. Thank all of you for these posts, the more I learn the more I can effectively deal with this, sounds like for the rest of my life.
try tramadol and lyrica for pain relief. I would also add cymbalta to that mix (but since you have some weird 'fear' of antidepressants, that my not be a good choice for you....btw, antidepressants are very effective in pain management and just because a drugs primary indication is for depression, does not mean you need to be depressed in order to use it - almost all drugs have multiple indications - LISTEN TO YOUR DOCTOR - THEY KNOW MORE THAN YOU - the sooner you get over this 'labeling issue' the sooner you can benefit and get some pain relief).
Good Luck. If you need a good ortho surgeon - I would recommend Dr. Kern Singh based in Chicago. He's an *** of a Dr but he's an EXCELLENT surgeon - if he can't fix you, nobody can.
I have disc extrusion at t7t8 that is flatting the surface of my spinal cord I have had this for 16 months now.The pain is horrible its wraps around my ribs and my right shoulder blade.I have had p.t. injections even took 8 months off work and yet im still in pain this has turned my life upside down.I go thursday to see if im canadate for scs I hope Iam and maybe I can start feeling better.
man so glad i found this post....I have a disc extrusion at T7-8...not sure how this differs from a herniation or if its the same thing. I get weird nerve issues in legs and pretty bad pain dead center of back....it *****...
I am in the midst of conservative treatments now. PT didn't work, Chiropractor made it worse, stretching is about the only thing that helps for temporary relief....
have any of you had success through conventional remedy? I would hate to resort to surgery as the results sound poor. just curious how everyone is doing now?
Its nerve stmulator thats implanted in your spine and it is soppose to help with pain its kinda like a tens unit but it is permantly put in your back.The doctor i saw yesterday said he would do it but he has never did one on the t-spine only on the lumbar,so im kinda debating on what to do.
I haven't heard of scs before either. It sounds interesting and if it's little cost, most things are worth a try - otherwise realistically it sounds a bit misleading because my understanding is that nerve pain from disc hernations is more related to lumbar, wheras disc hernations in Thoracic lead to direct pressure on the spinal cord.
I'm not a doctor and I'm not saying there are zero nerves in the thoracic region but I do know from experience thoracic and lumbar are quite different pains.
@barca33 - just curious how everyone is doing now?
I'm doing great actually, surgeries for me were the right decision. And I've bleated on about swimming alot on this thread and I have a love/hate relationship with swimming but you get out what you put in so I feel that I deserve my results for all the effort getting off my butt and doing it. I even get to play golf ocassionally which will be straight off the menu if I ever give up swimming, thats another pact I have made with myself.
When I have had lumbar problems of disc protruding into nerves, the disc skrinks after about 6-9 weeks, pain disappears somewhat. Thoracic discs just don't seem shrink back the same and you get stuck with that constant round the clock, something jammed in your back feeling.
well I have had injection with no relief and lots of p.t. also didnt help I use my heating pad alot and on pain meds.I have seen 3 nero surgeons and they said surgrey is to risky I sent my mri to the spinal ins they said I would be a candiate for lazer surgry but the only surgeon that works on the t-spine is in tampa florida and I cant afford to travel there Im going back to the doctors monday armed with a ton of questions on the scs I will keep everyone posted.I just cant imagine living like this forever I was very very active I played on a moms socccer team god I MISS playing.I did return back to work as a waitress only working 5 hr shifts 3 days a week and omg IT hurts working but it feels good gettng out of the house.
oh sorry to hear corey...i too miss sports a lot. I am afraid to excercise with my injury in fear of making it worse. right now I walk around and that is about it. its so stressful to endure. I may try the swimming as watto suggests.
I thought I had read laser surgery is risky at the t-spine. please let us know what they say about the scs. did your docs think your issue would eventually heal on its own?
do any of you experience muscle twitching in legs due to your spinal compression or other weird neurological stuff?
I get alot of pain in my right shoulder and chest and ribs and sometimes my legs hurt like I had did a major workout.I had one doctor say it could heal on its own but I have had this now 18 months.I have a pool in the summer I swam alot it felt good when I was in the pool but when I got out I hurt like hell.do you get wrap around pain in your chest or ribs it scares me when I do its like I feel like im having a heart attack.How long have you been dealing with this can you work.
I am extremely nervous to have surgery (all of these posts make it seem like it does not provide long-term relief). I am taking pain meds too which lessen the pain a bit, but not completely. I hurt my back and work and try to go in, but have been out more and more. I am awake now in excruciating pain. Hoping the injection will help. I guess the decision to get surgery is up to the individual (I have not progressed to that point yet, I think). I have extreme shoulder/shoulder blade pain now and can barely lift up my arms.
I tried the Butran patch and the physician's assistant (not my normal doctor) didn't look at the contraindications and it caused more pain, mood swings, anxiety, I couldn't control my anger- it was horrible! I suggest whatever you do just be hyper-vigilant regarding your awareness of your symptoms when you are taking medication, or even trying new exercises or procedures. Ask the doctor about short-term and long-term prognosis, risks, etc, in order to make an informed decision. If the benefits don't outweigh the costs, maybe it's not a good idea.
Doctors gave me predniscolone for my L5 lumbar problem. Apparently it speeds up the shrinking of the disc so it retracts from pushing against the nerve. Was also taking it concurrently with vitamen B12, with Lyrica at night.
Predniscolone is of course a steroid banned by the IOC - but it was great while it lasted. My same doctor never gave it to me for Thoracic problems so I can't comment on whether it works there.
thanks for advise. I guess no-one knows exactly whats gonna happen until u face it head on. Dr's have scheduled my op on the 8th March. Have no other choice. Meds are just taking edge off pain, but if I don't have meds three times a day, I really suffer. If I stick to the meds, I can cope through the day. My cocktail is neuronton 300mg at night, tenston sa (2 three x a day) and cataflam d. Will go through with op and extremely scared. Will face what happens after, after.
Well I went to the doctors monday and decided to hold off on the scs the doctor said there is only 40 precent chance it will work so Im going to try the steriod injections again.my doctor also said he could see how stressed I was and I have to try to stay postive,and make the best of what god has handed me.I thought long and hard about what he said,and Im going to try my hardest to keep my head up and pray that the injections offer some relief.I know things could me worse but Im so young to have to live day in day out with pain.oxOangeleyezOxo keep us posted I wish you the best I know how you feelyou just want to be pain free.
First of all I would like to wish you all to be healed from your problem and be able to have a better quality of life not suffering from back pains.
I have recently have an MRI on the thoracic spine and diagnosed with a small central disc herniation(3mm) at the T8-T9 that press the subarachnoid space and the spinal cord is shown satisfactory. The same disc appears some degeneration.
It has been almost 4 months since I have an accident but not until last week I get an MRI scan. The pain has reduce but it is still very annoying and sometimes it hurts a lot. The doctor suggest me to start swimming and I am intent to do so starting tomorrow. It has been 4 months since the start of the pain and I think that it will never go. I feel very sad about it since I am 25 years old and very athletic and active and that really cuts my wings. I have search everywhere to find any solution and the one that I found is the Discogel injection. I know that it is a new technique but I do not know if it can be use for thoracic discs. Is there anyone who know what this new method is about?
Also I would like to suggest me any other exercises that may help me recover. I there anyone that has recoverd and able to start activities or will I be always unable to do my favorite sports?
Cheer up, at least you have had an MRI already and now have some knowledge of the situation with some support, even if its just some random internet comments.
It wasn't quite the same 20 years ago, less access to internet and research meant relying on doctors who weren't feeling the pain you are feeling.
25 years old is about the same age I had my intital rugby accident. Alot of sleep related pain about 4-10 weeks after, then I had physiotherapy for a few weeks and the pain seemed to disappear.
Don't be fooled by this type of scenario. The pain returned when I was about 37.
It seems you only have a single disc problem so that is not so bad but the reality is that without surgery, its probably never going to repair itself so I suggest its best to try slow down the rate of degeneration.
I've made a committment to myself to swim for the rest of my life. Didn't enjoy swimming when I strted more than 3 years ago, but after a month I began to feel the benefits so I perservered with it.
Then I made some big decisions. I dropped all the expensive neverending physiotherapy for more swimming for about a 6 month period. Then I booked myself into the 1st phase T7/T8 surgery which probably fixed about 60% of the problem.
More swimming and did the 2nd phase T8/T9 surgery a year later, probably fixed about 20-30% of the problem.
I'm 18 months post op now and feeling good, even playing the occassional game of golf. I can survive 4-5 days now without a swim now before too much pain returns, compared to previously 2-3 days max.
In my case, the worst advice was 'surgery should be a last option'. I could have saved the value of a small family car on physiotherapy. Surgery isn't cheap either but at least it gave me a final result, and no more never ending physiotherapy costs. I'm not a high income earner at all, so I just had to accept the money pains, and treat it as an investment in myself, in my future.
There was lots of good advice rather than a single thing, start swimming, hang on bars, lose weight, improve your diet, flexibility, give up golf....
I must say that I admire the way you face your problem and mention that it gives me courage to face my problem.
I would like to ask you how serious was your initial herniation? I mean I have a 0.3cm herniation that as my doctor said me is not so serious yet! Is it possible that in some years this distance(0.3cm) will increase by its own? Moreover I would like to ask you if you search for the Discogel injection which is a new method for disc herniation for all the spinal(thoracic,lumbar and cervical) or ih any of the others here know anything about it.
I am new to this forum,just found out about it and glad that I did,because I didn't know so far people with similar problems as I have and we all know how depressive it can be when no one can fully understand you.
2 years ago my MRI showed that I have disc protrusions on levels T1/T2 and T2/T3,also a disc herniation on T3/T4 and osteophytes on T4/T5 ,T5/T6 and T6/T7-great story,haha :) It seems as my whole thoracic area is a bit ruined and I feel really blaming myself because it is all my fault.
It all happened when I created that habit to study in a wrong position since my first grade and did this through all my university studies as well and on the last final exam-OUCH,something was wrong,I felt a huge massive pain all around the back,shoulders,arms and ribs-like a heart attack and last but not least-troubles taking a deep breath. I am also kind of into rock music and not to mention that since little I was doing that typical headbanging movements...:)
At first when i felt that strange feeling of severe pain I thought that i got sick or something and waited for it to pass away by itself.Since it only was getting worse I visited couple of doctors and all of them didn't suspect anything dealing with disc herniation.Then I started to work and since I am a lawyer all the days I was spending on a sitting position reading and writing and until one day I felt so bad that I could not take it anymore.Then I did that MRI and it showed the problem.I consulted with many Bulgarian doctors and all of them are pretty sure that I should not take the risk of a surgery. So what I do to ease the condition is physio and exercises and sometimes I feel kind of okay for months-especially during winter and summer. Since it is already Spring here the nightmare began with full force again.Because of the temperatures changing 3 weeks till now I was feeling like half -a-person again ,but trying not to show my pain to my close ones because it can only make them suffer too...
To me only cold laser and ultrasound massage helps...
Anyways,I wish you all the very best and to recover as much and as soon as possible.
P.S. Seeing so many people with thoracic disc herniation in this forum makes me think that it is already not so rare decease.Just the world and the lifestyle nowadays threatens us with all these sitting-like jobs,computers,cars etc.
Just met with surgeon today on this T-7/ T-8 Bulging into the spinal chord.
Not sure what to think, not sure if the surgery and risk are worth the pain that I currently have.
Wow I guess right now I am just confused and trying to figure it all out!
What a relief it is to find this forum. (Here I was thinking I was the only person out here with these problems/symptoms.) The discs involved are T5-6, T6-7, T7-8, T8-9, T9-10.
Multilevel thoracic spondylosis with multiple mid thoracic focal disc herniations.
2007 I had an A.L.I.F. / discectomy and instrumentation at, L4-5, L5-S1.
2012 The same as above only at, C6-7.
The ruptured discs at the thoracic level were only found this year after the fusion on my c-spine didn't resolve all my symptoms.
I also developed sciatica pain in one leg after starting nerve gliding exercises with my legs during P.T.,which is now causing quite a bit of weakness and muscle atrophy. (Gabapentin is helping a lot with the sciatica pain, but has no effect on the mid thoracic and rib pain.)
I've been through P.T., which only caused more pain. Trigger point injections, which didn't help at all. Lastly, the E.S.I., which gave me 4-5 days of relief, not enough relief to go without pain meds, but to where the meds worked.
At this point in time I don't know what my surgeon is going to try next. (I see him next month.)
I'll be getting in the pool when the water warms up enough to not turn me blue. I would have gone to the pool sooner, but I can't drive the 40 minutes to the indoor pool due to my leg going numb and the increased pain in my lumbar from sitting. I keep as active as I can without going over that fine line which will land me in bed for a couple of days. I can't do a lot, but I do push myself. I'm looking forward to getting in the pool and I can't even swim! I'll work on moving in the water first and tackle the "swimming" bit when I can. It seems to be the least stressful way to get some cardio, tone muscles and keep range of motion.
I'm past hoping and wishing this will get better, but I'm still hopeful that there's something that can be done to stop it from getting much worse, or at least, get to a point where the pain meds (Butrans patch and Lortab 10/325's) give more relief so that I can become more mobile and gain some strength back.
This forum is so informative. There's not much out there on this condition, and I'm so thankful for people taking the time to share their experiences about treatments (Even those treatments which don't work).
That white hot poker is burning me in my back, so I'll stop typing for now. I'll be looking forward to reading more. :)
Hang in there, have to imagine there is ice in the pool before you jump in, then hope the water feels a couple degrees warmer than the artic.
The enivitable mind game with yourself is choosing between cold water or sore back, never an easy choice, but once you're in and wet - no point retreating. A leap of faith perhaps? Nothing less than brave and admirable. A coldish shower before hand takes the edge off.
Too funny! Imagine ice at the bottom of the pool! (Sounds like you've done this before.) You're right though, when I think of all I've gone through, all the tests, the shots, the mylograms! What's a little cold water?
While on vacation in April, I spent a day at a beach. I was in the water for a good 3 hours, and even though there wasn't much swimming going on (I'm a poor swimmer), I should have been in a lot more pain than I was just from being up and around for 3 hours straight. I did have added soreness the following day, but no added pain. This should be a no brainer, but I never thought it might actually REDUCE pain.
I'm looking forward to testing this out. (Along with some swimming lessons.)
Thank you for posting about the swimming. It's rare to find someone who has tried, and stuck with anything (Other than meds) that helps.
6 weeks after my lumbar fusion, I was back at work, withing 3 months, I was back to walking 5-6 miles a day, 5-6 times a week. For the following 4 years I did this, not taking a single sick day. Yet the day after the injury to my cervical and thoracic spine, I couldn't take a breath without knee buckling pain. That was 2 1/2 years ago. I've tried walking more than a couple of blocks...not happening. I'm not over weight (Yet), and I don't want to think about carrying extra weight around with me. What does concern me is the inactivity and all that goes along with it. Swimming does sound ideal. Hopefully (There's that word, "hope" I try not to use), I'll reach a point where I can drive into town for the indoor pool this winter. I'm so ready to do this. How long did it take for you to realize swimming was working? How long before you FELT improvement? How often and for how long did you swim initially? What shape were you in physically, when you began?
What, if anything, did you do to remind yourself of your progress on those, "not so good" days? Anything you can tell me that helped keep you motivated would be appreciated.
Seriously though, how cold is too cold for the water temp do you think? I've been neck deep in the north sea, but that was prior to back injuries. Is there anything, regarding swimming, that you would do differently, or wish you would have known? What advice would you give to someone just starting? I've asked a lot of questions and I'm sure there are some I've left out because I don't know them to ask. I'll re-read all of the posts in this forum to see what I can find. Sorry if I've asked anything that you've already posted.
Thank you for responding to my post. I'm looking forward to hearing from you again. :)
Iam new to this forum, my mum is actually the one with the problem she has T9-T10 disc herniation, which has calcified, her problems started last sept with some buzzing feeling in her hip, it has progressed now to complete numbness down one leg and numbness travelling up the other leg getting worse day by day. She is scheduled or surgery on the 25th June and has been told surgery is very risky, but the alternative is definite paralysis. She has been told that the nerve damage is permenante and that the surgery will not provide any pain relief, but just stop the progression of paralysis. Is there no hope for any improvement? She was a very active woman and is only 62, with many plans for her retierment, now looking possible that she could be wheelchair bound for the rest of her life. I feel so helpless and feel that she doesn't realise what is ahead of her in terms of recovery. The doctors have been very vague about recovery times.
Q. How long did it take for you to realize swimming was working?
Q. How long before you FELT improvement?
A. From memory... the 1st sign (2-3 weeks after starting when swimming about 200-400m) was pain relief for 1-2 hours after swimming.
The 2nd sign was the beautiful 'tingling sensation' (obvious after 6-8 weeks when swimming about 400-600m) - it's euphoric, and used to kick in after about 400-500m.
The 3rd sign was both feeling & realising there was a definite colleration between swimming and diminshing pain. Understanding this gave me even more motivation to stick with something I honestly thought I would quit on after about 3 weeks. I have been truly surprised myself at my own self-discipline.
The key is the 1st sign, getting started and feeling some benefit to keep you motivated whilst understanding the very simple logic that if you gradually increase your swimming, then expect a gradual increase in pain relief time after swimming. Hopefully you will get out what you put in.
Q. How often and for how long did you swim initially?
A. It probably took me 6 months to get to a point of swimming 1000m (4-6 times per week) for pain relief of 12-24 hours.
Q. What shape were you in physically, when you began?
A. Ok, about 76-78kg, carrying alot more body fat than I should have been. I wasn't fit and I struggled as all non- natural bad swimmers do. 1st swim was 6x lengths of an 18m long pool, and I was gasping for breath and had to rest at each end. Like I said, it took me 6 months to build up to 1000m. My weight has been consistently around 65-65kg for the last 18 months
Q. What, if anything, did you do to remind yourself of your progress on those, "not so good" days?
A. Um, pretend you are Michael Phelps and try not to swallow too much water hahaha. Seriously, some days you just have to gut it out, count the strokes, count the lengths, push yourself hard to get to a designated no. of lengths before resting, etc. Apart from the frist lenght, usually I find the first half of the swim more difficult, once you have completed more than half its easier to to the end of it.
Q. Anything you can tell me that helped keep you motivated would be appreciated.
A. Warm water definitely helps the motivation, so does going anytime in the day before 6pm. As you get better, find a longer pool, its a lot easier believe it or not. Think about the FULL benefits, treat it as a chance to improve your overall health, change your diet, try green tea to hydrate yourself. I have never had the flu in 3 years since starting swimming, the amazing effect of chlorine or saline clearing out the nasal passages. Most important of all, do it for you and your family. That should be the biggest motivation for anyone.
Q. Seriously though, how cold is too cold for the water temp do you think? A. Not sure, i live in a fair warm climate. Get a swimsuit and a couple of latex caps otherwise.
Q. Is there anything, regarding swimming, that you would do differently, or wish you would have known?
A. Yeah, I wish someone had taught me to swim properly when I was younger. I'd have to admit a couple of lessons would have helped me, reading online was helpful.
Q. What advice would you give to someone just starting?
A. Just try relax, breathe as much as possible and gut it out. set some goals and don't give up.
I have a herniated disic at t7 and t8. I haven't been able to work scence may I am having a very hard time getting any answers from my doc on how long will I have problems , how to fix it or any thing I had two epiduru shots they did nothing . pain meds nothing. I am going for nerve block next month. And my short term disability is turning into long term now my job is at risk .I would just like to know how this is going to end up so I can make life plans
I wanted to give an update on how I'm doing. I did go to the pool, everyday for 3 weeks. I didn't get to swim very much though. I have gone from bad to worse, to the point of just being vertical for more than a couple of hours at a time causes so much pain I can't see straight. My surgeon has put me on Percocet. It helps, but if I don't lay down, on my back, it does nothing. The max amount of time I can be up (by "up" I mean in a recliner, or up and down doing little things around the house) is 2 hours. If I'm in a car, 30 mins is all I can tolerate (I gave up driving a couple of yrs ago due to the pain it caused). I'm rapidly approaching being house bound. In fact, I not longer leave the house, for more than a few minutes, unless I have to see a Dr., and that's becoming more difficult, as it's a 3 hr car ride (round trip).
I spoke with my surgeon 2 weeks ago, and he simply will not risk the surgery. At one point, during that visit, I begged for surgery, even if there was just the slightest chance of improvement, and yes, even if it meant I lost my life. (I had been in severe pain for about 3 weeks. I was at 8/10 - 9/10 on the pain scale. It was relentless.) The good news is, when I asked him what I had to look forward to as this continued to worsen, he said, that right now, it would just be increased pain (JUST!). Even so, I was glad to hear that. IF my current pain is ever managed, I'll be elated. I also know that pain, alone, is not reason enough to do surgery. When I asked, what would be reason enough to operate, he told me, when he could look at my M.R.I. and see something he, or another surgeon, would be ABLE to fix. (I'm not naive, I know he chose his words carefully, and if I'm extremely LUCKY, it won't progress beyond pain...there was a lot left unsaid.)
I feel myself getting weaker, because even with stronger pain meds, which help, they by no means allow me to get far from my bed. As a result, I'm losing muscle tone, and we all know how important core strength is, especially where the thoracic spine is concerned.
I've always been able to see the silver linings, and I believe, that WHEN my pain is managed, I'll be more like my old self, at least emotionally, and be able find my new-new normal. And last, but not least, greet each day with joy, not dread.
Most of us suffering from thoracic injuries or "conditions" will probably end up having to live with it. I can't tell you enough, how reading your stories, has helped me, especially when feeling so isolated. And while I hate that anyone has to live with this, I'm so grateful for each and every one of you that has shared their experiences and asked questions. I will visit this site often. There's such a wealth of information here, and some very warm, caring people. I hope, at some time, I will also be of some help.
Wow...I am really glad to find this site....I have been dealing with the same issues as many of you. Back in December 12 I was running and felt a twinge in my back on the right side. Thought nothing of it. Then, I went back to lifting the following monday and had an incredible burning in my mid back. I have pain (tightness and soreness) that radiates around to the stomach and my ribs.
I had x-rays, Cat scan, and finally the MRI to reveal a (slight???Really) herniation in my t8. Doctors have put me on Lyrica, skelaxin, and prescribed a bunch of other muscle relaxers all of which dont help. I went to a chiropractor, physical therapist, all with no success. I am 42 and have been told after lifting weights for so many years this is what could happen. I was never a power lifter, not did I ever do squats or deadlifts.
I have been told I will need to try the epidural injections, but I am doubtful since everything else I try doesnt seem to work. I do get relief when I lie down, but it doesnt last. Have anyone heard of anyone who did recover from this? It is very depressing to say the least, and I am trying to figure out how science can put a man on the moon, but cant fix back pain...Any advice? Thanks and one again, happy I found others with this condition, and sa