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Thoracic Disk Herniation
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Thoracic Disk Herniation

I am 33 years old and in fairly good shape.  A year and a half ago when I went to see an orthopedic I was diagnosed (MRI positive)with a disk herniation in my thoracic region (T6-T7).  I was asked to come back 6 weeks later after some land therapy. The land therapy did not improve my status.  I then had a discogram performed (negative result).  Orthopedic said discograms were a bit shaky in their results and said I should back first thing in morning for a fusion.  I said "no" and that I needed a second opinion.  I went to see neurosurgeon he said herniation so small that he could not believe that it was causing my pain. I decided to hold off.  Well it is a year later and since I have crashed a jet ski at 60 mph and flipped a four wheeler.  My pain has gone from hurting once every couple of days to hurting every day.  I have done everything from accupunture, epidural injections, massages to water therapy ($800 a month).  I have had another MRI and the herniation looks worse but still somewhat isolated to that region.  In the past 3 months things seem to have gotten worse: incredible pain, sharp pins and needles (although this is not constant), numbness in front of lower legs, and feeling of fluid build up in my head.  I am scheduled for fusion on Sept 8 with my new othropedic surgeon although I have two final consults just to make sure. Am I doing the right thing? I just dont see any alternative. Should I let my doctor know about the pins and needles, numbness, and fluid build up feeling or is this just disc herniation symptoms?  What is success rate with thoracic fusion?
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Avatar_n_tn
The symptoms you are experiencing in your head should not be related to a thoracic disc. The pins and needles and numbness may be associated with a disc herniation, but can also be found in other disorders. I would recommend a consultation with a neurologist to evaluate these symptoms. A neurologist will typically make sure that there are no medical conditions causing your symtpoms. Good luck
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Avatar_n_tn
I herniated a disk at T10-11 a little over 2 years ago in snowboarding accident. I was 28 years old at the time, in great shape with no prior problems of any kind.  It sounds like mine was more serious b/c within 2 weeks, I started getting numbness/tingling in my right foot then significant weakness in both legs.  I went to the emergency room (MRI showed the dic herniation) and had a laminectomy the next day.  But there was no mention of fusion at all.  From what I know and hear, the thoracic spine is pretty resilient and does not move as much as your lumbar and cervical spine.  Make sure you truly understand why fusion is needed. They should be able to decompress the cord to prevent further neurological problems.  That's what they did for me.  The numbness in my right foot and weakness in my legs never fully went away, but I continue to live a normal and active life but I am more careful now of my back.  I have other degenerative problems which were discovered in the MRI, such as arthritis, bone spurs, bulging discs and congenital spinal stenosis in thoracic and cervical spine.  But I don't let any of this slow me down or keep me from doing what I want to do.  

In my experience, the surgery went well.  I was out of the hospital 2 days later and walking normally in a week to 2 weeks.  But try not to let this consume your life.  For the first year after my surgery, I was scared to do anything in fear.  Now I don't let this scare me.  Only thing I avoid is any power lifting and full contact activity, everything else is fair game ... I play golf, beach volleyball, swim, and lift weights all on a regular basis.  In fact, the more active I am, the better I feel.  I hope this helps.  I'd be more than happy to discuss further if you'd like.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello I am a new kid on the block and have many questions, concerns, & comments, They may be mixed w/ lots of anger and sadness but I am sure that everyone here understands that considering a lot of you are in my shoes. here is what my MRI, Myleogram, and discography states " at T 8-9 there ia a posterior central and left paracentral Herniation that projects maxamilly 3 mm to the left of the midline, the herniation measuring approx 7mm transverse dimension. The spinal cord is impinged on it's  ventral surface left side bt the more prominent component of the Herniation.There is a minor posterior disc bulge @T 7-8  without nueral impingmentAt T 10-11 There is a large broad posterior central herniation which protudes 6.5mm anterior-posterior and measures 11mm transverse dimension , displacing , distorting and mildy compressing the  Thorasic Spinal cord at this segment as seen on sagittal image 6 of series 9 and axial images 15 of series 10 compression of the left T 11 nerve root compression is evident, early osteophytic changes or disc calcifation is seen at the rostral margin of the disc herniation just left to the midline. vacuum disc are noted at T11-12 and T10-11. Prominet anterioir osteophytic changes are seen at T11-12 with the lesser anterior, disc spurring evident at T10-11 and T9-10. Small Schorls's nodes involve the inferior endplates at T8 and T7  There are no other findings of abnormalties.At L 4-5 there is disc desiccation  and there is a mild to moderate posterior central disc herniation which measures 5.5 mm anterior-posterior  by 12mm transverse dimension ( indenting the miodline aspect of the thecal sac) It maybe causing compression of the cauda equina. At L2-3 there is mild disc dissecation w/ anterior annular tearing amd mild diffuse annular bulging W/ slight retrolistesis L2 upon L3. There is mild anterior spondylosis at L2-3 There is disc dessecation a vertical narrowing Anterior spodylosis ans slight Posterior central bulge w?out Impingement of the lower thorasic spinal cord, there is hypertrophic changes at L5 & S1. OKay I have one Question What the Hell does this all mean I am in HORRIFIC pain all day every single day I cry I whine and I know it won;tt make it better but ii figured hell it gets out of me somehow, I have been so depressed that I don't have any desire to do anything cause it is such a struggle!! The Doctor I had just decided she wasn't gonna treat it anymore after being on Methadone for almost 2 years at 3-10mg tabs by mouth 3 times a day down to nothing in a matter of 2 months, Doctor's like this need to have their brain waves checked cause man let me tell you what!!!THIS IS THE WORST PAIN I  HAVE EVER HAD IIN MY LIFE.. I went up fpr surjury only to be told it wouldn't be worth the risk!!! I am only 30 and should have a full life ahead of me instead it looks only painful and trying, oh well!! thanks for any comments & answers to this Thanks for listening to SOB story! JaeLin72
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Avatar_n_tn
Not sure how you're going about getting care but I would recommend seeing a top spine specialist.  I initially went through my in-network group of doctors that was specified by my insurance then I said screw it, found out who were the best people to see in my area and just made an appointment.  If you happen to be in the Southern California area go to Kerlan-Jobe.  That's where I went and I couldn't be more thankful, it's worth every penny.  Good luck.
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