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t8-t9 disc herniation

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.  
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Avatar universal
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.


Avatar universal
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.

Avatar universal
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.

Avatar universal
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.

Avatar universal
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

Avatar universal
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?

take care
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