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How likely?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,731
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:22 AM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
Hi, I'm new to the forum and hoping I can clear up some questions I have about my injury. I've been diagnosed with having a herniated disc between T-2 and T-3. It's not causing any promblems with any limbs, but does cause some significant pain with my upper back muscles.
I've seen two NS's and both have said surgery is not an option right now. (After listening to their descriptions, and reading about it here, I'm definitely not interested in the surgery.) The last NS said only two things will help the disc: time or surgery. Since surgery is not an option, I'm curious whether time will help, either.
Apparently the injury is from degeneration over a length of time, not a sudden incident. The last straw happened in mid-May and I've been off work since the first part of June. The NS said to give it another two months. My family doctor, in whom I have a lot of confidence, believes that if it hasn't gotten any better in the last two months, two more months won't yield any better results. As much as I want it to get better, I tend to agree with my family doctor. Hence, my questions:
How likely is thing to heal on its own?
If it doesn't shrink and heal on its own, will attenuating the pain with meds/TENS, etc. to allow for more activities make it more likely the hernia will worsen or lead to a rupture?
Are there any excercises or activities I can do to help it heal; not just relieve the pain?
Thanks for any responses.
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Comments

  • First of all welcome. You will find a lot of wonderful caring people here.

    I have been suffering with upper back pain since last December. I have been seeing my D.O. since then with no relief. We had been putting of an MRI for two reasons. My doctor thought he could fix it through manipulation of the spine and muscles and secondly I had no insurance. We are self employed and didn't even think of turning it in to Labor and Industries but we finaly did and I go for an MRI tomorrow morning to see what the heck is going on.

    If it turns out to be a herinated disc than I can tell you that it won't get better or at least it hasn't for me. I have a tens unit but it seems to be only a distraction from the pain. It is also effecting my leg and arm, mostly just numbness and some pain. Right now the only relief I get is laying down.

    What does the pain feel like in your back? What activities cause the pain to flare up?

    I hope you find some relief and after I get my MRI results I will post the findings here.

    Gentle Hugs

    Suziee


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,722
    ">image

    For a Spine-Health Site introduction, Click on :

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    If you have any questions, feel free to contact (PM) any one of the Moderators here Priestess , Bruce , Paulgla, DiLauro

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    Check the various tabs at the top of the Spine-Health page and you will find so much that is offered here.


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    Thoracic problems is something that is very close to me. I have 4 herniated T discs and a couple just waiting to happen. Since I have already had 7 spinal surgeries, additonal surgery was really not an option. And as you said, based on what is involved with T-disc surgery, that is something I want to stay away from. I've tried so many different treatments and most were not successful. Almost 18 months in physical therapy and they did not help. Finally, my pain mgt doctor sent me to see this special Deep Tissue Massage person (trained and mastered in Thailand). Those treatments were the ONLY thing that started to help me. I've been going for 16 months now and my rhomboid muscle (deep middle to upper back muscle) has finally started to come around. In addition I do some stretching on those big exercise balls and I have 2 foam rollers (1 qtr roll, 1 full roll) which I use to 'expand' my chest. Basically I lay on these rollers and open my arms and it expands my chest.
    Talk to your doctor about what exercises you could do to help.

    Good luck
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • In response to suziee's question: I have one "pinch point" between the upper part of my shoulder blades that always has some sensation. If I lift too much or raise my arms above my head it becomes more intense. Continued aggitation will lead to muscle cramps or spasms in the lats and rhomboids, usually on the left side, but sometime the right. The more activity, the greater the pain. Sitting in my recliner has become my favorite position. That seems to relieve the pressure on my injured area.

    I'm going to seriously look into the deep muscle massage, and maybe try the large ball exercises. I've been reading where a hot tub may help, also. A heat pad will give me some temmporary relief, so the hot tub may be an option in the future. That can be quite an expense, so I'll research it in depth before taking that plunge (pun intended).

    I've been reading a lot on this web site and have learned much about my type of condition. Unfortunately, there doesn't to be a great probablility that it will improve much and that my focus will have to be primarily on pain management.

    I can deal with that; it's more of learning about my type of injury and decreasing the amount of unknowns.
  • Sitting in my recliner has become my favorite spot as well as my bed. :) My pain to is in the shoulder blade area sometimes mostly on my right side but lately its moved to my left shoulder as well.

    Standing, walking, doing the dishs, making dinner and just about anything where I have to extend my arms forward aggravates it. Sometimes its in the middle of my back like the muscles have wrapped around my spine and won't let go.

    I had my MRI yesterday and hopefully will have the results on Tuesday. I'm hoping its nothing serious like the "C" word. I always think the worse and its driving my husband crazy.

    Keep in touch and take care of yourself.
  • Your pain and symptoms sound very similar to mine. Hopefully yours will be manageable, respond to treatment,and put you on the road to recovery.
  • I also agree with your family doctor. I've been dealing with shoulder pain for two years now. I kept putting off treatment thinking in time it would get better. Well, in my situation, time has not made it better only worse and now I have pain down my arm into my fingers. My right shoulder and neck are very tight. Even my physical therapist couldn't get it to 'unlock' for more than a day. Just like Suziee, my daily activities that require me to extend my arm can cause painful flareups. Right now I'm on week three of latest onset. As far as exercises go, I've not been successful with those either as they only exacerbated my pain. I hope your NS is able to find you some relief soon, whatever that may be. :)
  • I've been trying some easy exercises, but really can't say they've made any difference, yet. My family doctor has prescribed Lyrica, starting out with 50 mg twice a day and I titrate up to 150 mg twice a day. Right now I'm at 50 mg in the morning and 100 mg at night. I dislike taking drugs, but it seems this may be a necessary evil. :P We'll see what happens in the next few months; I may take a serious look at a TENS unit as a long term aid.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,722
    If Lyrica is helping with your nerve pains , then that is vey good. There are so many members here who can provide horror stories about Lyrica... Me being one of them! Once I was moving up to the 200mg+ a day, I started having some strange effects. I started beoming a zombie, could not stay awake, but worse, fron my knees down, my legs and feet and toes start to swell up. It got to the point that my pinky toe was as big as what my big toe was when normal. As soon as I dropped down to under 200mg , I was ok. Then I stopped it completely and instead have been using Neurontin for nerve pain.
    I have been using a portable home Tens unit for the past 3 years and I have found it to be VERY HELPFUL. I think a Tens unit is something ever spinal patient should try
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Well, here's hoping I'm one of the lucky ones. I'm on my fourth day of 200mg and haven't noticed any really adverse reactions. I have noticed I seem to be gaining a little weight, mostly retaining fluids, I think. I've started drinking more water and I think that's helping a little. Still checking out the TENS and I'm definitely going to hit up my doctor about it, but I don't see him for another month. The good news/bad news is that my condition hasn't gotten any worse....but it hasn't gotten any better, either. While I'm definitely uncomfortable a lot of the time, I can still count my blessings that I could be a lot worse. Still learning what I can, and can't, do.
  • Just thought I'd report back and let others know there can be some helpful treatments. My Lyrica dose has been at the 150mg twice-a-day level for over a month now and I haven't had any adverse side effects, other than some weight gain from water retention and increased appetite. I'm starting to exercise more to help alleviate that. I've been wearing a TENS unit for the last three weeks with some very positive results. It definately helps manage the pain. I'm still experimenting with the electrode pattern and settings to see which has the most benefit for me. One thing I've found: the TENS only takes care of the immediate pain sensation. If I've done an activity that causes pain I've probably irritated things enough to where it will still be an issue several hours later. That's where the pain reliever comes into play so I can get some decent sleep. But, as expensive as it was to purchase, I'm still a great fan of the TENS unit. Now, if I could just find a way to put on those electrodes without assistance......
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