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Please anyones opinion i really need to some if this is right!!!!

tammycttammyc Posts: 894
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:41 AM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
Please anyone,i was in a car accident october two days before halloween 2008.Six months after my neck surgery. I was still doing therapy when i had the accident.I was told to continue on with it and was put on muscle relaxants,anti inflammatories and pain meds. Its been over a year now and my muscles are still spasming out of control and very tight.I go for weekly massages and seem to surprise my therapist every time i go.He's just amazed that my muscles are still sore and tight all over. My real problem is my rib area and my hips.My ribs hurt all the time,it hurts to bend over and if i walk anywhere the pain increases and starts to radiate into my stomach and it feels like a really bad stomach ache. Sometimes it gets so bad that i have to stop walking and crunch up into a ball.This just isn't right that i should be in so much pain after over a year since the accident.The diagnosis after the accident was whiplash but they did a mri of my lower back and found four bulging discs two small and two moderate.They also found stenosis on two levels. Before the accident i had two levels in my thoracic area that had bulges as well one was touching the sac around my spinal cord but my doctor won't do an mri in that area saying that she only does mri's if she feels its a surgical case and she said that i would never find anyone to do a surgery there so she refuses to do the mri to find out what happened during the accident so i just go day by day in pain. My question is does this sound like a disc problem in my thoracic area or does it sound like just muscle problems. I know none of you's are doctors i've been on hear a very long time now.I just want everyones opinions.My insurance co. and denied my physio,i've been without it since november of last year.Since then i've gone backwards a bit.Physio was helping calm down the pain for a while after i had it.They had heat,tens units ,and stim that they would use on me.I still so the stretches and i take hot showers to try and relax the muscles but so far they don't seem to help.Its always a short fix to a major problem.


  • I have to say, though i am not a dr. i do have thoracic injury: T9 fracture, T10-9, T9-8, and ligament damage in this region, my spine specialist also found other damage including another bulging disc in this area, but i cannot remember right now the exact number, i think T8-7... i also have hernition of L4-5 and L5-S1 and they are badly dehydrated.
    I say all of this because i have some of your symptoms from the thoracic injury. the pain radiating around the ribs and abdomen, mine has gotten bad enough a couple of times to double me over, and sometimes it feels like it will knock the wind out of me. I think that if your dr. will not help you by checking out the issue at hand, and especially since you've been in this pain for so long, you really need to seek another opiniona and make sure that it is someone who will get a new MRI to find out what's really going on. other than that, i would advise buying a good ice pack that can be re-frozen and is made for use with this kind of thing, i got a gel freezer pack at our local drug store, but use it instead of heat sometimes. i have had real luck with this, and my physical therapist got me started on this. She says that cold will draw the inflamation out of the muscles where heat increases blood flow, and though it may feel good for a time, it can increase swelling and tightness in mucles.
    I hope this helps, please know that we are here for you.

    God Bless,
  • thank you so much for answering my question.I felt like i was the only one who had this problem.I just couldn't understand why its been so long that my rib area has been hurting.It just doesn't go away.Sometimes i do use a cold ice pack,but i just find that the heat is so much more soothing for me.My massage therapist has told me the same thing as you have,but he did tell me that if i want the heat to that i can alternate them.To start with the heat and then switch to the cold and back to the heat to get my blood pumping instead of it just laying in that area.I've only tried it once so far and it seemed to help a bit.I'll let you know if i have any real success with it. On the 12th i'm supposed to see a naturopath,i've never been to one but i figured it couldn't hurt.I'm going to try her and see if she can do anything to help me out.I'll let you know how thing work out.
  • I am sorry that the car accident triggered so much pain for you.

    I also get pain in around my ribs, and chest area, and also in my abdoman, have been told that I have cord compression in the T spine, and someting going on almost at every level from T3-T11. Before I knew about this I went to the ER two times because of severe chest pain, was admitted, only to find out it wasn't my heart, after that I would ignore the pain for around a year, and they went back, the last time was last June, but till now I didn't know why I get these pains. The PT always says how the muscles around my ribs are very tight, I thought it was from my Cervivca, or Lumbar spine, little did I know it is tight from the middle.

    I do take muscle relaxers every night now, I'm not sure if they are helping the tight muscles, but do know that I don't wake up every time I move, at least most nights. It is hard to live in pain, and I am sorry that you are, I use duragesic pain patch and that does help and take dilordid for break thru pain.

    I hope you find a way to make your pain more bearable.

  • I hope you can get an MRI to be sure it isn't the disc. If it's muscular the PM Dr. could do trigger point injects for the outside muscle but if it's the rhomboid muscle then there are exercises you could do for that but first an MRI should be done. I'm sorry about your Insurance company discontinuing PT. I can't imagine the power they have. Maybe get your Primary Dr. to reorder it for you and see if they'll approve since the 4 bulging discs are new since the surgery? Maybe there's a University hospital that does PT that's covered for no cost. I hope you get some relief soon. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I'm outta luck there,i've already talked to my doctor about getting an mri on my rib area and she refuses to do one.She said that she's never seen a surgeon operate on the thoracic spine unless there's some kind of break.I've had two x-rays done on my ribs and there wasn't anything showing up abnormal so she said unless she thinks its a surgical case she won't do one.Thats why the insurance co. started doing the assessments on me they said if she doesn't want to find out whats wrong then they have to find out.
  • I just wanted to put out there that i wasn't entirely sure of the #'s of my injuries, i got a letter from my dr this morning that he sent to my work comp case worker. i thought it only right to make sure that i made this correction so no one thought i was changing my story and lying about this. I have talked to my dr several times and it seems that there are always new concerns as my case continues, but anyway, T5-6, 6-7, 7-8, 8-9, 9-10, 10-11, 11-12, and T12-L1 all appear to have endplate changes and dark, bulging disks, and also L4-5 and 5-S1 have dark bulging disks.
    so that's it,
  • Tammy you need a new doctor. Geez I didn't realize you had this going on. I thought they had done all the tests and it was a fight about what was old and what was new.

    The neck and muscle spasms are definately a sign of lower c-spine or t-spine problems. I don't give a crap if they won't operate. How can she tell if they need to do surgery until she knows what is wrong? Hell I had t1-2 and they were able to do it from the back! It's true thoracic surgery is major but you could have a serious injurty that warrants the surgery risk.

    Time for a new doctor now!!!
  • Hi, I had similar problems with doctor not wanting to do a MRI of my thoracic spine, only for me to find out later that I have cord compression of T5-6, and osteophytes in almost all discs. Unfortunately I have issues in almost all discs of my spine, have had ACDF C5-6 for myelopathy, and lumbar decompression of L4-S1 because of incontinance. Most of my issues started after a car accident, and Yes, I have constant muscle spasms in my neck and rib regons. After the car accident I developed asthma and gastroparesis (paralized stomach), actually went out to the Mayo Clinic in 2003 looking for answers and cure but got none. I have unfortunately learned to live in pain and with problems with my stomach. The asthma I later found out is triggered mostly by my stomach, but since I can't do anything with my stomach, I can't help the asthma either. The PM doctor I go to gives me injections in the spasms, which help to break it up, and numbs it for quite a while (long lasting lidocane), I also start and stop PT, at times I get fed up that no real improvement is being made, but later realize I am better off when I go. They mostly massage me, and give me a few exercises to do. I change a duragesic pain patch 75mcg every 2 days, and take muscle relaxers on a regular basis.

    I am sorry that you are living in pain, and are having this problems for so long, I do understand, my accident was in May 2000.

  • I know i need a new doctor but unfortunately there isn't any around where i live that are taking on patients and the few that are won't take someone who already has a doctor because so many are without a doctor.
    Yes i fight to get my doctor to do anything for me in terms of tests or meds. and i have the insurance co. fighting to find out who is responsible for my treatments.They need to find out if my problems are still stemming from my neck priort to the accident or if its all new related to the car accident.It a big nightmare.
    I'm going to see a naturopath next friday on my own. I want a fresh pair of eyes on the subject.Hopefully she can help me figure this all out. I know that my injuries are from the accident.I didn't feel the way i feel before the accident.
    My last assessment with the insurance co. was supposed to be two hours but ended up being four hours. Ninety percent of the time he was questioning me about everything he could think of from six years prior to my surgery up til this winter. How is it possible for me to remember exactly six years ago.My massage therapist thinks its just a big waste of time. They spend most of there time talking to you getting information and put there spin on it.The last ten min. of the interview they actually do the physical exam where they barely touch you and TELL you that your not hurting. I glad they think so. lmao
    I have tests that were done before my surgery and i have mri's that my neurosurgeon had done of my cervical spine after the accident that showed that my neck is healing ok,but nothing done after the accident of my thoracic spine ,just an x-ray that showed nothing was broken. The lower back mri did show more disc bulges and stenosis that i didn't have before the surgery.I guess thats what there arguing about. The mri i had before my surgery of my lower back showed two small bulges.When my doctor finally decided to do another mri on my low back it showed two moderate bulges pressing on nerves and two small bulges and moderate stenosis at two levels. Which is a big difference to the first one. As far as my thoracic spine she just flat out refuses to do an mri on that area,i still have on going urinary frequency that she has no idea why its happening and numbness going down the legs .She said she wouldn't do anymore testing that i've had sufficient tests done.

    Thats what i'm affraid of,i did have two bulges in my thoracic spine prior to the accident. One at T7-8 and one at T11-12, One was touching the thecal sac. I have a small spinal canal to begin with and it doesn't take much movement to create a problem for me.I have no idea what could have happened during the accident. If the accident caused two more moderate bulges in my low back then who knows what it did in my thoracic spine.
  • What about this. Ask the insurance company to request a MRI of your t-spine. You have a pre-accident mri so a post accident mri will show if there is any new damage. They should like this because it might show no change and they are off the hook for that area.

    The other thing is to tell the insurance company that your doctor is not able to find what is causing the pain so you need them to pay for you to travel to a doctor. You're in Alaska right? They have to pay reasonable travel to medical care.

    Did you ever hire a lawyer? I know you were on the fence about doing that. If you did they should be helping you get the appropriate treatment.
  • Yes i have a lawyer,he hasn't been involved too much yet.I've gotten some advice from him but until the negotiation starts i'm on my own so to speak.
    The insurance co. is aware that i need a mri on my T-spine thats why the assessments started but my insurance agent told me from the start that they can't force my doctor to order a test.They can only send her reports suggesting things to be done.
    No i don't live in alaska :))) i'm in canada but not alaska,way to cold there lol. I'm in niagara falls.Unfortunately here you can't see any specialist or most other doctors without a referral from your GP. So neuro,and surgeons are out unless she sends me. or i can get another doctor from the hospital or clinic to send me ,but 90%of the time they just tell you to go back to your own GP.
    My lawyer told me to try and get back into my neurosurgeon but i don't think he'll even see again.I was discharged quite a while ago.
  • Everyday I say a prayer of thanks that I have such excellent insurance. My private insurance has no referals and pre-approval for only major surgeries. My car insurance is no referals or approvals - all I have to do is go to their docs for reviews every so often. What I have found is that as long as you need care they leave you alone.

    The biggest prob I see is that the doctors are afraid to order too many tests. I think they are afraid of being labeled by insurance companies.

    Have you tried telling the doctor that the insurance company wants you to have this MRI to confirm or rule-out new problems in this area? Or does the insurance company have a doctor who would order the MRI?

    I hear you about the lawyer. My first lawyer had a secretary who handled all the paperwork with the insurance company and he would jump in if needed. My new lawyers office says to call myself.
  • Well my insurance co. paid for a year of therapy,a gym membership and balance ball so far.I can't really say much against them yet.They seem to be more interested in my health then my own doctor has.I realize that they don't want to pay out forever and have to figure out what actually happened to my back during the accident but for crying out loud get a stupid doctor that will do a decent examination.I gave up a long time ago on my doctor.The last time i saw her it was a big battle to get any meds. from her and she refused any more tests for me.At that point i had decided to try and find another doctor.Thats why i'm seeing the naturopath this friday. Seems like every medical doctor i've seen lately has no interest in me or is very rude from the start.I just want a doctor who is interested in getting me better.Why is that such a hard thing to do?
    Our lawyer happens to be a friend of my husbands from way back and i believe is just trying to save me as much money as he can. He told me just to follow through with the insurance co. as far as they will go and then when i get to the end of there process he will step in.
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