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Chest pain from T spine

ileneiilene Posts: 140
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:41 AM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
I was in a car accident in 2000, had emergency lumbar surgury L4-S1 (on a Saturday), and was told about 3 herniated discs in the C spine, and 2 herniated discs in the T spine. In 2001 I was diagnosed to having asthma, and stomach problems (nerve damage to the stomach) I never had before this accident, to me they were all connected to the accident, but no one agreed with me. I actually went out to the Mayo clinic for answers on my stomach, but got none. When my C spine developed into a myeolopathy I had the ACDF of C5-6 Aug 09, After having terrible pain in the area's of T spine another T spine MRI was finally done, and I found out I had marked cord compression on T5-6 with osteophytes and almost something happening at every disc level. This means that between C2 and S2 I have something going on at almost every level. I showed the T spine MRI to the pulmonologist I go to, who said that this can definitely be a contributing reason for me "loosing my breath." In the last year I went and was admitted once for chest pains, my heart was fine, and was released after spending a night. I now realize that this was pain was from my T spine, which I was also admitted for the same thing the year before, both times it was horrible pain and loosing my breath, without being able to take another breath in. I have ingnored chest pains I have had in the last couple of years, I now realize they have been from my T spine, but wonder in the back of my head that if I always ignore this, and one day it is my heart, how can I tell the difference? I can't run to the ER every time I get these pains, but wonder if I will miss going when it is for the REAL thing.....I am 55 years old.

Does anyone else get chest pains from their T spine?

Thanks for listening.



  • I'm sorry you have chest pain and severe shortness of breath at times. You may have no choice but to go to the ER because when you have so much chest pain and breathlessness you should be checked out especially having asthma in your history. Being in that severe pain you need to be treated as urgent especially not being able to talk with shortness of breath. Going over a plan with the Pulmonary Doctor certain steps you need to take to help you recognize these signs will help you. 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
  • Ilene,

    Sorry to hear you are going through this. The "heart attack" scare is bad enough, but to continue with the pain bites! I have one level (T5/6) and get burning around the rib cage and pain, but so far no "chest like" pains that you describe.

    Is your doctor aware of this? If so, does he/she have a plan of action to help you? I will be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. Again, sorry this is going on. Support (gentle) *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • You aren't alone in suffering with these chest pains. There are several members who have posted their stories, here in the Thoracic forum. There is also a new member who posted about having chest pain under the Other Conditions forum.

    I have occasional chest pains and feel fortunate, as you and the other members seems to suffer daily from these pains.

    Like you, I have been told these pains are due to my T6,T7,T8 areas still being in the healing process. I have most of my damage to my T7 and pray this will heal in a way to not cause me too much other pain.

    When I have a chest pain attack... it last approximately 2 to 3 minutes. They are extremely intense and take my breath away. It's a very tight and crushing feeling. I almost went to the ER or called 911 on a few occasions, as I thought I was having a heart attack. My heart has checked out just fine.

    As Charry advised, I would have no problems going to the ER if these pains got to be too much. So far, I've been fortunate with the duration and frequency of these "attacks".

    Best wishes to you and please keep us posted.


  • I get pains sometimes in my chest, especially while doing my exercises. I also get a tightening around my ribs and sometimes a cramping over my stomach.

    From reading on here, I now think that they are due to the problems in my thoracic spine.

    Luckily they are not too severe, so I manage. They do make me worry for the future though. Does anyone know if they are likely to get worse.

    I have spoken to a doctor and surgeon about them, but they say that we'll fix one things at a time. I am due to have a fusion in March for my lumbar spine.

    I wonder how I got my problems in my thoracic spine. As far as I know, the only trauma could have been a fall out of a tree as a child, but that was nearly 50 years ago! Do you think my lumbar problems could have caused it?

  • Yep, mine is for a rib out of place and jammed?/under my sternum. now for the bummer part, the pain in my T-spine is the worst of all when it spikes there. it will stop me in my tracks. Mine was from an MVA too in 99'
    Your not alone and sometimes the docs will look at you funny, its not supposed to hurt there, its the strongest part of your body.... stay brave
    William Garza
    Spine-Health Mod

    Welcome to Spine-Health

  • My PM said that of you have chest pain with tspine problems,thespine doc whats my pm to do neave block at t11 t12 to try to help some of that
  • Tammy your chest pain and feeling of breath being taken away sounds the same as I get mines has lasted for as long as 10 minutes at a pain level of 10. Now that I know it is from my spine it makes it easier for me to ignore, but guess that feeling that it can be cardiac will always be there. I am glad that someone finally did the T spine MRI, I asked for one many times and no one ever wanted to give the orders for that, I knew about the initial injuries, but since surgery isn't done readily in this area, no one ever wanted to follow up. Now they say some of my arm pain is from the T spine too, and not from my C spine.

    I have another question, I know many of us have problems in the C and L spine too, I have had surgery on both of these areas, I'm 55, and am in pain most of the time. I'm not able to walk the way I use to, am careful about how I bend and what I pick up would love to take an exercise class, but for right now go to PT 2 times a week for my neck. I try to take good care of my spine, but wonder what I will be like in 10 years, 20 years, 30 years. I look at my mother who is 84, and often feel she is in better physical shape then I am. Does anyone else here worry about this?

    Thanks in advace for any thoughts on this,
  • Thanks for your new posts! I have read each one and they have been very helpful.

    I didn't realize so many other people battle with these chest pains. The thing that always causes me confusion, is when the jaw pain starts up and the left arm starts to hurt. One generally associates these pains with being heart related and I honestly thought I was having a heart attack during the first few chest pain attacks. I have been told these chest pains are more than likely due to the thoracic troubles, but my doctors have also told me to always go to the ER if I am ever in doubt. I tend to just ride these out and do the "wait and see" thing for about 20 minutes. I feel so bad for those of you who have these attacks on a daily basis and for long durations. They are frightening and cause a lot of anxiety.

    Ilene, I do wonder how we will feel 10+ years from now. I do my daily exercises to strengthen my core muscles, I take daily walks, drink a lot of water and maintain a healthy diet. I also take Calcium plus D supplements in addition to my regular vitamins. I try to think positive and feel if I can get my tailbone pain under control, I will stand a better chance of being able to heal more quickly in my thoracic area. Right now, I have so many restrictions and it does make me sad. There are so many things I want to do, to help my spine heal. I'm doing what I can and will never give up hope on getting my spine as healthy as possible. I am going for another scan today... CT with and without contrast on my sacral and pelvic areas. My doctor wants to make sure there is nothing else going on in these areas, before they start the nerve blocks for my coccyx fractures.

    Anyways, thank you for your posts. It is nice that we all have each other to help us through the rough times and to help boost our spirits, when needed.

    Take good care,

  • I am sorry that you are in the pain you are, but glad that you seem to have doctors who are adressing it. So sorry that you're in a similar boad to me, but hope we both have calm water ahead. Please let me know (us) how the CT scan results are. My thought are with you.

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