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Herniations in thoracic area causing breathing problems

vgearshiftervvgearshifter Posts: 107
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:43 AM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
I have two herniations in my lower thoracic area and they are worse as of my recent mri shows. Since January I have been having this bad burning up my back and feel like I have broken ribs. More recently I have devoloped a breathing problem. I can not inhale deeply or this sends sharp pain up my back, thru my ribs and up/down my spine. Does anyone else have these issues and what do you do to help it so you can breath?

I was told to try a rib brace but this caused too much pain. I can not stand even wearing a bra any more due to the pain it causes.

As of last night I almost had to go to the er because I really couldn't breath.

I go on May 10th to see my neurosurgeon so I am hoping he will do something to help me. I am on gabapentin, nortriptyline and percocets but they are not really helping with these issues. The meds are helping other nerve issues.

Thank you for any help and I wish all a painfree week.

Candy
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1

Comments

  • Howdy Candy,

    As we have shared in a lot of varied chats, while my thoracic aren't herniated at this point, 3 levels are dried up, and have spurs. Breathing deep for me as we discussed is similar, but I have found good result with the Mueller's (can I put that?) abdominal (rib) brace. It works for me because it is fully adjustable - I can't even handle a bra on that skin, nor clothing, so it helps there too!

    Lyrica does great like yours on all my other nerve issues, but for whatever reason, doesn't touch my thoracic at all? I still don't understand that. The only thing of late that has helped (only short term girlfriend -sorry) is a very hot shower "regular shower head" on my ring of fire, and then later ice. Otherwise I haven't found anything else as of yet. I wish I could help more. Please let us know how it goes with your appointment. Gentle support *hugz*

    Brenda
    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Sorry to hear you're having pains while deep breathing. Can you splint your chest with a pillow to see if that helps? I find heat soothing on my lower back but hope you find some relief soon. I hope you seek medical attention if it's worse. I hope your appointment goes well on May 10th with the Neurosurgeon. 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
  • Have you had any spine surgery in the past?

    Lisa
  • Thank you brenda, charry and sleeprgirl. I tried a rib brace brenda but it caused so much more pain that I took it off. I haven't tried a pillow charry but I will thanks.

    Sleeprgirl yes I had two laminectomies done on my L5 and a discectomy done on L5-S1. Plus my ns had to repair a tear put in my dural sac at L4 by the doctor who did my esi shot last year in May. The two surgeries were done 6 weeks apart last summer.

    Candy
  • Candy,

    Sorry it didn't work for ya! With the adjustable pull thing and such, being rigid but soft, I thought it might be right for ya. I am glad you tried it, but sad that it didn't help. Question, since we don't move much when we sleep, have you tried using it for just sleeping? Just tossing thoughts out.

    I hope again that your NS can give you some good news on the 10th. *hug* I see you were in chat tonight, but I am adjusting to day shift again, so hitting the pillows soon. Looking forward to our next chat. I will keep you in my thoughts, and too any alternative "helps" I can think of. *HUG*

    Brenda
    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • My friend I hope that everything works out for you. As you know I do not have a thoracic issue, but you have been and still are a very valuable asset to so many recoveries my own included. I with you the best and that this gets taken care of swift fast and in a hurry. Good luck to you!
    Wende
  • I couldn't find a rib brace like yours. Here in Canada they don't seem to sell the rib braces in most stores. The brace I did find was just like a back brace and it hurt as soon as I put it on. I tried like 10 different stores but no luck.

    As for sleeping I move a lot because I don't sleep much with all my issues combined. I will find one position to fall asleep but wake up an hour later to change positions. Between my neck, upper back, lumbar, right knee and right shoulder/arm/wrist it is hard to find a good position. I normally wake up with arms sleeping or can't move because of back or right knee cap pops out of place.

    Don't stop giving me ideas because someone might have an idea that I haven't tried yet.

    Thanks again,
    Candy
  • Thank you Wende. I know you care and are worried for me. It is nice to know my friends care :D thanks. I do try and help as many as I can. I will keep you posted on what happens next Monday.

    Candy
  • vgearshifter said:
    I couldn't find a rib brace like yours. Here in Canada they don't seem to sell the rib braces in most stores. The brace I did find was just like a back brace and it hurt as soon as I put it on. I tried like 10 different stores but no luck.

    As for sleeping I move a lot because I don't sleep much with all my issues combined. I will find one position to fall asleep but wake up an hour later to change positions. Between my neck, upper back, lumbar, right knee and right shoulder/arm/wrist it is hard to find a good position. I normally wake up with arms sleeping or can't move because of back or right knee cap pops out of place.

    Don't stop giving me ideas because someone might have an idea that I haven't tried yet.

    Thanks again,
    Candy
    Howdy Candy,

    I just checked online and they do offer it via the internet store from Walgreens. Here is the link.

    http://www.walgreens.com/

    Just do a search for "Back & Abdominal Support" or Mueller and you will find it. I too tried a lot of braces to find relief from my ring of fire. This is the only one I have found that not only works, but is comfortable! I know, sounds odd with a brace huh?

    Sleeping wise, my knees are pretty good, but like you neck, mid and lower back hate me. I don't move around nearly as much sleeping with this on. I truly hope this can help you - it has been a God-send for me so far! Added benny? I can even handle most "average" driving wearing it too! *HUG*

    Brenda
    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Sorry you must have been posting when I answered Wende. If next Monday the neurosurgeon does nothing then I will see if I can order the brace.

    Thank you,
    Candy
  • I'm so sorry your having this problem, I know I asked ake the pulmonologist I see after he read my MRI report he agreed that T spine can make me feel as though I can't take a deep breath in, and cause painful breathing. The chest pain and trouble breathing are new to me.

    I have tried a brace, which for me didn't work.

    I hope the NS has some asnwers for you, gl!

    ilene
    Ilene
  • The problem I am having with the not being able to breath just happens. I don't even know that it is going to happen and with my asthma the first thing I go for is my inhaler. Then I realized that it was the back causing the problem. About 3 months ago I actually thought I was having a heart attack but came to realize then it was the thoracic problem.

    It is scarey and hard to make doctors understand how bad you feel but don't ever give up. I haven't given up yet and that is the only reason I am seeing the neurosurgeon now. I called the neurosurgeon's office to see if he could rush my MRI and his wonderful receptionist did it for me.

    I will keep you all posted when I get some answers next week.

    Candy
  • I went to my PM doc and spoke to my neurolgost after and they both agree in my case that because my pulse ox is going down that the pain is not from my spine. I am not sure still, in my heart (no pun intennded) I think it is my spine. Anyway, I am still seeing a cardilogist tomorrow and having an echocardiogram (the test I use to give). I do have a small hole in my heart, it's the one that is suppose to close 3 days after birth, in my case it closed 96% but remained a little open, it's common,annd is called a PFO (pulmonarry outflow track obstruction). I never would have known about it if I wasn't an echo tech, new machine, you check things out on each other, and theree it was. Years later I had an official one, and it was still there, I was never worried, now the pulmonologist is thinking it got larger, hopefully tomorrow will tell, and will take it from there. I am not saying this is what you have, but am asking you to follow up with your GP, and see what they say. Safe is always better, but trust me when I say I am not running for anything invasive, there are lots of non invasive tests...

    Hope you feel better,
    ilene
    Ilene
  • Hope it isn't bigger now Ilene but hopefully they can help you if it is larger. I am not sure if they can help you with that? I had the test done last year in Aug before my second lumbar surgery. It came back fine. My GP knows about my breathing issues and he believes it is coming from my thoracic herniations. I will find out Monday what neurosurgeon thinks and if he is going to do surgery to help me. That was a good thought thanks Ilene.

    Candy
  • Well I saw my ns today and he said no to surgery. He told me that it would be open chest surgery and that until I basically can't feel my legs any more it won't be done. He told me to live with the pain and it should go away sometime. I can't believe with all the technology we have now a days and all the success stories I have found online that I can't get any help. It actually can make a person very depressed to know that this pain could be there the rest of their life and that there is treatment out there that can help.

    Candy
  • I'm sorry to hear about what the neuro said, but I also know that thoracic issues are very, very difficult to treat.

    Have you considered another opinion? I know that might be difficult in Canada, but wondering if that's an option.

    The other concern, of course, is your breathing problems. Maybe that's something that you need to address as a separate issue, with a pulmonologist to see if that problem can be treated separately from the thoracic issue.

    I'm not well versed in any of these issues, but thought I'd throw this out there since surgery is not in your future. If you're having such difficulty breathing that you're on the verge of going to the ER, this might be something to look into.

    Take care and I hope you can get some answers and relief
    Cath
  • Thanks. As for the breathing problems the neurosurgeon did agree they were from the herniations. He said it is because the nerves are being pressed on and told me to live with it. When I move west I am going to search for a new family doctor and spine doctors to help me.

    Candy
  • Candy,

    Sorry to hear that they pretty much aren't going to do anything at this stage - that has to bite! My thoracic is nothing on the scale you are on, and just thinking that the pain continues with no relief, Wow! I find out Thursday what is on the plate for me. I think the neck is back on the front burner! I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Can you maybe get another opinion? Open chest type surgery is not something I will ever look forward to, but if they can take some of your pain away, it would be worth it!

    Please stick to your guns until you find someone who can give you true relief, even if not via surgical intervention. Support *hugz* Candy!!!

    Brenda
    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I hope you get help Thursday.

    I will get another opinion when I move west. For right now I will see if my family doctor can put me on a slow release med. I see him Thursday so hopefully he will help me. It is horrible being in such pain everyday and now it is becoming the norm for me. I am also sick of people making smug remarks about my pain too. I know for a fact most people would just curl up and die if they were in my pain. My physiotherapist/chiropractor has already told me she doesn't even know how I drive because of what is wrong with me. Sorry Brenda I didn't mean to go on. Thank you for your kind words. I am just so tired of the constant pain with no let up at all.

    Keep me posted about your neck and stuff please.

    Candy
  • It was great finding you in chat last night. :-) My appointment got moved to tomorrow, emergency of some sort - I am guessing surgery for someone. Will update.

    I hear ya about the smug remarks of a few. What is sad, is many of them Candy?? ---> They couldn't handle it if the situation was flipped! I actually keep that in my mind as a "internal thumb snub" when I run across folks like that. Or (evil side coming out), I picture them curled up in a corner crying cuz they hurt! One of our guys was complaining to me the other day that his back "was killing him." I looked at him and he said "What's with the raised eyebrows?" I told him, "Gee, what you are feeling, it will go away in what, a week, 2? Try it 24x7 and it doesn't go away! Sorry, no sympathy here!" He didn't seem to like that answer. (G) I have your back girl friend!!! *HUG*

    I hope your doctor can get you something that works until something can be done. Having issues in my neck, thoracic and lumbar, I have to say the burning of the thoracic is the worse part. Lyrica doesn't touch it, so with no break it is fully understandable that you get tired Candy. I am here if you ever want to chat, vent, laugh, scream!! :-)

    Brenda
    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Candy, wow, so sorry, things didn`t go so well with your Doc.!!!Just wanted to let you know, I`m praying for you and you get some help for your pain!!!Whatever happens you know you are loved by lots of regular and your spiney friends, of course!!! Wish you were in the US, maybe they`d gave you the help you need! I`m sending you lots of hugs and love!!! Wish I could do or say more, this isn`t enough, although, prayer, has and will do more healing! Like it is said,"when one window closes another door will open wider"!!! Hang in there sweetie, and that beautiful smile, I know you still have, will just be there! Brenda is sending huge HUGS to Canada. TC, Love ya, Brenda Cannon
  • Candy, wow, so sorry, things didn`t go so well with your Doc.!!!Just wanted to let you know, I`m praying for you and you get some help for your pain!!!Whatever happens you know you are loved by lots of regular and your spiney friends, of course!!! Wish you were in the US, maybe they`d gave you the help you need! I`m sending you lots of hugs and love!!! Wish I could do or say more, this isn`t enough, although, prayer, has and will do more healing! Like it is said,"when one window closes another door will open wider"!!! Hang in there sweetie, and that beautiful smile, I know you still have, will just be there! Brenda is sending huge HUGS to Canada. TC, Love ya, Brenda Cannon
  • Candy, wow, so sorry, things didn`t go so well with your Doc.!!!Just wanted to let you know, I`m praying for you and you get some help for your pain!!!Whatever happens you know you are loved by lots of regular and your spiney friends, of course!!! Wish you were in the US, maybe they`d gave you the help you need! I`m sending you lots of hugs and love!!! Wish I could do or say more, this isn`t enough, although, prayer, has and will do more healing! Like it is said,"when one window closes another door will open wider"!!! Hang in there sweetie, and that beautiful smile, I know you still have, will just be there! Brenda is sending huge HUGS to Canada. TC, Love ya, Brenda Cannon
  • Candy, wow, so sorry, things didn`t go so well with your Doc.!!!Just wanted to let you know, I`m praying for you and you get some help for your pain!!!Whatever happens you know you are loved by lots of regular and your spiney friends, of course!!! Wish you were in the US, maybe they`d gave you the help you need! I`m sending you lots of hugs and love!!! Wish I could do or say more, this isn`t enough, although, prayer, has and will do more healing! Like it is said,"when one window closes another door will open wider"!!! Hang in there sweetie, and that beautiful smile, I know you still have, will just be there! Brenda is sending huge HUGS to Canada. TC, Love ya, Brenda Cannon
  • Candy, wow, so sorry, things didn`t go so well with your Doc.!!!Just wanted to let you know, I`m praying for you and you get some help for your pain!!!Whatever happens you know you are loved by lots of regular and your spiney friends, of course!!! Wish you were in the US, maybe they`d gave you the help you need! I`m sending you lots of hugs and love!!! Wish I could do or say more, this isn`t enough, although, prayer, has and will do more healing! Like it is said,"when one window closes another door will open wider"!!! Hang in there sweetie, and that beautiful smile, I know you still have, will just be there! Brenda is sending huge HUGS to Canada. TC, Love ya, Brenda Cannon
  • Candy, wow, so sorry, things didn`t go so well with your Doc.!!!Just wanted to let you know, I`m praying for you and you get some help for your pain!!!Whatever happens you know you are loved by lots of regular and your spiney friends, of course!!! Wish you were in the US, maybe they`d gave you the help you need! I`m sending you lots of hugs and love!!! Wish I could do or say more, this isn`t enough, although, prayer, has and will do more healing! Like it is said,"when one window closes another door will open wider"!!! Hang in there sweetie, and that beautiful smile, I know you still have, will just be there! Brenda is sending huge HUGS to Canada. TC, Love ya, Brenda Cannon
  • Candy, wow, so sorry, things didn`t go so well with your Doc.!!!Just wanted to let you know, I`m praying for you and you get some help for your pain!!!Whatever happens you know you are loved by lots of regular and your spiney friends, of course!!! Wish you were in the US, maybe they`d gave you the help you need! I`m sending you lots of hugs and love!!! Wish I could do or say more, this isn`t enough, although, prayer, has and will do more healing! Like it is said,"when one window closes another door will open wider"!!! Hang in there sweetie, and that beautiful smile, I know you still have, will just be there! Brenda is sending huge HUGS to Canada. TC, Love ya, Brenda Cannon
  • Candy, wow, so sorry, things didn`t go so well with your Doc.!!!Just wanted to let you know, I`m praying for you and you get some help for your pain!!!Whatever happens you know you are loved by lots of regular and your spiney friends, of course!!! Wish you were in the US, maybe they`d gave you the help you need! I`m sending you lots of hugs and love!!! Wish I could do or say more, this isn`t enough, although, prayer, has and will do more healing! Like it is said,"when one window closes another door will open wider"!!! Hang in there sweetie, and that beautiful smile, I know you still have, will just be there! Brenda is sending huge HUGS to Canada. TC, Love ya, Brenda Cannon
  • I hope that door opens when I move west Brenda. Today was the final blow here in Ontario with the family doctor. He out right told me no for slow release pain meds because I can't take Tramadol it keeps me awake (doesn't work either). My family doctor decided about a year ago he will no longer prescribe ms contin for slow release as it is too addictive. He won't even give it to cancer patients he said. So I guess I will have to wait to see what doctors in the west will do for me. Thanks for the prayers I could use all the help I can get. It is said when they know we need help and won't do a thing to help.

    Candy
  • Hi Candy,

    I just read this posting. OMG- Can you see another family doctor without waiting for your move? It seems inhumane that all the doctors agree that you have a legit. source of pain, but none will offer relief. I am so, so sorry and so, so upset. Can you switch doctors? Can you get a second opinion with a family doctor? Can you see a pain dr. in your area? This just seems so unfair- understatement! I am so sorry to hear about the major breathing troubles too- soo scary. I am praying for you Candy and sending you my caring thoughts!
    ((((((CANDY))))))

    Lots of Gentle Hugs,
    glo :)
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