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T-Spine causing stomach pain?

happyHBmomhhappyHBmom Posts: 2,070
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:45 AM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
I just flunked out of gastroenterology. Anyway, The gastro thinks I likely have some problem at around T8/9 causing pain that is masquerading as stomach pain, because all he found in all of the many tests was some mild gastritis and delayed gastric emptying.

Now I'm not sure I'm with him on this. I kind of think it's my gall bladder and acid reflux secondary to opiate use. But anyway, best to check it out since he's supposed to be one of the best in the business. Has anyone else experienced this?

I'm seeing a new neurosurgeon (my first, all my others have been orthos) and will ask for at least an x-ray of the T-spine to see what's up.


  • I do get a full, uncomfortable feeling over my stomach and around the front. It is just under my bra at the front. It feels like I have eaten much too much, but even get it when I haven't eaten much at all. I have various other symptoms that could be from my thoracic spine also. A tightening band type of feeling, around me, from the back round to the front. I also get a tingling around my chest on the right side and sometimes a twitching when I am relaxing either lying or sitting.

    I do have some thoracic disc problems and T8/T9 is slightly compressing my cord. Interesting that your gastro thinks that could be causing your stomach pains. Hmmm! I wonder.

    Do let us know what you find out. :-)
  • Howdy HB!!

    I have DDD and spurs at the T8/9/10 levels, and a constant burn (skin) around my rib cage. As for gastro problems for me? #2 is a constant balancing issue for me, but that is mainly due to Toprol. I've been switched to Atenolol and my #2 has settled down a lot. Never had any stomach issues that I can tie to my thoracic.

    I hope you find out for sure what is going on. Looks like your doctor is working with you. :) Please let us know what you find out. Take care.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Jelly, that is almost exactly it. Only it is more to the right, which is why the gall bladder was suspect- I had 3 different tests done, and he decided that although one test did show something, it was just not bad enough to be causing the symptoms. He really thinks it is a thoracic spine issue.

    The worst of the specific stomach symptoms caused by the gastritis are gone, solved by more prilosec than a normal person should ever take in a lifetime, but that right side pain continues.

    I've had a full abdominal ultrasound so I also know my liver and kidneys are in good shape now.
  • My stomach problems began almost to the day when I started having high blood pressure problems, yet nobody will link the two- isn't that special? Um- toprol- I take generic toprol-XL, but only for a couple of weeks now. At the time of my endoscopy I was taking a calcium channel blocker. When it was the worst I was taking an ACE inhibitor. It turns out I can't take those at ALL. So far I've been on 3 blood pressure medications that have made me sick as a dog, it's really been an... adventure!

    And now I am worrying about the depression. I've been such a wreck this whole year, since the whole hypertension thing started, my back got worse, selling my horse, and so on.

    Anyway, sorry for the rant. I can't even get anyone to try to figure out why a 43 year old woman would suddenly spike 160/120 in the first place, much less why every blood pressure medication they try makes me ill. They just keep handing me meds and I keep taking them. At least this one seems to be controlling my blood pressure.
  • HB,

    I am one of those that can't take the generic version of Toprol - I end up in the ER with an erratic, high heart beat, and blood pressure gets too low! On ToprolXL I do great except for #2 issues - I was on it for 3 years before that problem came up! (G) I found out when I was working that our payroll lady was on Toprol as she was given the generic, and we ended up taking her to the ER - almost lost her! Generic - plewie!! :)

    Almost 48 here HB, and I am their "Neuropathy" puzzle, so I can understand your venting and frustrations. Sorry you're going through all that. My health issues caused me to move my retirement up 2 years. In federal law enforcement, you can retire at 50, mandatory at 57. Even with all this stuff, I just remind myself everyday - especially if I feel down on myself, I could be in a lot worse health and shape. Don't know if that helps or not. We're here for ya HB. *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I know, that's what they keep telling me. That this is how it happens. And my father does have high blood pressure, and my cholesterol is also high, so they just look at me like "it is written in your genes."

    But it's just so weird, and it's been months that I've been fighting these medications!

    The toprol generic doesn't seem to make me sick. What are the symptoms so I can watch out for them? This is my 5th medication, so I'm ready to not be sick! My heart rate is fine and I'm only having the usual hypotensive episodes when lying down. The one issue is that I'm having a lot of neuropathy in my feet lately, and ankle pain, but I never know what is related to what with so much going on.

  • For me what happened when I took the generic, my heart rate was fast and erratic. I also got headaches and really anxious! My hands also got tremors with it. I just felt like I would drop at anytime. This happened to me twice on it (2 different prescription refills). After that I have since refused any generics with heart meds. I was originally put on it because in my case (and family too), I suffered "high heart rates" with "low blood pressure"... I felt 20 years younger by like the second day of taking it! I was amazed with what it's done for me.

    I have another friend who does better on the generic than she does on the brand name! Her reactions on the brand name are similar to mine on the generic. Bodies are wonderful machines huh? Another thing that I do now? I go on the Internet and check for any medications I am given to be sure there are no negative reactions between my meds. I also ask the pharmacist if it's a new prescription if 'said medication' reacts to this and that I am taking.

    I have found that while doctors are somewhat familiar at what the pills they subscribe do, not many of them *really* know if that same drug is a no-no with other meds. When I've had interactions, I had the doctors blaming the other doctors meds, cuz no way did their medication cause my problem! :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • All of my meds have some sort of reaction. For example, beta blockers and antidepressants. My doctors all have up to date medication lists at all times, and I'm always asking them- are you SURE? LOL.

    I worry, but they say they are taking the interactions into consideration. I am a worry wart.

  • HB,

    In this day and age, "worry wart" to me means being your own patient advocate!!! I check with the pharmacist and the Internet before I even take 1 dose after my last issue. Naproxin (sp) and Toprol did not get along for me! I swelled up like the Pillsbury Dough Boy! The pharmacist told me after both of my doctors (prescriber's for each med) blamed each other! I was so swollen HB, I couldn't put my wedding ring past my nail! I couldn't even close my hands - yuck!!

    Worry Wart, I'm one, and proud of it! :):):):)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I have had nausea problems for a long time and I also can't eat much at one time. They did all kinds of tests including an upper GI but found no problems.

    I have always thought it was from my injury, I have nearly constant muscle spasms all around the center of my back to my front just below the ribs. Sometimes you can see my shirt moving.

    Tried a couple anti-nausea drugs but they did not work, marijuana works the best for me.

  • Hi HappyHBMom,

    I can relate to a lot of what you have been going through and you through me for an absolute loop when I saw this post from you under the Thoracic forum!

    After reading your post, I wanted to mention that our super sweet fellow spiney, Jenny (LuLusHeart), has a lot of experience with gallbladder issues. You might want to send her a PM and compare notes with her, just to see if you have any of the gallbladder symptoms she struggled with? We can't diagnose ourselves, but it doesn't hurt a thing to compare notes with our fellow spiney's and Jenny is an absolute sweetheart.

    I think it's great that you went to see a GI doctor first and it's good to hear that you have an appointment with a Neurosurgeon. When there are problems going on in the thoracic spine, you're in for a real ride. The pain can travel all over the place.

    I have had a lot of problems with nausea ever since my fall and suddenly being placed on all sorts of medications. I take phenergan suppositories to combat the nausea I get. Sometimes I feel my nausea is a combination of pain and also a side effect from several medications I take. But hey, you never know, it could very well be from the thoracic area. My thoracic pain will travel into my sternum and it creates a horrible crushing sensation throughout my chest. Feels like what others describe as having a heart attack, but I don't have any heart issues. I have severe pain all around my ribs, particularly the soft tissue lining. Then, of course, the hard muscle spasms throughout my back.

    I think you are doing a fantastic job of getting to the bottom of what is causing your stomach problems. You are so right when you said, "I never know what is related to what with so much going on". That is exactly how I feel right now with all of these new issues popping up all over the place.

    I will be anxious to hear how your visit goes with the Neurosurgeon and I hope the MS Contin is providing you adequate pain control. I have read your posts about switching to different nerve medications and I hope you have found one that works wonders and doesn't give you too many side effects. I'm still on the Neurontin and don't know what I would do without the stuff.

    Take good care,


    P.S. Big hugs to you, Brenda, Jelly and T9. We'll get through it! >:D<
  • How are you feeling TTLC? Last I heard from you you were on some pretty limited activity. Are you more active now?

    The neurosurgeon I am going to see is more experienced in big surgeries. I am really hoping to find someone who thinks they can improve my condition, which, as I'm sure everyone can tell from my posts and medications through the year, is degrading. I would not be surprised to find that T 9/10/11/12 are having issues, as the lumbar spine is pretty unstable.

    And I should mention that there was mention at one point of another compression fracture that was never followed up on. It had to do with a CT scan, but when I look at it I can't tell (and I know, neither can you). But I'll show you all just so you can see how broken the rest of me was:

  • Hi HappyHB,

    When is your appointment with the Neurosurgeon? It sounds like he has a lot of experience behind him and I really hope he can give you some informative feedback on your conditions. You have your scans and history ready for him to review and I'll be praying he'll come up with some positive directions to take with your conditions. Any kind of insight is always welcomed and he may be the one who can help in addressing your spine issues and also your nerve problems.

    I sure wish I could read this picture you posted, but you are right... I can't. And believe me, I've been trying! One thing I do know, is that you took one hard fall and that particular fall was more than some of your bones and soft tissue could withstand.

    You know what? I sometimes think back to all the different falls we have taken throughout our lives. I've been thrown of horses, took many hard falls during figure skating, dance routines, snow skiing, etc. I'm 43, too, and do you ever wonder if we had prior fractures or torn ligaments/tendons that we didn't seek help for? We just kind of shook off some hard falls in our past and kept going? I just wonder... if we have some underlying arthritic conditions and scar tissue problems from our past injuries which contribute to our "new" injuries and pain?

    I have my monthly pain management appointment I need to get ready for. Yuck. I'm having a "weather day" and my internal inflammation makes it very painful to shower and get ready. My hips are seriously angry today, too. I promise to write back and fill you in on my ongoing saga. One thing I can say, is that I keep pushing forward and I am determined to get myself to the best condition that I can. Some days I can't do anything and I just go with it. Makes me look so forward to an upcoming good day. Oh! I talked with a registered dietician... wanted to share that meeting with you, too.

    Hang in there (that goes for everyone reading!) and I'll write back real soon,

    Tammy :)
  • I will admit that I didn't read all the posts in detail. Trying to check in while with family here.

    But funny that you should mention this. When they did my t-spine mri last week the radiologist mentioned that I have a significant number of gallstones. When I checked what that meant I found that gallstones give you a super full feeling right after eating - on the right side under your bra line.

    Go figure...

  • and hoping that your appointment with your PM is going well :-)
  • The gallstones idea was ruled out. I had 3 different tests done on my gall bladder.

    And yesterday I broke my foot. Can you believe that? Walking down the stairs. You'd think we'd be immune from random accidents for the rest of our lives. I figured I'd at least get the rest of this year off.

  • I'm so sorry that you have now broken your foot! :jawdrop:
    Did you actually fall down the stairs?
    I hope that it will start mending very soon and then will feel comfortable.

    Tell me, what colour are those beautiful roses on that thorn bush? And do they smell nice?

    Gentle hug >:D<
  • It went pretty good. I'll type my update in a bit. I woke up at 2am to take my pain meds and had to drop a note real quick after I read about the foot!

    What a bummer, eh?

    Hugs to you,

  • :O

    This is terrible news!!

    What foot? Did you go to the ER? Do you have it casted with crutches? What part is broken?

    So sorry to hear this. You are now our "aCuteHurtingHBMom"!

    Geeze... :(

    Hope the pain starts to subside real soon.

  • I'm so sorry you broke your foot after everything you're going through that's not fair!!! Hang in there this is only a small set back for you.

  • Seriously, I'm already so medicated, it hardly hurts. I broke the 5th metatarsal on my right foot just walking down the stairs, I twisted my ankle and my weight landed on the bone badly. I will be going to the foot specialist today to find out what my punishment will be.

    But seriously... SERIOUSLY???

  • I was wondering what the tests you had to rule out gall blader problems were.

    I am having various investigations to try to discovery what is causing my chest/abdomen pain. I have seen 4 doctors in 8 days and they all seem to think something different!

    I had blood taken today to test liver function, thyroid, electrolytes, blood count, amylase, cholesterol and something else (?).
    I am waiting to have abdomenal scans.

    How are you feeling now??
    I hope that your foot is healing well now :-)
  • I have a couple of levels in my t-spine that are irritated very easily and often have that "band" feeling around my ribcage. When I was going for massage, my therapist would get to a certain area around my t-spine and I would get absolutely nauseous; apparently there is a nerve somewhere around there that affects the stomach. Funny how everything is connected!

  • LOL, the foot is fine and dandy!

    The gall bladder came up suspicious on an ultrasound, but the gall bladder scan, the HIDA scan, came out fine.

    And after weeks of 60 mg/day Prevacid, my stomach finally started to feel better. But even now, if I start to slack on the Prevacid, my stomach starts to act up again.

    So, basically, chronic gastritis, nobody knows why. We never found anything in the thoracic area , although I forgot to ask specifically for a thoracic scan.
  • So sorry about your foot! Please take care,,
  • my stomach hurts bad, every day. Feels like my food just sits there and it doesn't empty. The gastro found erosive gastritis with the endoscope. I have a decent sized buldge at T8/9 also. Found the thread by typing "stomach" in the search. The acid reflux medicine the gastro gave me just is not doing the trick. I thought it was stress for a while but now when im totally chill for a couple days its still hurting bad. Makes it hard to eat anything, I'm always forcing food down and it hurts just as bad once i eat.
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 6,269
    ...spinal issues, I had the low motility with eating and everything elso that is GI.

    Having vascular issues as cause of my heart attack and gut issues and strokes.

    But now docs are saying it is very complicated to try to unravel the pain and what is causing what.
    Docs didn't know what to do with all my rib pain until I started with Pain Management. Doc was great at finding the spinal issues that explained a lot.

    So, originally thought vessels not providing enough blood to handle the food...can really get painful.. but I don't know nerves being messed up..how that would effect other organs to do their job. And then with just getting older and new things happening to the body everyday!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • My gall bladder was removed years ago, but I've had debilitating stomach pain for well over a year now. I had a bad case of pancreatitis back in January and the pain has been pretty much non stop since then. It's usually always in the same place; right upper quadrant.

    Shortly after the pancreatitis, my mid, and upper back started giving me problems as well. I've had an endoscopy, and colonoscopy recently, and a duodenal ulcer was found, but docs have been unable to pinpoint why I'm still having all the pain after stomach treatments - Nexium, Prilosec, etc.

    Finally, after a lot of frustration, missed time from my job, and being bounced around from doc to doc, they are thinking I have stones, and what they are calling "sludge" in my common bile duct, as well as thoracic disc bulges impinging on the nerve causing pain and dysfunction in the bowel.

    Has anyone experienced anything like these things? I'm at wits end! I've had to dig around online, and in forums to come up with things to tell my docs! If I had not finally been referred to a pain specialist who is an anesthesiologist, I think I may have just given up!
    John Begley
  • i have been expeincing the same syptoms. but one extra has been a blockage in mt small bowel. gall blader has been remove but to know release

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