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New member-upper back pain MRI finding??

missrodemmissrode Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:46 AM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
Hello everyone,

My name is Missy and am 32. I found this site while googling my symptoms and I am hoping to get some support or advise! :)

So my biggest and worst symptom is horrible burning back pain that at times radiates around the chest and rib area. For a few years I complained about persistant and progressively getting worse upper back pain. Did chiropractor and physical therapy and just dealt with it. It has gotten very bad the last 6-9 months or so and chiropractor was getting worried. He called my doc who finally ordered a mri. First I had endoscopy, gall bladder tests, kidney stone tests since i have a history of kidney stones, and all came back fine, I have stones but not passing them.

So finally got the mri of thorasic spine and they found several bony lesions on my spine, largest one is 18mm on T6 and smallest is 8mm on T12. T7-8 and T9 show minimal degenerative disc desiccation but not causing my pain. Says MRI signals are not typical for vertebral hemangiomas so recommended mri with contrast.

My old doc said he didnt want to do that and said there was nothing wrong. So I took my records and found an internal medicine doc. She spoke with neurologist who also highly recommended mri with contrast.

I have terrible upper back pain, it is burning and at times makes it hard to breath or sit still. It is not normal muscle aches. I now have numbing/tingling in my left thumb and first finger and pain that shoots down that arm. Also numbing of my toes on both feet. These symptoms are not all the time but are getting more frequent and lasting longer when they come. The pain is unbearable!

She tried to get a mri with contrast and a PET? scan but insurance only approved mri with contrast and then they said we will go from there. She then said we would probably be referring you to oncology. All blood work, she did alot, came back ok. Low grade fever, horrible night sweats, extreme fatigue/weakness, weight loss and no appetite (dropping an average of 4-5 lbs a week), petechiae and bruising for no reason, are all my other symptoms but the worst thing is the back pain. What is going on? What are these lesions? Should I be worried and has anyone else gone through this??? The word oncology scared me to death but all my blood work was ok??

So sorry this is so long but I didn't want to leave anything out, but I probly did :) One doc says they are nothing and now things are getting worse and this doc seems to be concerned! I have been suffering for a long time with no relief and am just completely frustrated. Thanks so much for listening.


  • Oh my gosh, how scary! There are no doctors on this site, only other back pain sufferers, but certainly we can commiserate with getting test results but no answers!

    Hang in there! On thing we will suggest (and I am certain I am correct in the "we" department) is that you be very much your own patient advocate here. Don't let your doctors rest on their laurels, keep them hopping! This is much more important to you than it is to them!

    Keep all of your records in a folder or binder. Keep all of your doctors numbers handy and with you at all times.

    Others will have even better advice, they taught me everything I know :)
  • First off I want to welcome you to a place where people can understand what you are going through. Most of us have ongoing issues and have had to advocate for ourselves to get the best treatment.

    As Brenda said organization is critical. You are entitled to copies of all tests (once you have reviewed with your doc), all chart notes and all surgical and hospital records. So I would suggest getting a big ring binder notebook, dividers that you can write on, some pockets that go in to hold the CDs and some white labels. Make a section for each specialty and then each doctor. Make a log sheet to record office visits, tests ordered and phone conversations with the doctor of any staff. Keep a seperate section for tests again broken down by type. Then you can label the CD holder with the date, doctor who ordered or saw results and put the report with the CD.

    I know this sounds excessive but believe me it isn't. You have multiple issues that will probably overlap. Along the way you will probably have the same problem I did where I thought I had spoken to a doctor about something or I thought he had gotten the report and it never happened. You should also include a section for a pain log where you detail what you feel each day and even every hour if necessary. The doctors will respect your complaints more if you can be precise and you will be able to provide a clear and accurate explanation of your complaint.

    Hope this helps. As Brenda said you are your own best advocate. Most doctors truly care about you but you are just one of many patients. And remember "if it don't feel right it probably isn't"
  • I'm not Brenda, but Kris gets confused sometimes. Hopefully Brenda will pop in at some point ;)

  • and welcome to Spine Health. :H

    Most of us stumble across this site while we are searching for information on our back problems. Most of us are very glad that we did because there is a lot of information here and a whole bunch of very friendly people who are in a very similar position who 'get it' and provide amazing support through difficult days.

    I am so sorry that you are experiencing such pain. I hope that you will get having an MRI scan with contrast passed so that they can discover what the problem is, and then they can work to help you.

    Meanwhile, keep talking to us. That way you will get to know us, we will get to know you and we can support you along the way.

  • Missy,

    As you can see, I have issues at the T8/9/10 levels - mine is DDD, spurs and arthritis. I too have the upper back pain 24/7 and that dang 'ring of fire' (as I call it) around my chest just below the breasts. I HATE it, but too, odd as it sounds, far off the mark for any surgical intervention at this point - don't think I want that surgery...way too scary for me right now! :)

    Whenever I have any testing or imaging done (and now I've added doctor appointment/exam notes) I get copies of EVERYTHING!!! Aside from me seeing what I have in my binder, it comes in handy if you 'fire' a doctor, go to a new one, and they can see where you are medically in so far as exam notes, tests/findings etc. I also write down my symptoms, when they happen, what kind of pain (muscle, burning for nerve like pain, spasms etc.). I also got a Dermatome mapping of the human body, and on it I marked those areas I have "pain, tingles, numb" so the doctor can see at a glance what *I* feel or deal with daily.

    Welcome to the site! You will find (actually you are already seeing it) that we are all patients or care givers, and help and support each other. :) There is a search box at the top of the web page that also might help you with further research. There are a lot of articles that are written by the spine doctors that own this site - very helpful. Again Missy, Welcome aboard!!! :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • HI Missy,

    First let me say welcome to spine-health. Have a look around. The others have given you some good answers as to how to prepare for the meeting.

    When will you get the new scan. I can tell you I have hemangiomas at T10, 11 and 12. There is a new procedure making it way through out called the cyber knife to remove them if that is indeed your issues. I completely understand the pain you are describing because when it happens to me it is extremely painful. Feels like I am getting the wind knocked out of me. Try to isolate what you are doing when the pain comes on. For myself it is when I am walking when it comes on. Then laying down doesn't necessarily make it better.

    Hopefully you will get answers soon as to what is causing your pain and they can come up with a appropriate treatment program for you.

    Just thought I would stop by and welcome you to spine-health and if there is anything I can do don't hesitate to pm me. Take care and keep us posted.
  • I must say I am completely impressed at the kind and quick responses from everyone. It feels so good to hear that there are others out there that feel my pain. It is so hard to talk to my hubby, he is very supportive but he just doesn't get it, and I am happy to know that I am not crazy!! It is amazing how some doctors make ya feel like it is in your head or something. So thank you all for being here and supporting everyone who needs it.

    My appointment was just on Thursday but since it was a holiday weekend it probably won't be til Wed or Thur before the doctor gets my report and stuff from radiologist. I did however get copies of all my pictures before I left. I looked at them but do not really know what I am looking at :) All lesions are still there and the one large one has grown since June which is when my last one was. That is kinda scary but I am just gonna wait to hear from my doctor next week. I really hope I get some answers soon.

    I will keep everyone posted and definitely will start looking around this site more often, in the process of moving and it is just nuts right now! Soon we will be settled, I hope.
    Thanks again everyone
  • Welcome to Spine-Health! :)

    So sorry to hear about your thoracic pain and suffering. Do you ever use a heating pad or the ThermaCare wraps in an attempt to ease the pain? Lidoderm patches are also a good investment, as they seem to calm the rib pain. (You do need a prescription for these).

    You are among such wonderful, caring people here at Spine-Health. You will receive a lot of support!

    Please keep us posted with what your doctor tells you, as we will be following your posts.

    Once again, welcome!

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