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HELP! Have you had this thoracic pain??

jewelspetjjewelspet Posts: 51
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:47 AM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
I am having constant pain in the thoracic area = burning, feeling the bulge sometimes like a knife in the bra area of the back or a really big fist poking me in my bra area of back. . Recently when it's really bad it hurts where I just explained & comes straight thru to my chest in front . .
Terrible. . Can get no position to get relief. . I've wondered if I'd ever know if I was really having a heart attack because this hurts as I'd think a heart attack could - - infact earlier today I took a baby asprin just to be on the safe side. The center of the chest was burning, sqeezing and so was the center of my back. . The awful pain in the front finally got some better but I was afraid to eat anything tonight because if I eat anything much lately I bloat up something terrible. .

Does thoracic pain cause stomach bloating sometimes when it is bad??

I can feel the bulges out to the left of my spinal cord. . Last night I work up hurting & felt like I had another one out and the pain was to the right of the spinal cord.

I'm so tired of hurting - - Don't think I can take much more
& my husband is going out of town tomorrow a.m. for a good wk.
I dread being home alone in pain - but know he'll be glad to
be away from my complaining.


  • Jewelspet,

    With me I have DDD (black disks) and bone spurs (Osteophytes) at T8/9/10, along with multi level arthrosis (arthritis). I have a constant burning ring more so noticed in the front of my chest below my bra to about 3/4 inches above my belly button. At times I have the hot ice pick in my back just below the bra strap, and it is gets really fussy, it feels like my rib is pulling out to the left - fortunately that is not super common unless I slouch a lot!

    Lyrica takes care of around 80-85% of my nerve pain, but for some reason it doesn't touch any of my thoracic pain/burns. My NS calls mine Neuropathic pain. I am not even on the map for any surgical intervention, so just trying to deal with it.

    I'm bloated a bit, but for me it's call Lyrica fat! (G) Seriously, I haven't noticed any differences that I can attribute to my T-spine.

    Is your skin in that area super sensitive? I can't have anything touch that ring of fire! I have a abdominal brace that I use as a 'rib' brace, and that helps tremendously.

    Have you talked with your doctor (spine specialist I hope) yet? When my pain started, my NS had me get an MRI after he examined me.

    Sorry to hear the hubby is going away when your hurting. Gentle *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Just guessing here but as Brenda stated you would not be able to feel those. So I would think you may have some trigger points from the spasms. I myself am going to do my first round of thoracic trigger points starting in October to see if that will calm things down a bit. Do you have a ten's unit that you can use to help. What kind of muscle relaxer are you taking. As far as bloating issues, I get that but has more to do with my bladder issues and is more indicative that I need to self cath. I am a big proponent if you have other issues going on you need to see your primary care doctor and not just think it is coming off your spine. So if i was in your shoes and having bloating issues and stomach problems I would go see my primary care doctor and get it check out, as to what is going on.
  • I've been taking neurontin, 200mg every 8 hours.. and as far as i go, it has zero effect on anything thoracic.

  • angieouchie said:
    I've been taking neurontin, 200mg every 8 hours.. and as far as i go, it has zero effect on anything thoracic.
    Wow! Sad way to feel normal! I guess I am going to try and do some research, as now *I* am very curious as to why so many (myself included of course) get NO relief with nerve meds for the thoracic. What's up with that?

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Aviatrix - Yes I am senitive in the thoracic area. I can not even wear my bra! I've been wearing a loose sports bra.

    I take Neurontin - 200 mg. - I refuse to take more at this point - because it causes weight gain in some people on high mg.

    I take a Baclofen muscle relaxant every night. I've tried it during the day but it doesn't help the thoracic pain.

    I use tramadol normally. I got the time release tramadol this wk to try - 100 mg. each. . Actually I don't like it. I can tell more pain relief with the regular tramadol than the time release.
    This afternoon I had somewhere to go & I didn't want to be miserable - Was going to eat there. I felt the bloat feeling even before I went & the thoracic pain - I took 1 regular tramadol and 5mg xanax. It seem to work real well & relax the area better together than anything I've tried, although it only lasted for about 3 hrs - but still it helped.

    I've had my stomach checked & it was okay - Although I read somewhere on here that tramadol does cause stomach problems - I'm still wondering if the thoracic causes stomach problems - like indigestion if you eat too much. I just can't eat as much as I did.

    I take Ambiem to sleep. (I had got off it not too long ago - then the thoracic pain came back with a vengeance so I'm back on it)

    Are the TRIGGER POINTS injections a steriod?? I'm trying to get in w/ a Pain Specialist now - but it will take about 3 wks to get in.

    Hugs to all (Yes - gentle hugs!!)

    View Profile for MRI
  • Nodding, I have one bra in particular I can wear, the others end up irritating me in short time. I can't wear the sports bras as the bottom of the front sits right on my fire spot.

    As for the trigger point injections. Trigger points are 'knots' of hard muscle that they try to break up with these shots. The injection usually contains a local anesthetic and yes Jewelspet, they sometimes include a corticosteroid . What the goal is with the injection is to hit the trigger point, and hopefully make it inactive and as such, hopefully the the pain is reduced or alleviated. In real words, totally relax that knot (muscle area).

    I've had them for my shoulder and neck. Helped the shoulder, but not the neck in my case. The good thing about these as they normally only take a few minutes, and the best part, in the doctors office! I hope they help you Jewelspet. :) Gentle *HUGZ* back to ya! :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,845
    is still the most difficult to treat and to attempt to get under control.

    One of my best friend's wife was a young promising physician. I felt she was so go, I used her as my PCP.
    She started having thoracic problems and by the time she was 35, she had to leave her medical practice, go on disability because she could no longer function.

    There is something about thoracic pain that does not let up. With all the pain medications I have used, it has helped with my cervical and lumbar pain, but barely touches my thoracic pain.

    At times, and right now it is one of them, I live with this stabbing burning pain between my shoulder blades, chest pain, and at times loss of breathe.

    I can easily relate to anyone suffering from thoracic pain
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • At my first NS appointment they were asking for my medical history and how I got hurt, so I started telling them what happenend and they said, "hold on, just your neck."

    I was like, "Yeah but my thoracic is KILLING me!"

    The nurse says to me, (something like this..)
    "your insurance only requested us work on your neck, and besides, anything cervical take presidence over thoracic, anyway. If the surgeon sees something in your t-spine requiring our attention, we will handle that with your insurance, okay? I don't know what you have going on there, but you are walking so take it from me, you don't want to go messing around in there if you don't have to."

    anyone ever heard of anything like that?

    thank you!!!
  • Not quite in the manner she said to you. I have noticed thought that for diagnostic testing and things, for some reason (insurance?) they break the regions up.

    You and I have issues all along the spine, the doctors know it, but they don't prescribe a "full spine MRI" (at least mine doesn't), instead, MRI Cervical, MRI Thoracic etc. I know after my second fusion I was getting more and more knifing in the back, and my surgeon point blank says, "I'm sure there are issues in your thoracic, but lets focus on the neck and get it squared away first." So.. (humor coming) Maybe they just don't multi-task well! (G)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • No, I can't say that I have ever had a response quite like the one you have quoted.

    I know some insurance companies do kind of "dictate" approved procedures, surgeries, medications, etc. I have no idea if this is one of those particular insurance scenarios, but when in doubt... you can always place a call to your insurance company to find out.

    I don't know quite what to make of what the nurse said to you regarding your thoracic pain. Did the surgeon examine your thoracic area?

    The only comment I can make regarding what the nurse said, is that once I sign in to any of my doctor appointments... I am sent to lay down in one of their exam rooms until it is my turn to be seen. Once I make the walk from the parking lot to their offices, I am in full thoracic spasms and unable to sit very long. There have been times I have had to be wheeled out of monthly visits, instead of using my walker, at the insistance of my doctor.

    Please let us know how you checked out and how you are feeling.

    I know I owe you a PM and I promise to get that to you real soon.

    Take good care,

    Tammy :)
  • Jewelspet.. The tramadol I take makes my tummy yucky (medical term) too. I have Zofran for the nausea, I don't use it much but I do try to eat when I take it and that helps a bit. I used the exrelease ultram for about 3 months..200mg but my insurance quit paying for all of it so, at $186.oo co-pay for 30 pills, i gave up on that, but i really did like it better. that was when I was only taking about 200mg a day anyway, i had a medium level of dull pain for the whole day, no major spikes. I liked the fact that I had no rollercoaster feeling, it was constant. I really liked that. but now I take 100mgs every 4-6 hours.. usually every 6. and I take a percocet with it. I am getting good relief with it but it is a hassle. whatev, as long as it works! I hope it works for you girl!

    I'm okay, I was never in a situation where I had to be wheeled out of the exam room, bless your heart!
    My problems are minor by comparison, to any of you. I see my NS today, I shall see, they never looked at my neck or my thoracic, just the mri. checked my reflexes which are hyper senstive in the legs. Did a tourneqette test on my arm, but the problem is 10x worse when I lay down so, it's in my neck. I guess I will know more later today..lol my carpaltunnel is mild (great) so it's not what is causing the pain.

    Totally no good at multitasking!!!!!LOL

  • jewelspet said:
    I take Neurontin - 200 mg. - I refuse to take more at this point - because it causes weight gain in some people on high mg.
    I don't see how (just based on my personal experience) anyone can even realistically determine if the Neurontin at that low of a dose, is helping at all.

    People report weight gain with it, but I think so many of us are so worried about weight gain due to inactivity, that Neurontin gets blamed regardless as to whether it is the culprit or not. I do notice that Neurontin causes me to crave certain foods, but knock on wood has never caused me to gain weight.

    I have been on Neurontin for over 10 years, the last 4 at a dose over the maximum 3600mg per day recommended. If I drop the amount I take by say 200mg three times a day, then I can tell whether it is really helping or not. So I guess it is possible in some, to feel its effects at such a low dose.

    One thing I wanted to ask some of you feeling the burning and the pressure in your chest right where the bra comes across. Have any of you had your doc check to see if you have some sort of stomach irritation going on from your pain meds and muscle relaxers? I have had bouts of stomach irritation where it feels very similar to what you are describing and the only relationship to my spine, is it was caused by some of the pain meds I was taking.

    Well I hope you folks have a great day

  • C,

    When my thoracic "ring of fire" started, my NS did a full exam along with MRI. He deemed mine Neuropathy from the T8/9 - he didn't think the T10 was adding to it. I have solid black disks between those levels, but T8/9 also has bone spurs. Then the fun starts when that knife goes in my back there! :)

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

  • over the last couple of weeks, I have seen several doctors about pains around my chest and abdomen.
    One night, the pain was so bad that I ended up in ER. I am having lots of tests done to try to find out what is causing them.

    I have had blood tests on liver function, thyroid, amylase, urea and electrolytes just some of them. I have been called back to have some of these tests repeated. (??) I am also awaiting ultrasound scans of my abdomen (gall bladder, liver +++ ??) They have also ordered an ECG.

    I am also going to be having an MRI scan of my thoracic and cervical spine.

    I hope that they can discover what is causing these pains, and then find a way to help reduce them.

  • Funny how you can think you're the only one that feels a certain type of pain, but obviously all of you "know" this pain!

    I have to say that I've had some good luck with trigger point injections in and around the t-spine area (my doctors use Marcaine, a longer acting anaesthetic than Lidocaine), but of course they don't last. Several years ago I underwent several prolotherapy treatments, and it seems to me I had some decent relief from that. Unfortunately, it was also short-lived, and it would cost me a fortune to fly to Vancouver, spend a night or two there, then fly home....on top of paying for the treatments (they aren't approved by Medical Services here). With any types of injections around the t-spine or rib cage, they have to be very careful of lung punctures. As for meds, I'm on 900 mg of Gabapentin (Neurontin), and it doesn't seem to touch the thoracic pain, and nor does Flurbiprofen, the anti-inflammatory. I just started back on Baclofen a couple of weeks ago, so once I'm up to three times a day, I'll see if there is any change.

    The wrap-around pain is very persistent; I feel like I want to put heat on it, but sometimes ice eases it off enough so that I can breathe. Wearing a bra has again become extremely uncomfortable. I know the "hot poker" well, and it tends to go from front to back, or vice versa, right through the sternum. I broke my sternum many years ago after a fall, and I wondered if that might be why I have issues now, but I think it's all just related to the many issues that have reared their ugly heads.

    I have to say that I got about 12 hours of relief the other day when I went for a massage. The therapist worked out a bunch of trigger points, but she also found a bunch of attachment areas that were irritated (I think they may have been enthesitis points). Some massages make things much, much worse, but this one seemed to be helpful. I booked an appointment with her again next week with hopes that I'll have a big longer relief.

    I haven't tried any of the belts or braces, and haven't even researched them, but I will. I remember one of my physiotherapists having me stand while she wrapped her hands around my lower ribs and kind of mobilized my ribcage a bit by moving it up and down...I do remember that feeling really good, so I may have to see if my current physio would try that again to take a bit of pressure off.

    Take care, and let's hope that someone comes up with something that at least gives some longer lasting relief.


  • If I put I take 200mg of Neurontin a day that was a error. I'm taking 300mg - twice a day. I'm suppose to be taking it 3 x a day, but I couldn't tell that much difference so I backed to twice a day because I do have such a problem w/ wt. gain & I don't need the added wt. w/all this problem w/my back.

    The pain specialist did the medial nerve (putting pain med in thoracic area) & he expected me to have immediate relief - but I didn't. I hurt worse that night. (I was to tell him the 1st sign of pain reoccuring) but it actually never left!! When I returned for appt. & told him this & asked was this possible he said yes & that meant he could not burne the nerves. We will try the cortisone I guess next wk in thoracic & lumbar - but I hate steriods & what they do to me (climb a wall!!)

    My worse pain is sitting - - up until tonight - I have tried my best to stay up on feet till they wear out - then lay down (but sometimes laying flat hurts too) Sitting really puts the burn on me
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