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Thoracic herniated discs...any solutions? please help!

BostonGeorgeBBostonGeorge Posts: 8
edited 12/27/2015 - 11:46 PM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
I have 3 herniated discs in my thoracic spine. Its been about a year and a half since I've had these symptoms. I'm in very good shape, i go to the gym and run everyday, and i was also into competitive wrestling/jujitsu. After a wresting tourney my spyptmos started and they progressively got worse and worse over time...i have seen 4 physical therapist, seen chiropractors and tried acupuncturist, tens unit, massages, trigger point injections, and now i just had my 3rd cortisone injected within the last three months....im only 25 years old and im loosing my mind...i can't find any help whatsoever and it seems like every doc keeps pushing me away. This pain is consuming my life and its all i think and talk about...it effects everything i do...its getting to a point where i feel like im becoming depressed over this....I saw a spine specialist at MGH in Boston,...he told me i have herniated t7 on the left and t8 and t 10 on the right...my pain is only on the right side and doesn't spread anywhere else but it feels like someone hooked a 25 lb dumbbell on my back....the doctor told me to wait for it to heal and there's nothing he can do....im so dissapointed and let down...i don't know who to contact or what to do...I've waited a year and a half for it to heal and nothing so far..injections only last a couple weeks....and he told me to just wait...we all know its hard to wait when your in pain and need to work to survive.... IF any of you have suggestions or similar symptoms please post. have any of you gotten surgery? was it a success?

THanks so much.



  • First off, Welcome to Spine Health!! Sorry to hear you are joining as part of the thoracic group! So far for me as far as the thoracic goes, I have arthrosis (fancy word for arthritis) throughout most of my thoracic, DDD (gray hairs of the spine if you will) and osteophytes (bone spurs), and as such I have at times the "knife/ice pick" in my back, and too a constant burning ring around most of the front lower part of my chest. Like you're describing, it is constant and affects day to day life.

    The problem with the thoracic is its rigidity thanks to the ribs. Surgery for this area is brutal (see member AngelaTalley), and most times only done by a handful of surgeons, and too only when you are in extreme day to day pain, and the risk of paralysis is likely. With herniated disks, many times they can and will shrink and come off the nerves. Unfortunately not all heal quickly, and honestly, some do not. It sounds like your doctors are *hoping* yours will heal.

    Short of continuing as you are, have you looked to get another set of eyes to look you over, another Neurologist or Thoracic surgeon? I am guessing your hernia's are small since they are waiting? I have an "abdominal" brace I use for my thoracic - for support that might help. I got mine at Walgreen's and it is made by Mueller. It's thin and fully adjustable. Just a thought if you haven't already tried one. Please let us know how it goes. Again, Welcome aboard!!! :)

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

    I forgot your age! Many folks under around 35 - doctors are more into conservative therapy in their attempts to help, as in some (many it seems) cases, 1 surgery can start you down a bumpy road of more surgery. That (age) might be another BIG reason that they are hoping yours heal on their own. *HUG* 25 is too young for this stuff!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Thanks for your suggestions...that makes me feel so much better that Im not the only one and someone has finally noticed me....I guess i have to be more patient...being such and active person involved in sports everyday of my life, its hard to just stop...also i have my own business which involves labor which is tough...but i gotta do it...im defiantly going to buy a brace tomorrow and baby my back. i just wonder how long it will take to heal...docs say 6 months to a year...its been over a year and still not better. I just hope im not making it worse...and i hope the injections didn't hurt for the long run....thanks for your help again.
  • I got the chance to read your info...you've been through a lot!!!! and are very very positive...your spine may never be same, but your Positive attitude will carry you a long way.
  • George,

    You're very Welcome! Before I decided to wear a brace, I was down to less than 15 minutes in a car as a passenger! I felt every bump, speed changes, pressure changes when my husband braked etc. I also couldn't handle someone hugging me! When I have this brace on, I can go sometimes (if I wiggle around) :45 minutes up to an hour in the car. My hubby can hug again!!! :)

    Even though your thoracic is rigid, there is some movement in the levels. Mine is just going to get worse as my disks are drying out (normal as we age), and the bone spurs may continue to grow, but by reducing that movement has made major differences for me. I don't have the daily "ice pick" in my back, and I can do more activities than before. I have other levels with issues, so I too went from active and authoritative, to semi sedentary.

    Hopefully for you, by reducing movement, your disks can get a break and hopefully shrink. Also, have you tried alternating heating pads and ice packs? Might help a bit if the muscles around the area are irritated or you are getting spasms. Please let us know if the brace helps. Support *HUGZ* for ya!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Thanks very much George for *your* comments. Warms my heart, truly! *HUG* I'm on the spiney cascade, and now that I realize that, my brain is 'cool' (hehehe sort of) with it! Thanks again George. :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I know exactly how you feel >:D< I have been through the entire spinal experience now and this one is by far the worst. I would not wish this upon my worst enemy. Depression is a normal response.

    I have moderate herniations with spinal cord compressions and annual tears on (central)T7/8 and (right) T11/12- minimal bulges at T4/5, T5/6, T6/7, T8/10. I have 24/7 upper back pain & numbness arm/hand pain, rib pain, leg & foot pain. I also started having occipital headaches again. I went 5 days straight with the last one. I use ice packs and heating pads around the clock.

    This summer and fall have been the worst in my life.

    I am with Brenda on the second opinion. Also if you aren't working with a pain manager please find a good one. Not that it is helping me yet, but it gives me hope.

    There are a few surgeons doing endoscopic thoracic discectomy. Very minimally invasive. I am going to find out if I am a candidate tomorrow. From what I understand the disc herniation/protrusion has to be soft (not calcified) and then they have a pretty high success rate. If however you have to have a fusion then it is really ugly and they wait until they are absolutley sure.

    Welcome to Spine Health. Sorry it is for such a bad reason >:D<
  • Well Im defiantly buying a brace today and a couple more ice packs. Thanks again for all your help. I'll keep you updated.
  • george i feel sorry for you and i understand you. I am also 25 y,and is realy hard to have a normal life with this condition. I also have a 1.6 y problems with thoracic area,and the problem did not go away by its own :( now im wearing brace ,ist ok to corect posture but i think its not gona resolve my problem...wishing you all the best :)))
  • I'm looking into laser spine surgery....high success rate, and very low risk, just really really expensive...you can't put a cost on your health...im going to give it a try
  • George,

    Howdy! Just wondering if you got a chance to get the brace, and if so, what did you think? Did it help?

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

    i actually had a brace and put it on..it fit perfectly..it was uncomfortable but it did help...i think it helped my posture, which helped by back...great advice.

    Also, Monday morning i went into china town in Boston to find some miracle Chinese medicine remide...i found a acupuncturist that couldn't speak a word of English, but somehow he understood my problem...he gave me acupuncture with electric pulsation..then he burned bamboo cups and they suctioned to my back..(i believe to draw out the inflammation..) he then gave me a perception (in Chinese) for tea and pills to help with joints and inflammation (im guessing...no one spoke English lol)...the right side of my thoracic which was is pain reduced about 75%, however the left side, where i never left pain before started to stiffen up and become painful ...this is very odd because its like the pain has shifted sides after this incident...tomorrow morning i am going again and having the same treatment done on my left side and see what happens...its could be working, or not...its worth another try...funny story but true.
  • George,

    Glad to see the brace is of help. It could be posture, or restriction of movement, or like (for me) nothing brushes on the skin, and that alone is a huge relief!! :)

    I lived in Cambridge, Medford, Hyannis, Randolf, Brockton and Everrett. Been to China Town quite a few times! Totally different down there, but neat! I hope that treatment helps. When I was in law enforcement my partner was a big convert to Buddhism, and he was a total supporter of acupuncture, and oriental treatments; he swore by em! Fingers crossed for ya George!! 8>

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I have not been on this forum for a few days and missed your thread. I am so glad that you have posted here and have found some support.
    Thoracic pain is really challenging to say the least.
    If you click on my username above my photo you will see my medical history. I wanted to let you know that I will be following this thread to keep up with your progress.
  • george,whats up with you? how are you???
  • I thought I was the only one. I am 30 and my life as I know it has changed so drastically. I have reduced spaces between my L2 and L5 and my T4 T5 are herniated. I fell on my butt. I've been having cortisone injections for months now and it takes away the cutting burn, but not the pain. I went to a chiropractor for 3 months, did the muscle relaxers, bed rest anti-inflammatory, narcotics, but no relief. I am consumed by this pain and I think everyone around me is too. I just want to live and be happy. It's been almost a year since the accident and I've cried for most of that time several times a day. I get soo depressed. I don't know what else to do. Every place that specializes in back surgery are afraid to mess with the Thoracic area. I am hoping someone will be able to fix them with a lazer within the next year. The back brace does help, but not completely and is very unattractive.
  • edited 12/27/2015 - 11:45 PM
    Hello everyone I am a 27-year-old male I deal with a lot of lifting boxes I have been working since age 16. I guess over the years I cumulated for herniated disc in my thorasic spin . My T3 -4 t4-5 T5-6 and my t7-t8 all have herniation luckily I do not have any spinal cord problems. I am in pain for every day over a year now. Is there anyway these will heal on their own . Would I'd be living the rest of my life in pain like this I will please I am desperate any information would be a great blessing

    This is a very old thread, the original poster has not been on the forum for more than 5 years

    I suggest you Creating a new thread
    For helpful information please click on link
    Welcome to Spine-Health
    Liz -Spine-health Moderator

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