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Trying to differentiate!

mu2TreeDmmu2TreeD Posts: 4
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:49 AM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
Twice in one week I was awakened in the middle of the night (like 1:30-2 am) with severe nerve pain that wrapped around my left thorax, front and back, between shoulder blades, waist to collar bone and down into my left arm/hand. It was a 10/10 - I didn't know where to hold and like my skin was on fire!! It was all on the left side - no substernal pain. It was intense burning. It lasted about 5 minutes and I paced the bedroom, took warm water and a pepcid complete. Yes, I have GERD but this was nothing like it. It did not feel like a muscle spasm nor radiate up into my jaw (when I have an esophageal spasm it stays substernal and up into jaw both sides.) A month before I had a full cardiac work-up and cleared that as well. I am fused from C3-6, have severe OA C1-2, and neck has been flaring up a little. GI doc didn't think it was GI, so maybe thoracic in origin. It hasn't happened again, and I sure don't want that pain again! I have a known buldging C7 disc that periodically makes my upper right arm burn.

So my question for those of you with thoracic issues, does this sound familiar at all??


  • yes definetly...i know how you feel....
  • Hello Mu2 and Welcome to Spine-health!! I dont have any info to share with you but I wanted to let you know that I am here for you if you need to talk or just a shoulder to lean on!!
  • Mu2TreeD- I am going to call you Tree if thats okay?

    Have you had any thoracic spine xrays or better yet and MRI? It is probably a good idea to speak to your spine specialist about it. Maybe they will order some tests?

    How many episodes have you had? Your problems don't sound a lot like mine- but there are some things similar. I would definately keep digging into this with your doctor. I think its very scary that it is all on the left side.

    I have pretty substantial thoracic problems at T7/8 & T10/11 but also bulges from T4 all the way down into L2/3. I have 24/7 pain in the center of my back like some one stabbed a big knife and it raidiates outward from the epicenter with any kind of movement, I have pain into my rib cage under my arms (bra strap area), and I also have pain down my arms from the top of my shoulder, elbow, hands, sometimes the fingers are bad sometimes the hands are...

    Usually it is more on my right side but some times it goes to the left side and that is when I get very scared and start thinking heart attack. I check my pulse and take asprin just to be safe and I make sure that I tell my husband- "hey I am having my usual nerve pain in my left arm" just in case something happenes.

    Feel Better,

  • Thanks everyone! If the pain repeats at least now I will check into a thoracic issue. My spine sucks but these 2 episodes were so intense, short-lived, but what really concerned me was that it woke me up from a sound sleep. I'll be 64 next week and do know I have osteopenia of my ribs and -3/7 Dexta scan in my lumbar spine. I even wondered if I had a compression fracture, but since the pain resolved so quickly, I ruled that out. Hope you all have better days ahead :)
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