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Thoracic spinal pain extending to front rib cage, + other......

bonniebbbonnieb Posts: 25
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:49 AM in Chronic Pain
About 2 or 3 yrs ago, I got up from my bed, started to get off the bed when a major pain so sharp went through my upper back that I screamed in pain, my husband jumped up, trying to help start to rub my back, made the pain even worse so I just sat for awhile and finally the pain subsided enough to move a little, I sat for 15 or 20 min. getting up to use the bathroom, and lying back down very carefully. Since that time I have had more similar pain only while working in the garden, getting up from a bending over position,with the pain stopping me in my tracks. I had a cervical discectomy w/2 level fusion,which actually caused me little to no pain and healed great. I also have numerous other problems, spinal stenosis,DDD,Epidural Lipomatosis in the Lumbar area, sciatica in both legs...bulging disks...etc. If I stand for 30 to 45 min. my upper (thoracic area) burns like nerves on fire on the entire upper back, the lumbar aching at the same time. I have been to numerous doctors both neuro-surgeons and orthopedic surgeons, and a chiropractor that has the best state of the art equipment and adjustment techniques but nothing has helped. I can only alleviate the pain with 1500 to 3000 mg. of hydrocodone daily. I can only get the suggestons of losing more weight,physical therapy, more injections, exercising or walking which I cannot due without alot of pain..any suggestions out there are welcome!
Thank you...Bonnieb
BonnieB
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Comments

  • Bonnie,

    I have arthrosis, spurs and DDD at my T8/9/10, and I get the "ice picks" in my back, and too what I call my "burning ring of fire" around my ribs. Non-operable at this stage which is fine with me, but the burning was deemed Neuropathy due to the issues at those levels. Believe me, thoracic surgery isn't taken into lightly!!!

    I am on 300mg of Lyrica a day, and oddly, it doesn't touch it?!?! You will see as you search, a lot of us on nerve pain meds, actually get NO relief for the thoracic related issues! Weird, yes, but reason, unknown. Sorry to hear you are having issues in the thoracic.

    Brenda
    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I am sorry to hear that you are experiencing this after your successful cervical fusion.
    I have had thoracic pain from 3 injured discs since a fall in July. I too have tried many therapies and am awaiting a consultation with a NS to discuss permanent Spinal Cord Stimulation for both the thoracic pain I now have and for the failed lumbar fusion from 2007.
    Please keep us posted. I have found many good threads to read through here regarding thoracic pain.
    Jackie
  • Thanks for your comments, I was beginning to think that I was alone in this 'thoracic spine' problem! I didn't have any major crash like you...helicopter no less! I think mine is occuring from basically old age, though I am (or was) very active 73 yr. old! Not so active now, and yet that is one of the most important things I am told, to get active!! Easier said than done,but I do make attempts!Taking care of our G-grandson 17mo. old once or twice a week gives me alot of exercise!Takes me 2 or 3 days to recuperate. A neurosurgeon gave me Lyrica after having a Myelogram done in '09,which they found 'Epidural Lipomatosis' in my Lumbar area,I have a couple of bad disks there as well. The Epidural Lipomatosis is rare,but it is basically fat growing around my spine.I am on a weight loss program,but it has not shown by clinical studies to really do that much good,though needed to lose anyway in case surgery is needed.My orthopedic surgeon who did the cervical disectomy 2 level w/fusion said (like you mentioned)that surgery on the thoracic part of your spine is huge,going into the chest cavity since it is surrounded by the rib cage...pretty tedious surgery and risky.I've done the injection(s) bit and it never helped!So..I have a new primary doctor,so maybe she will have some thoughts on alleviating the pain so I can live a 'more' active life! If I find out any good news I will definitely post it. BonnieB
    BonnieB
  • :) Hi Jackie, thanks so very much for your comments, my sister has had a stimulation device in her back for quite some time, for another problem that affected her legs, I am not sure of the success of those devices, you might want some other opinions from doctors as I have read a few negatives regarding them. I know this is a frustrating ailment as it just won't go away! I spent $6000 out of pocket on chiropractor treatments, I have a few more to go,but they have done nothing so far and he has the best of the best machines and adjustment theories,that have helped other people with other types of back pain. So any thing I hear of to help us..I will post. Thank you, Bonnieb
    BonnieB
  • Bonnie,

    No, do a search on thoracic pain and you will see there are quite a few on here sadly. Thanks for defining "Epidural Lipomatosis." I first saw that term a short time ago on here, I had no idea what that was. Bummer! Now will your diet and weight loss reduce its affects on you?

    I hope they can find you some relief on your next appointment. I have a lumbar brace that I wear higher up for when I am active. It reduces pain from my clothes brushing the area, so I can be a bit more active, and or drive a bit more. Thought I would mention my technique as it might be something you can try. The brace is made by Mueller, and is fully adjustable and comfortable. Welcome aboard!!!

    Brenda
    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Hi Bonnie,
    It is not a decision I will make with haste. I have been a patient at an interdisciplinary pain clinic for a while now. Soon after i became a patient at the clinic I realized the most healthy way for me to approach my life is to learn to live in my body the way it is. This is no easy task, but just the change in my mindset alone has helped. I was so desperate for years to have my pain fixed. This lead to many procedures that did not help. I just always said yes to everything and now take my time to decide if I want to have a procedure done.
    So the verdict is not out on the Spinal Cord Stimulator yet at all.
    Thanks for your response Bonnie, it was really nice to read.
    Jackie
  • For years after my accident doctors would ask me if I had pain radiating around to my ribs and I happily replied, no. Just the last few years it has started and areas of my ribs are very tender. it almost feels like the ribs are rubbing up against each other?

    I have to ask about the "1500 to 3000 mg. of hydrocodone daily" ....is that correct? or is that including the Tylenol?
  • :))) Hi there, You really have reason for much, much pain! Wow! what a bad fall! I fell in my bathtub and hit the lower neck on the ceramin soap dish! Saw stars...but had MRI and didn't show anything, however it was 'after' my Cervical Spine Disectomy w/fusion which had gone great...though my thoracic pain started after that fall, so beginning to think it must have had something to do with it though the ortho surgeon said surgery was out of the question since it is very dangerous on the thoracic area, having to go from chest around to back...no,no,no!Won't do that anytime soon,though the pain continues. I try to take the Hydrocodone only twice a day 500 mg. w/tylenol (not sure of the amount of tylenol)but if pain is real bad I will take a third tablet.I really don't like to rely on Hydrocodone as it is a narcotic and too much tylenol isn't good either! I have to take tylenol p.m. for sleep, I take celebrex for joint pain and a lo-dose aspirin for 'heart' issues..to prevent heart problems..I don't have them...yet...I don't think??A neurosurgeon recommended Lyrica for nerve pain,but it did no good,so I stopped it. I am scheduled for an appt w/a different Orthopedic Surgeon that was recommended,for Feb. 9th,2011 at UTSW,to discuss all my issues and try to get 'yet' one more opinion of how to alleviate this lumbar and thoracic pain. I will definitely follow up with any info. I may receive. Thanks for your comment,let's stay in touch!
    BonnieB
    BonnieB
  • :/ Hi Brenda, I am back on here! Just realized you asked about weight loss, if it will affect and/or help the pain from the epidural lipomatosis. A neurosurgeon that I went to for a 3rd opinion, suggested losing weight and he didn't really know if it would help at all, but said "in the event I ever have to go through surgery that I should get back to a 'normal' weight (which would be about 40 more lbs. for me to lose!)so I am still trying,though haven't felt like walking much or exercising. It is a slow go!I am trying to eat small meals and proper food 5 or 6 times a day instead of the usual 3 sq. meals a day!I really have to watch it though. I did lose about 20lbs. though just had a birthday and probably gained it all back this weekend!! LOL...so trying once again to get back on tract! Weight is bad for any joint problems,and I have 2 knee replacements too,so I know all in all that 'fat' is bad on the whole body and system!So..will keep trying. Thank you for commenting.
    BonnieB
    BonnieB
  • Bonnie,

    One of the big things I see in your posts that is a big "plus" is your attitude. You seem to be staying upbeat, and positive. That alone is a huge step up for healing and pain control. :)

    Lyrica doesn't help my neuropathic pain from the thoracic, but it is wonderful for my arms and legs. Now the only "real" bad of Lyrica for me (but I'll take it any day over pain) is I gained 45lbs! Now I've lost near 20, so I guess my body adjusted to it, and is now letting me get rid of some of it. My hubby thinks much of it might be water retention which I do have with Lyrica. Shrug. (G)

    Keep doing what you're doing. Looks like it is working so far!! You go girl!

    Brenda
    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Bonnie,
    Im fairly new to the thoracic back pain as well. Im empathize with you on the ache. I am 29 and my upperback ache started in 2008/2009 and getting worse in 2010. It feels like fire in my back and up into my chest sometimes. This is weird but if I hit my chest really hard sometimes it alievaites some of the pain. Sometimes it feels like my heart is messing up. Sometimes I also wake up and both my arms/ hands tingle. An MRI in 2008 showed the 3 herniated/degenerated discs there. Now its really uncomfortable. Thing is I really dont know how I hurt my upperback. I had an MRI on my lower back in 2006 and it showed I have 2 herniated discs there. Im not sure if the two lower degenerated herniated discs are throwing my spine out of alignment or what. I do know that Ive always walked slouched over am very tall, lifted heavy equipment/items in and before the Air Force. Probably improperly. It stinks because I am unable to work and its driving me crazy. I used to be comfortable laying down but now my upperback hurts when I lay. Laying is still better for the upperback then sitting or standing though. At least for me. Keep us posted what they say about your thoracic spine. It seems people who suffer from thoracic hernations/degeneration are far less then lumbar and cervical. Im talked to my primary care doc and wanted him to refer me to a nuerosurgeon. Ive never had surgery before on my spine but Ive seen my share of nuerosurgeons. Im holding out as long as I can.
  • :S H Hi there, you are way too young to be suffering from all that pain!I am old!! and I have Spinal Stenosis too,not just that old people have it but it does get worse as one gets older!But,I would like to tell you about a chiropractor that I have gone to that if you can find one in your area might help you.I did not help me because I think I have a couple of 'other' problems, but this particular chiropractor uses the NUCCA adjustments for the spine,a very gentle adjustment,not popping & cracking.He also uses a state of the art machine the DRX9000.It is computerized and has helped many people as it is set to your own weight & disk problems.I am in Texas and I know I can get names for you of these doctors of chiro if you would like my chiro's name and number.He has great credentials and I think younger people are responding well to his treatments.I too have more pain at night,especially upper and the top of my legs/hips from sciatica.Surgery should always be the very last resort because there are so many potential problems with surgery.I was lucky that the cervical spine discectomy turned out fine though I am having more degeneration from the disks next to the 'metal cage and fusion'from the surgery.Alignment is one major problem that can be helped by chiropractors sometimes.I never used one other than a few years ago and it was not a great experience,was treated for my neck...pulling device,but had a torn rotator cuff that the chiro was not aware of! a big OUCH!! but depending on the chiro you use they can be of help I think. Good luck to you, the only pain relief I get is from the hydrocodone 1000mg to 3000mg..would ike to quit using it though as it is a narcotic..and I hate taking med's. Take care!
    BonnieB
    BonnieB
  • Bonnie,
    I set up an apointment earlier today to get back in to the pain management clinic. Plus I have the one pending for the Nuero. The injections they give me seem to help the lower back. Plus Im going to tell them the current dosage they are giving me of Celebrex (200mg) tramadol, and Vicoden (dont know the dose) isnt cutting it at times. Maybe Ill ask for some hydrocodone. I dont want to go to the big guns yet. Becoming tolerant to the "big guns" scares me. Being in some pain is ok but I dont know what I would do if I was in a lot and nothing works. Im here in Texas to. In San Antonio Texas. I did the DRX about 2 years ago. Cost me $2000. I really liked it and it did seem to help. Now the lower back/sciatica is acting up again and so is the upper back. I liked chiropractors but I was getting a lot of adjustments throughout the years and sometimes I couldnt get up afterward because of pain. I wonder if they are causing more stress/damage on an already damaged/degenerating disc and that is one of the reasons I am where I am now. Ive never been to one that does NUCCA. Ive never heard of that before. Maybe going back is what I need. Im not sure. Im sorry to hear about your spinal stenosis. What did the doctors tell you about that?
  • :) Hi Firewater, I appreciate your comments on chiropractors, I too was on much pain after the adjustments, the NUCCA adjustments were gentle and no pain afterward but the DRX9000 machine did leave me with pain.I did 25 treatments and then the chiro offered me 12 more,but they were not doing anything to get rid of the pain,so I stopped.Let me know how your pain management goes and your appt to the neuro.You asked about the spinal stenosis.It is the narrowing of the spinal canal from a variety of things,kind of a thickening of the walls of the canal from deposits,maybe calcium or 'other'.I have seen advertisements from Lazer technology,and have checked on a few in Dallas,but ins. does not cover the procedure and it is very expensive.Take care and thanks for your comments.
    BonnieB
    BonnieB
  • I'm back again, physical therapy, massage, decompression machines, 3 different pain management doctors! So the last pain management Dr. gave me a nerve block that helped somewhat as long as I'm not doing any work or being on my feet 45 min to an hour. I still
    have major lumbar spine pain standing on my feet to do dishes, 15 min. I thought if I left the dishes my husband might do them! Wrong..haha....I had a weeks worth to do! Amazing how









    much our new sinks can hold! The new pain management dr. will not give me any prescription without first making an appt. Since my hydrocodone and gabapentin are due for refill at different
    times I would have to have make 2 appts a month! I understand the new rules regarding pain meds
    hydrocodone but an existing ' older' patient forgetting an appt shouldnt be penalized and not given ANY medication (12) tablets to take them through ghe days prior to an appt. I got off thoracic pain just a little but I was so stressed not to have necessary pain meds for thoracic and lumbar pain! Makes me wonder if Staff is exercising their authority to overkill on
    t he rules! He
    BonnieB
  • If I can make a suggestion to you, talk to your doctor and explain to him/her that you would have to have two different appointment dates to get your meds filled the way that it is set up now. Ask him how you can go about rectifying that to make it easier for you and for him.......he may give you a prescription for half a month for the one medication or simply add that quantity to your new prescription so that the dates are the same.
  • FareedFFareed Abilene , Texas Posts: 61
    how do you feel now ? Thanks 
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