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10 years of discomfort continuously getting worse

james74jjames74 Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:52 AM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
im 36 and had the injury in my thoracic area when i was 25. I was twisting and putting a coke in a fridge when i felt a humongous twinge and something snap in my back. i was never the same again. i have had shots constantly every 4 months from the VA medical center. I can tell i get worse every year because i shy away from more and more physical activities. I try to stay active but unless its walking or eliptical i pretty much count myself out.

i had two mri's
one in 2009 showed a fairly big herniation between t-6 and t-7. the doctor at the medical facility was going to do a thoracic disectomy which entailed cutting through the chest and decompressing a lung and taking out a rib. (they put it back of course). i balked at this procedure.

i got another mri in 2010 and it shows nothing remarkable on the mri. the reports are.

t5-6 small disc protucion slightly eccentric to the left just touching the spinal cord

t6-7 righ paracentral disc protustion a t t6-7 slightly flattes the right lateral side of the spinal chord.

in other words... the second mri when looked at by nero.. it was decided that surgery was not an option and the surgeon said he wished his spine looked like mine.

all that is good and well but..... i am a shadow of my formal self. i cant wait till the end of the day to get in my bed for an hour. i have a non physical job thank goodness but im in discomfort 24/7.

i have tried
steroid injections
physical therapy

nothing works.....

im at a loss because truly..... life is not what it could be. does anyone know any great doctors in the north carolina area?


  • A truly Skilled surgeon can do a Spinal Approach instead of a Thorasic Approach. Don't Laugh, Thats how mine was done. I was told Initially the same thing as you. That a team of Surgeons would make A Thorasic approach, remove 2 ribs, deflate the lungs and move the pericardia sack before getting to the spine. Instead they went from the spine itself and the surgery was a success, though I do have permanent nerve damage, That was not a failure of surgery though.

    I think You need to go Surgeon Shopping. I think you are going to need the best though to be able to pull of the type of surgery you need.

    Meanwhile, I highly recommend walking uphill. Uphill because it releases pressure from the spinal cord, and walking because it retrains the back muscles.
  • I can totally relate to you. I was in the Navy from 1999 to 2005. In 2002, I fell off the top of an airplane. Luckily, I didn't break anything. I truly feel that all of my back problems stem from that fall. At that time, I had a general Xray done that showed nothing. Since then, my pain has just progressed. I had an MRI T-Spine in December 2009 that was unremarkable. I don't feel it was read accurately because the Dr. that ordered it was just trying to rule out Multiple Sclerosis. Fast forward to January of this year, I had an MRI C-Spine that showed a herniation at C5-C6 causing spine cord compression. I had ACDF on March 7th 2011. I also had Carpal Tunnel Release on my left hand (dominant hand) on April 15th due to the ACDF not relieving the pain/numbness in my hand. All this time, my mid back pain has continued to get worse. I was praying that the herniation in my neck was the cause. Dr. says that it's to low down the spine to be caused from the neck. Just went back to him today. He has ordered a new MRI T-Spine and physical therapy for 2 weeks. He also stated that being overweight and a larger bust can cause pain in the mid back. I am very aware of that but in 2002 I was extremely fit and still having the pain. I don't see where that was an appropriate comment although I do feel highly comfortable with my NS. I just know my MRI Tspine isn't gonna show anything, and I'm gonna have to live with this pain forever. It is the worst feeling in the world. Extremely depressing. Just wanted you to know you're not alone in this. IM me at any time if you'd like to talk.

  • First of all, the MRI is not the be-all-end-all. I would definitely recommend getting a second opinion. Many times the doctor will order a CT myelogram to go in conjunction with the MRI, because it gives a better overall picture of what is going on with your spine.

    KymBerly - isn't it true, though, that the lower levels of the T-spine and the higher levels of the T-spine typically have a better chance of being reached from the back? I thought I read somewhere that towards the middle of the T-spine, it is just too risky to do from the back, due to all of the nerves and blood vessels in that area. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong. I'm totally new to all of this spine stuff, as I only recently injured my back this past October.
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