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Hello, new with T-Spine troubles

missygtmmissygt Posts: 6
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:55 AM in New Member Introductions
Hello, I am Melissa. I am glad I found this board! I would really appreciate any help, advice or answers about symptoms anyone could give me. I have ruptured T-spine discs @ T-7 & T-8. I also have some in the lumbar spine, degenerative arthritis throughout my spine, and spurs. My problem is that I have been told that it is rare to have ruptures in the T-spine, and that surgery is not an option because of the location. I am living in a lot of pain in the middle of my back and now my legs and arms are going to sleep.Even when I wake up in the morning my legs are asleep and feel very heavy.Starting around 2 months ago my shoulder started hurting constantly and burning like its on fire. Has anyone ever experienced any of this? I feel like I am at the end of my rope because I don't know what to do.


  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    Yeah...I hear the thoracic area..problems and pain is rare..but I have so many conditions docs have called rare..so..I dunno.. :)

    I have thoracic issues causing pain, also..my right side..rib cage, front and back..my right shoulder has hurt with so much pressure I wanted it ripped off. My waist and naval area hurt so badly... stabbing and burning.

    The pain in daily to varing degrees.I say my chronic pain is varing degrees of awful everyday.

    Jenny mentioned an arthritis section. There is also an area for thoracic issues.

    I'm glad you indtroduced yourself and I'm sure you'll find the forum informative.

    Keep in touch!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • Hi Melissa!

    Welcome to the forum! I also have t7-t8 issues. My Neurosurgeon told me that the surgery for a herniation in this area is very serious and involves cutting the chest open. He said that surgery is an option when there is cord compression or nerves that control your organs. I also have problems with my legs in the mornings when I get up and walking up steps can br uncomfortable. I hope you can find some pain relief somehow. This site is great for advice and for finding support from others who can relate to your spine issues. I wish you well!

  • hi and welcome to the forum! we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. i do not have the answers to your questions but i do hope a spiney or two will come by with some answers for you..be sure and check out the many videos and other material here on the forum!! we also have an "Arthritis" forum.. good luck to you! i hope you find some answers to your pain situation.. Jenny
  • I think it depends on the doctor, to be honest. I am also a fellow t-spine patient. I had surgery in July on T8-9 and T9-10. It was all done completely posteriorly. I saw a neurosurgeon at the Univeristy of Pennsylvania who specializes in the thoracic spine. As luck would have it, I've been blessed with a terrible spine, and I have herniations on just about every level from T5 down to T11. Well, now T7-8 is acting up and it's looking more and more like I may need surgery. I'm going to try an epidural injection (meeting with my PM doc on tuesday) before we decide on that, though.

    Just after I had the surgery, while I was still in the hospital, I had a CT scan done and the NS told me that T7-8 had gotten worse from what they had seen on the previous CT scan, which was done only two months prior. However, I wasn't having symptoms from that disc at the time, which is why he left it alone, even though he knew it was herniated as well. Plus, it was a smaller herniation and wasn't compressing my spinal cord. He said if it came down to having surgery on it, he could try to do it posteriorly, but that it would likely need to be done anteriorly, which is a much riskier surgery.

    Two weeks after having the surgery on the other discs, I suddenly developed pain on the other side. It persisted so I called my doctor and we waited a little while, but eventually they sent me for another MRI. Well, apparently that disc has gotten worse. It's still not compressing the cord, but it IS pressing on the nerve root. For now we're treating it conservatively. I just finished a round of oral steroids, which did absolutely nothing. The next step is the epidural injection. Fingers crossed that works.

    Anyway, just last week I went to my 6-week (almost 7, really) post-op appt, and we talked about what would happen if it came to surgery, and he made it sound like it would be easy and that he'd be able to do it all posteriorly by just widening my incision. He made no mention of the posterior approach. In fact, I didn't even think of it...it was my husband that reminded me of it after the fact. So if it DOES come down to surgery, I'll talk to him about it.

    My suggestion to you is to find a surgeon at a larger, teaching hospital. As I said, I go to the University of Pennsylvania, and I travel an hour and a half to get there. But, it's worth it to have a surgeon who specializes in the t-spine. Most surgeons won't even touch that area of the spine.
  • Kim, Thank you so much!!...I was told that if surgery had been an option, that they would have to go through the chest and lay aside the heart!!..Today is awful,the pain is at a level that I can't get control of it. It is wrapping around my left side and so intense that it is making feel like I am going to vomit. Last night a section right over the T8/9 , about 4 inches long went numb and stayed that way about 45 minutes. It has happened before. When I try to explain to people that anything which involves holding my arms up or out at any degree causes horrific pain ,they can't seemed to grasp it.Hanging clothes in the closet will put me in bed for days at a time. Brushing my hair is agonizing, and I really don't think my family Doctor gets it. He is like .."I have a ruptured disc in my neck and it never causes pain"..I am happy for him but this is not the case for me! As for steroid injections or pills, they are useless, what are we to do?
  • Have you been to a neurosurgoen yet? I would definitely recommend looking around and seeing if you can find one that specializes in the t-spine. Previously it was thought that most people had herniations in the t-spine that they weren't even aware of, and that they rarely cause pain. However, that is totally not the case anymore. While t-spine surgery is still not nearly as common as the cervical or lumbar spine, more and more doctors are becoming aware of the fact it DOES cause pain. And newer, less invasive procedures are available. As I said, my previous surgery on T8-9-10 was done completely posteriorly. I'm hoping that if I end up needing another surgery on T7-8, that it can be done from the back as well. However, initially my doctor said it may need to be done from the front, and just last week he said it can be done from the back. So I'll have to question him more about that.

    I totally know what you mean about the pain. My pain starts anytime I am on my feet for more than a few minutes. It's a burning pain that wraps around my left side. I also have really bad sciatica down my left leg, but my doctor doesn't think it's related. I don't have any herniations in the lumbar spine, so not sure what's causing it. I am being evaluated for ankylosing spondylitis, so perhaps that is what's causing it? Not sure.
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