Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Opinions and can anyone relate? T3-T7

badback85bbadback85 Posts: 15
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:58 AM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
I have had back problems for about 16 years now and am seeing a doctor that works with my wife. I like him and truly think he is a good doctor.

I have disc protrusions from T-3 through T-7, 4 levels of problems. I might not have written that right, but it is 4 seperate disc issues with both spinal cord and nerve impingement issues. My doctor said that it is very rare to have these problems in the regions they are located, and that surgery really wouldnt be something I would want to pursue.

I am currently taking Lortab 7.5/500 6 times daily. I also have Soma but rarely take it as it really doesnt help unless am having muscle spasms. The pain is really god aweful to the point where I cant sit still and am constantly trying to stretch my spine or pop it. Sometimes my legs will give out while walking, my arms go numb if the arent being used in a very short period of time, and my back will lock up if I do something very simple but in the wrong way. Something as easy as closing a door can cause me to lock up if its done just right. Thats just an example of how easily it can happen.

I took physical therapy, went to chiropractor weekly, used a tens unit, and took multiple different types of medication about 16 years ago and continued to do so for about 3 years before my insurance ran out. Then for about 12 years I would just occasionally get medication to deal with the pain as I didnt have insurance. But, about a year ago I had to say enough with trying to deal with it without medication when I leterally couldnt function because of the pain. I think a small fender bender made my old injuries a lot worse than they previously were. Thats when I started going to the doctor I am seeing now. I was too young to really know what my previous diagnosis' were. All I knew was that my back, hips, and neck were messed up from a car wreck and I did what the doctor told me to do.

Now I'm to the point where I am never comfortable no matter what I am doing. The pain and tension is so overcoming that it is on my mind constantly. Its to the point where I am literally never clear headed just because of the pain. The medication does help take the edge off but that is it. He started me off on 3 Lortab 7.5/day and am now up to 6/day in a years time. If I take two at a time there really isnt a difference in the pain relief I get so I dont even waste them since I dont want to run out early. A couple of months ago I had an appendectomy, passed a kidney stone, and discovered that I have diverticulosis all in the same day. I ran out of medication early that month but luckily got an early refill. I just dont know what to do at all!

My questions are:

1. Are there any others with this diagnosis that are reading this, and what do you do to cope with the problems? Both medication and just everyday routines?

2. Have any of you had surgery for this diagnosis? If so would you do it again if could go back in time?

3. If medication works for you could you tell me how long you have been on it and what you took prior to what is working?

4. Should I continue to see my current doctor or go to a pain management specialist?

Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated! My doctor just makes it out like it is so rare that I really hope someone else can share what this is like. I know everyones body is different but would still be nice to hear from someone else that shares this problem.


  • Nobody out there with this many Tspine discs problems located together? I've been reading over some of the threads and really dont like what I'm reading. My doctor seems to think that my situation should stay the same as long as I'm not lifting or doing anything to make it get worse. But, the fact still remains that I will be living with this for the rest of my life. As long as I dont sit for really long periods of time the only thing that makes it hurt worse than other times is literally sleeping. I used to sleep on an extra stiff mattress until I got married and that seemed to be better than the memory foam medium stiffness one my wife got us last year. She is a doctor and completely understands what I am going through as she sees patients all day every day.

    I've also noticed that some of you like the tens units. The only relief I got from mine was when it was turned all the way up with all the pads located in the very center of my spine. Then as soon as it was turned off the pain was just as bad as before.

    Anyways just blabbering here until someone with very similar conditions chimes in, I hope anyway!
  • Hi There,
    I can only comment in respect of thoracic spine surgery at one level.

    It's big and brutal and not something you would put yourself through unless you really had to; i.e. you had lost motor functions and paralysis was imminent.

    I have no idea what surgery at multi levels would be like.

    Having said that, there are people here who have undergone minimally invasive surgery with varying degrees of success. Unfortunately as you would expect it is the one's who weren't successful who tend to hang around so it is difficult to judge how effective this type of treatment is.

    Type and level of medication is a personal thing.
    Personally I never found the trade off between relief and loss of intellectual function, satisfactory.
    Besides which, nerve pain doesn't respond well to most pain killers.

    With that in mind it would probably make sense to see a pain management doc who has good experience of nerve pain. It will still be a case of trial and error, however, as everyone's response and tolerance is different.

    Getting comfortable? That's the $64000 question.
    Have you tried a zero gravity chair? For sleeping, I always found a firm mattress with a very soft top worked best for me, with lots of pillows which I could position according to how I felt at any particular moment. I found this better than memory foam.

    Since my surgery things have got better and better so I have no regrets. Would I go through it again?
    The thought apalls me, but I suppose if the chips were down I would say yes because the consequences of not having it done are much worse.

    I'm not young enough to know everything - Oscar Wilde
  • Thanks for sharing. Yeah my doc says that it will just be way too much since it is four levels. Says hes never personally seen or heard of it and would have to guess that it would be something god aweful as far as the procedure.

    I just googled the zero gravity chair. Looks very simple. How does it work?
  • I have similar issues. I have gotten to the point where I wanted to have the surgery. Actually had 2 NS recomend fusions underwent more studdies and now we are again looking at SCS. My NS has recomended a Dorsal Column SCS trial.

    I am currently taking alot of medication. 50mg of oxycontin er every 8 hours, 4 mg of zanaflex every 8 hours, and 5 mg of oxycodone (up to 4 a day). Along with Ambien for bedtime. This medication just keeps my pain down to about 5-6. I also use an EMPI tens, ice, heat and started massage again. I have a lot of muscle spasms along with nerve pain and constant burning pain in my upper back.

    I was in a MVA shortly after having an ACDF c5/6/7. I have also had a PLIF L4/5/S1. I am at the point where surgery is scaring the heck out of me and I am having a very hard time working/making a living. I am trying to manage as best I can.

  • Zero gravity,
    a fancy recliner with a fancy price to match.
    I've got a very basic one (non-electric) which is set up for me.
    I'ts lovely being on it but almost impossible to get on or off in a reclined position.

    The answer is an electric model, which I would dearly love to have, but look at the prices!
    I think the basic concept is that you raise your knees above the level of your heart, I can't remember why, and your body weight is redistributed to take the pressure off your spine.

    You might also try a kneeler chair which looks and feels a bit weird at first but actually works. You apreciate it most when you come to stand up after sitting a while at your desk etc.

    You know that "Oh boy here we go" feeling you get when you have been sitting too long and you know that you are doomed to an awkward, painful arising.

    With the kneeler you just sort of peel yourself off it because you are half standing already, if you see what I mean.

    I'm not young enough to know everything - Oscar Wilde
  • Well, just went to pick up my MRI CD from local hospital to take to my appointment with surgeon tomorrow morning. I literally lost it on the drive home for the first time since I've been dealing with this. After reading the following problems I literally just started crying.

    I'm not the type that is always complaining or to worry about what will come in the future but for some reason it just got to me today after years of dealing with this.

    I've tried every medication that my Dr has wanted me to and its to the point where nothing even really takes the edge off enough to just relax/not consentrate on my back.

    Here are the findings

    Cervical - Normal


    T2-3 mild focal paracentral disc protrusion. Axial images through this area were not obtained

    T5-6 and T6-7 small focal right paracentral disc protrusions which produce mild right paracentral deformalities upon the cord and thecal sac.

    T7-8 focal central disc protrusion which produces central flattening of the cord. There are some focal marrow signal abnormalities at T7 and T8 consistent with hemangiomas.

    Now just hope the surgeon can atleast fill me in on what if anything would correct these issues.
  • Ugh! How frustrating! Good luck at the surgeon!
  • paracentral protrusion with cord flattening at T5-6 and T8-9, plus 4 other small thoracic bulges. I have pain/numbness in my legs and lower back from a lumbar fusion and mid back pain, muscle spasms that wraps around my ribs and abdomen. My left scapula also spasms. I have trouble holding my myself upright when sitting and especially driving. Sometimes I feel like I'm going to break into.

    My surgeon and I decided to not do anything now, as these surgeries has varying rates of success. I have so many areas that are possibly causing my symptoms that I don't think it is worth the risk of neurogenic issues, paralysis or death from a fusion. My surgeon does do simple thoracic decompressions but I am concerned about what I would do should I need a fusion since there is no one in 1000 miles that has decent experience doing these cases.

    I am in pain management and a recent change in medication has helped me to at least be able to tolerate the pain better, and my sleep is a little better also. Up twice instead of 3-4 times a night.

    Two years ago I was deperate to find a solution, and thought that surgery and procedures would "cure" me. I have finally come to terms with the reality of the situation, so I want to protect myself from undue pain and suffering that having the procedures were causing me. Now I'm trying to walk, do PT, better nutrition and more rest as my regimem.

    Not able to do much, but am trying to find things that make me happy like drinking great coffee and teas, doing online puzzles, short walks with my puppies, watching the real housewives..LOL

    I don't see an alternative....no way I'm going to have a SCS yet. I don't want to have a myelogram everytime I need to monitor my discs.

    I am a woman... always can change my mind about all the above...its my prerogative.
Sign In or Register to comment.