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2 Years, 15 specialists and not a drop of relief

Zimbo760ZZimbo760 Posts: 3
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:59 AM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
Hi all...
I am really hoping that someone will be able to point me in the right direction. I have tried so many docs and spent thousands.

About two years ago I started suffering pain in my thoracic. The problem is the pain only comes at night after several hours of sleep. It starts on my left side next to my spine. My muscles in the midback, lower traps, spinae etc.. all go into a hard spasm. The moment I stand up, the pain subsides, however I am left with latent spasms that if I stretch release nicely.
I have NO acute pain in the day at all. I am active, can still run everyday. The pain is brutal at night and the only relief I have found is to sleep at a 45 degree angle on my right side so that my thoracic is almost suspended. Lying on my back doesn't work. I did not injure it in anyway to cause this. It started out every so often and now it is every night.

MRI- Clear
xray - clear
I have seen a bunch of specialists and all of them basically try a combination of drugs that have done nothing. Some of them knocked me out, but that made it worse because I wasn't active in my sleep and when the pain finally got to much for the drugs I was in awake and in bad shape.
I have tried 5 different physio's and chiro's. All they do is give the muscle relief and nothing they do deals with the issue. Every night it comes back.

I am now going to another Ortho that is sending me for a bone scan.
I know this issue has something to do with the ribs, maybe ribhead. Any thoughts on treatment or what this may be?
I have been to two pain docs to rule out costo vertebral chondritis (spelling).

No drugs work in any combination. I have tried them all. No doc is brave enough to operate because they say until they can see what is wrong through diagnostics they are going in. I also have not found a doc that is willing to try some sort of nerve block injection if that is even possible.

Any help would be so appreciated...




  • I also wanted to add that total rest did nothing. Excercise did nothing to aleviate. Swimming made it worse simply because the muscles that spasm were already tight from swimming when i would go to sleep so it would onset quicker. I tried strengthening my core, pecs anything to alleviate the night pain.
    If I have a restless sleep (not related to the pain) then the pain seems to be better. So as long as I am moving during sleep I don't suffer as much.
  • Hi and welcome to SH :wave:

    I am sorry you are going through so much.

    I am sure since this seems to be obvious to me that you have looked into it but will mention any ways - your bed?

    Have you tried sleeping on a different type of bed?

    I tried many before I found the right one for me. Believe it or not the water bed was the answer for me! A waveless one with great baffles (support) in and has to be kept at the right temp for me that is about 98 degrees.

    Please keep updating and letting me know how you are doing :)

    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • HI,
    Sorry to read that you are so miserable..night time is the worst as it seems to last forever when you're not sleeping...Anyway, have you seen a rhumetologist? They deal with other issues...like myofacial pain syndrome...I have it...you could to..
    Feel better!
  • MsHumpty,

    I have tried so many different bed types. Nothing has helped. I am now considering a home made bed that will alevaite the pressure on my ribs somehow. That is the only thing that helps.
  • I'd have suspected the bed immediately, also the pillow. It would take several nights to see if there is any benefit.
    Perhaps a massage first then a different mattress etc. Must be a new one as they all develop sags, high and low spots after just 3-4 years.
    I find my back is extremely sensitive to these height variations.
    You seem to indicate that you have had some relief from muscle treatments, but nothing lasting.
    This may be the key.
    We do tend to overlook soft tissues when we have this sort of pain, and yet they can quietly cause immense pain.
    You should also look at diet to make sure you are getting proper nutrition to enable the body to heal and function.
    Doctors, as a rule, neglect this area, and also aren't too hot on soft tissue problems.
    I have had so many years of similar muscle spasms, and have finally found a cure. Not from any medical advice, I might add!
    One of the main symptoms of a magnesium shortage is muscle pains and spasms, as you have.
    My daily dose of liquid magnesium has cured me of mine. Best thing I've ever taken.
    You've given the medicos a good go with no benefits. Why not try a very simple and well known treatment.
    Try magnesium powder or liquid, but don't bother with the weak tablets.
    Start off with the recommended dosae for a week or so to test for any adverse reaction, then gradually increase the dose.
    You could expect to see a benefit within a week or so, depending on the depth of the deficiency, how much you take and how much you actually absorb.
    Everyone I've suggested this to has had fast and pronounced benefits.
    You have to be very careful if you have any kidney complaint though.
    Read up about it on the web.
  • I think that Peter B's points re magnesium are very good. I started having odd muscle spasms and was told by my pain specialist to start. Has helped.

    Have you considered some nerve blocking to figure out the source of the pain? Can also be helpful into spasming muscles and trigger points. It may take a few sessions and several shots to calm a very irritated area down and take away some of the pain 'chatter'.
  • All very good suggestions here, I hope you get to try some/all of them and get some relief :)
    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • Have you been to a rhuematologist?I know that some arthritis gets worse at night and better during the day.
  • Hi all.....just giving an update.
    I went to a specialist pain doc....another one... and after him trying to recreate...or create some sort of pain in my thoracic he couldn't. He tried everything but could not create the pain I feel at night in the spasms. So he then sent me for an MRI C-Spine to see if something in my neck. Well guess what. NOTHING!
    So I am back to square one and it is way worse. I now have massive spasms in the day and nights are just a joke. I get maybe 2-3 hours sleep unless I knock myself out with some heavy sedatives, which only make things worse as the muscles are so spasmed when I finally wake up they stay that way for 2 days. Physio can't even get in there to loosen.
    I am going to demand that someone start trigger point or some blocks just to try..however they are all scared of the thoracic area and say it can cause lots of other problems if they get a wrong nerve... any other ideas?
  • and i'm asking this because it was asked of me when i went to my naturopath with my spasms being really bad. She thought that perhaps all the medications i was taking was depleting my system of nutrients causing the spasms. She flushed my system with fresh veggies and fruits and added a natural multi vitamin to my diet. i figured i'd tried everything else this couldn't hurt
  • tammy did those steps help? Please explain more if you don't mind.
    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • She noticed that i had symptoms that my liver was toxic and therefore wasn't working well enough for my body to function at full capacity. I had nausea a lot, my sleeping was horrible,i was barely eating,bloated and the pain on top of everything.I thought that all the symptoms i was having was due to the pain but she thought that it could be from what i was eating. So we changed my diet to fresh foods and white meats. No boxed or canned stuff. She also gave me a multi vitamin liquid to take morning and night before i went to bed to get vitamins back into my body. Although the pain didn't decrease any the bloating went away,the nausea went away and i was eating much better and i had energy even though the pain was bad.Unfortunately the muscle spasms aren't getting better actually they've worsened thats why my neurologist decided to do an mri on my brain to look for changes there.She's at a loss right now as to why my spine is bridging and twisting.If you have any other questions for me you can PM me and i'll be happy to answer them.
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