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So frustrated..

I have injured my back twice. I have seen a couple doctors and finally found one that cares. The first was 2009 which hit directly at the lower spine didn't bother me until after I had my daughter 2010. Got an xray showed degenerated disks. This year Feb injured my upper spine by directly coming up on the counters edge. I saw a chiropractor several times and now I am in severe pain, it has gotten so much worse. It feels like a knife is stabbing into my spine and it spreads out into the ribs and shoulder blades and at times my chest. I can touch the point of pain and it hurts. I finally got an xray from my doctor and it showed nothing. I cried when he told me this, I can handle pain but this hurts every single day. I don't get prescribed pain medication from this doctor so I use the Vicodin from my previous doctor sparingly. He has now given me a total on 3 shots in this area. It's not a steroid shot but Lidocaine and something else. I don't understand how the xray shows nothing I'm so frustrated.. he said if the shots don't work in 10 days he will order and MRI. It's the T7. Any help or insight would help greatly...


  • ben_indianabben_indiana Posts: 288
    edited 08/22/2012 - 9:25 AM
    Hello, my problems are lumbar so I dont have specific comments for you but I can tell you this

    Xrays dont show much at all when it comes to the spine unless its a fracture or something so big you couldnt miss it.

    A CT Scan could show more but thats iffy at best.

    The MRI is what you need, Its crazy what they can see with those things.

    Hopefully you can get on the right track, the frustration is a prevalent theme in these forums, you are not alone by any means.

    Good Luck!
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
  • kamgramkkamgram Posts: 483
    edited 08/22/2012 - 5:30 PM
    Hi Sage, I also have thoracic pain which radiated around left rib cage and into chest. Thought I had heart issues but none. I asked my primary who I also work for to order xray which did show issues which concerned her enough to send me back to neurosurgeon who did 2 of my lumbar surgeries in 2008. I had microdiscectomy on May 24, 2012 and have had more pain since surgery. Even when the NS did MRI it did not show everything that was found during surgery on T7-8. The pain from thoracic is much different than lumbar. It is hard to explain but more intense and affects me much worse. I try to keep my pain meds at a minimum but some days have to take maximum. I take Nucenta, Oxycodone prn, Baclofen, Xanax but never all together. I have been on medications since Feb 2012 and also have had ESIs. I am so sorry that your doctor does not prescribe anything for your pain. I have been very fortunate to have doctors who have tried to help me at least have some control over my pain. I will pray for you that you will be able to get the MRI and they can find where the pain is coming from and at least help you to live as pain free as possible. We have all experienced some of what you are going through and there is usually always someone on here at all hours to talk to. Just know you are not alone and you can PM me anytime to talk.

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,842
    From what you have posted, the doctor's have not been able to give you a firm medical diagnosis for your problem.
    What have they been telling you is the problem? There needs to be reason why your doctor gave you those injections (probably trigger point - Lidocaine).

    I am not sure if by your statement , does the doctor you are seeing NOT write narcotic prescriptions or do they believe you dont need any. Big difference.

    The next time you see this doctor, I would make a point of telling them you have been taking narcotics that you had from a previous doctor.

    Thoracic disc pain is surely different then what you would experience from Cervical or Lumbar. The Thoracic discs are so protected (rib cage) , that it is difficult to herniated them. But once you do and depending on which Tx disc you can
    experience different areas of pain.

    I have had Lumbar and Cervical surgeries and currently have 4 herniated Thoracic discs, mostly upper. I can understand the pain.

    Hopefully, the MRI will be able to identify what your problem really is.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Sage1000SSage1000 Posts: 5
    edited 08/23/2012 - 8:35 AM
    dilauro- No they have not given a diagnosis. It has been such a struggle. I finally switched drs and he pinpointed the disks giving me pain by touching. He said it sounds like a herniated disk T7-T8 w/ several Lumbar disks degenerated by the first injury. So he gave 4 shots total, 3 in the lower and one on the upper and within a week the pain was back. IThis wednesday he said the xrays showed nothing on anything lowed and upper, I said did you see it that makes no sense and he said yes. (I saw the lower xray of the lumbar region on previous xray and it definitely was not okay).. He gave 2 more shots at T7-T8 and said this should take away the pain completely and if in 10days on the follow up appt it is back I will order the MRI.

    He does not like writing narcotic pain medication because of how easily addictive they can be and he feels that Celebrex and the shots will be enough.. how frustrating I only take maybe one a day. Now I really can't take any..he knows that I was prescribed Vicodin also..
  • Hi and welcome.

    It bothers me when doctors treat before diagnosis.

    Obviously any diagnosis is somewhat subjective and will always be made on the basis of all available evidence and to some extent the doctor's own intuition.

    It's when they rely more on the intuition and less on the evidence that I worry, especially when it has the potential to be very serious, or when the doctor is a GP, i.e. not a specialist, and when he has not obtained all the evidence before embarking on a course of treatment.

    I had a GP like that and had a two year battle to get properley diagnosed and was only a whisker away from permanent paralysis when I had to undergo emergency surgery.

    At the end of the day, pain is your body's way of telling the brain something is wrong and treating the pain may make you feel better but isn't neccasarily sorting out the problem. You might even be encouraged to do things which could make the situation worse in the false believe that somehow your problem has been sorted out.

    I learnt the hard way and, God forbid, I ever find myself in the same situation, I would insist on tests, scans and more tests and more scans until there was a proper diagnosis. Only then can you get proper treatment.

    Be assertive and persistent and keeping a diary of your pain and any other symptoms is always a good idea.

    I'm not young enough to know everything - Oscar Wilde
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