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T8-9 Herniation

martinwarnermmartinwarner Posts: 5
edited 11/13/2012 - 3:48 AM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
In 1979 shortly after being in a car accident (rear ended at a stoplight by a car eluding police at an estimated 43 mph) which caused subluxation injuries at C5-6 and L4-5 at age 26, I suffered a crushing injury on a construction job but did not seek medical attention due to not having medical insurance and thinking at the time that it was mostly torn muscles. Although I had an awareness that something was not right with my spine I resumed normal duties and was generally pain free until 2003 when lifting a box of books I herniated the T8-9 disc. Since then things have gradually deteriorated where I had another MRI in 2010 which showed anteriorly compressed discs from T6-T9 showing scarring and evidence of an old injury, with the T8-9 disc herniation still present. Also they noted the presence of a large hemangioma at T6. In 2011 additional symptoms became radiating pain around my left ribs and intense muscle spasms in my left chest up under my rib cage. The feeling akin to being electrocuted periodically. Needless to say I have been finding it very difficult to sleep and now am having a burning sensation down my spine and tingling down both legs and feelings of numbness in my feet (more so laying down than upright). The other odd feeling is intense pain in the area of the hemangioma while eating frozen yogurt (that is like a brain freeze in the back). My physician at a top Seattle hospital says that hemangioma's do not cause pain and that it is so intricately involved with the vertebrae that there is nothing to be done except for pain management, he says the MRI and CT scans in 2011 do not show the level of pain I am experiencing, and says surgery is a last resort. I am still able to walk for about 45 minutes before the pain requires that I unload my spine. I had to give up my job as I could no longer stand for more than about 3 hours at a time. Also very sensitive to vibrations while driving and feel every bump in the road. Wonder if anyone has tried the ethanol injections which may shrink the hemangioma, and what pain medications work best with the least side effects. I have been taking codeine and vicodin which are about 50% effective.


  • Hello and welcome.

    You will have to go through a lot of weird sensations and suffer a lot of pain before surgery becomes a likely option because this is one the surgeons don't like doing.

    As soon as your legs start giving way, however, or you start wetting yourself then the doctors will start moving like greased lightning because those are key flags that the cord is being impinged. At that point in time it is a choice between surgery or paralysis and as you have no doubt seen from the posts on this forum, it is big, brutal surgery with a long recovery time.

    This would be a good time to do as much research as possible to find a surgeon with experience of the thoracic spine and to prepare yourself as much as you can for the imminent possibility of surgery. As I said, once you exhibit symptoms of serious neuro deficits, then surgery will follow in a matter of days rather than months.

    As the Boy Scouts say, BE PREPARED.

    I'm not young enough to know everything - Oscar Wilde
  • Thank you Mick for the comments and advice and taking the time to write. At least in waiting I can prepare myself and family for the consequences and recovery from the surgery if I choose that route. Swedish hospital appears to have the best team in place, then it will depend on what they find and how the surgery goes.
    Good luck to you,
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