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Thoracic T10-12 rib radiating pain 1 1/2 years after 11 level fusion

K.Lee.WKK.Lee.W Posts: 6
edited 12/28/2012 - 3:21 PM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
I'm 38 years old and had my first back surgery (discectomy) at T9-12 four years ago. Within a couple of months, the pain had returned. After dealing with the pain various ways for an additional 2 years, I finally was diagnosed with scoliosis and kyphosis. I went to Baylor Scoliosis Institute and surgery ended up more extensive than planned. I have a fusion from T2-L3 and have a cage put in around the T10-12 area with 2 long rods and many screws. I was an assistant principal at the time and have since gone back to the classroom as a third grade teacher. I still suffer and have to take so much medication to make it through a day. My original pain was located on my last right rib that radiated towards the front. Unfortunately, I still hurt so badly in the same way. My pain management doctor doesn't want to try a nerve block like he performed before my surgery. My surgeon mentioned that he could open me back up and actually remove the T11/12 nerve that is causing the pain (right side). Does anyone have any similar experience with actually removing a nerve? I don't know what to do at this point, but I have exhausted all other resources, I feel like giving up. I'm taking cymbalta, lyrica, lorzone, endocet, and some ultram to get through the day. I feel like a drug head, and I would do anything to get off these medications. Please let me know if anyone has experience with this location of pain. I'm beginning to feel a little crazy:-)


  • Sadly, nobody got back to you on your question. You may have already had the procedure, but I wanted to share from my own experience. I was going to have a rhizotomy to deaden the nerve at the L2-L3 facet joint (a much more common procedure than the one you faced).
    I opted out of it because the statistics were not reassuring. Many people actually ended up with worse pain. That seemed strange to me as the nerve was deadened. But peripheral nerves grow back. And they don't forget. Remember phantom limb synrome, when people with amputated arms or legs still feel pain in their hands, feet etc.?
    So I'm not sure. It may be worth trying.
    Let me know what you think, and also if you've done the procedure. I'm facing a fusion extension from L3 to T10 in early June.
  • I'm fused T2-T8. The nerve pain that builds either at the top or bottom of the fused segment and wraps around my rib cage is caused by sitting in 99.9% of all chairs on Earth. If I am on pain killers, then I might lean back in a chair and not notice the pain until it is way too late. If I am crawling into bed before 7pm, chances are this is what I did. Now that I know this, it is easier to avoid the really bad flare ups. Unfortunately, this is not the only root cause of my pain. Just moving around conservatively throughout the day jams me up at the top and bottom of the fused segment. For the bottom, I can walk around the block a couple of times and it seems to decompress. However, I have not found a way to decompress the top and have been walking the line between ok and flareup for the last three weeks. Now I am in full flare up mode in bed miserable as hell. If anyone has any suggestions on how to decompress the top part of a fused segment, I would be very happy indeed.

    Phil, you may not have a choice. I don't know you so I have no way of knowing but if you do have a choice, I'd really think hard about having that area fused, screwed and rodded. Just my two cents.....

    K.Lee if you are still reading this, I am able to control the radiating rib cage pain with Neurontin. It really is a miracle drug for me. If it were not for it, I would end up in the ER several times a week. That pain left untreated gets really intense.


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