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t8-t9 disc herniation

so im slowly running out of options, due to the career i have chosen i dont have the option to be patient or try and "manage the pain" tried epidural, physio, most conservative care options. im really considering surgery, not sure i have much other choice. pretty much the only pain i have is right next to the disc thats herniated on the left hand side it feels like a pressure point, that muscle will go into spasm and at that point it feels like ive been stabbed when its playing up. my thoracic spine also doubles up as an iron rod when i get up. had this for 8 months, anyone know anything else i can try before surgery, or if their is a chance it will sort itself out given time?


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    None of us are qualified to make suggestions or recommendations about treatment options . For that, you really do need to sit down and discuss your options with either a board certified ortho or neurosurgeon who specializes in the thoracic spine. Those surgeons usually are found at major hospitals in the larger cities or teaching hospitals near you. Since surgery is more difficult in the thoracic area due to the large organ systems,and the difficulties in reaching those areas , you really are going to need to consult with a thoracic ortho or neurosurgeon who specializes in the spine....
    Good luck
  • Hi Jon

    As Sandi says Thoracic surgery is very complicated. Basically they take you apart and put you back together. It should really be the last resort.

    You said you had epidurals..did that help? That can be a great diagnostic tool, I would want some guarantee that surgery will be the answer beforehand. Definately get a few opinions from thoracic surgeons. Also ask what you could expect as post surgery pain from the surgery itself. The fix could cause more problems. This is why thoracic surgery is truly the last resort.
  • jon123jjon123 Posts: 46
    edited 06/12/2013 - 3:32 AM
    unfortunately the epidurals didn't really help, i got maybe a few days of slight relief but nothing major. the issue is at this point i have no hope of getting my life back without intervention. my pain is focused all around the poisition of the herniated disc. im not sure what other options their are for thoracic discs after epidurals? i have a meeting with my consultant tomorrow, but i will most likely push for surgery, that way their is a good chance that after recovery i can get back to my life. my career is a big steer on this, i will basically have to give up my job (which i love) if i cant sort this out, its a very active job so unfortunately i dont have the luxury of time unless they could say that in x amount of time their is a real significant chance this will sort itself out. ie did another mri to show that the bulge is slowly receding etc
  • Hey Jon
    Sorry you are going through this... everyone is right, thoracic surgery is very complicated. I have had three surgeries involving different levels of my thoracic. spine. Healing is an ENTIRELY DIFFERENT "ball game". I'd be surprised is your surgeon would recommend you returning to a physical job even AFTER healing if you choose to go through the surgery. Have you discussed this specifically with the surgeon, the possibility of returning to a physical job afterwards? I was basically told I would NEVER be "approved" to lift anything over a gallon of milk, and even then, not often, etc. However, my surgery did involve other issues. (Having small children I have had to on occasions pick them up etc, and I paid for it dearly for days afterwards) And please be certain your surgeon has extensive training and experience with the thoracic spine. Best of luck to you. Surgery is such a hard choice.... just realize that there is a huge possibility that it won't improve things... It will just "hopefully" keep them from getting worse.
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • i appreciate the comments thus far, i dont think i would need a fusion, a lot of my symptoms are secondary to the disc itself, ie the bulge is displacing my spinal cord, my brain detects this and causes the muscles around my spinal cord to go into spasm to prevent further "harm" to my spinal cord. its the muscles going into spasm that are causing me the pain more than the disc itself, but until the disc is not touching my cord im going to have these issues. also i dont know whether they do discograms on thoracic discs? though it was only lumbar/cervical? i cant see why their would be limitations on activity after a microdiscectomy has been performed (obviously if it was a fusion i can see why that might be an issue)
  • If it is the muscles spasming that is causing the pain you feel, wouldn't a more reasonable option be to try several of the various muscle relaxants out there before undergoing more surgery? And I am not sure about a microdiscectomy in the thoracic spine......anyone know if it can be done? I thought because of the way the thoracic vertebre are, that it would make it that much more difficult since there isn't as much room through the thoracic areas as there is in the lumbar or cervical areas...
  • possibly, i havent been prescribed muscle relaxants as of yet, my pain appears to be spreading which is not great, i appear to have stiffness now between my shoulder blades that i didnt used to have and a bit of pain on my right side of my spine again which i never used to have....
  • so been to the consultant, he has basically said that at this stage he is not willing to do a thoracic fusion, that its a massive operation and the risks outweigh the benefits. he has referred me to a pain specialist to try and locate the source of pain, a series of injections etc. he has stated maybe further down the line when the pain is located and their is more of a guarentee that surgery will take the pain away it could be considered then so at the minute....back to the drawing board....
  • on a side note has anyone used baclofen for muscular issues?
  • my consultant doesn't offer it, im over in england so I know procedures differ from over the pond, i dont think in general they offer thoracic discectomy's in england. he seemed to suggest that where my disc bulge is he cant get to the bulge without having to go from the front of my body as the cord was to close and that attempting to cut the bulge out could result in moving my spinal cord which could result in some exceptionally bad side effects, possibly even paralysis.
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