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Started over a year ago, and at first I just thought my back was hurting because I was working more hours and that it would go away with time but it did the opposite. I went to the doctor and he said it was muscle spasms so he sent me to physical therapy. I did pt for three months and my back didn't improve it only got irritated more. The therapist said there was nothing more he could do so he sent me back to doctor with a letter saiding that my pain was too usual for someone my age. The doctor did an X-ray and MRI both of which came back normal. He then told me to go to a different pt and if that didn't work he was going to put me on medicine for the rest of mg life because "sometimes people just have chronic pain the rest of their lives" After only two weeks at the new physical therapist they said there was an underlying reason and there was probably nothing they could do for me. Then I went to a homeopathy practice were I did emotional stress therapy and acupuncture and that made me feel better but not my back.

The pain is in my mid-upper back area directly behind the ribs about. Its dull and stiff when I get up in the morning depending on what I did the day before. As the day progresses it gets worse and worse. It starts burning and hurting so bad I can't breathe, I don't feel like eating, and even a couple of times it has hurt do bad I haven't gone to school or I have even thrown up from the pain. It hurts to do anything: walking, standing, sitting, taking a shower, lifting my arms, holding anything. By 8 pm every night all I want to do is lay in bed. When I do go to lay down at firsts it hurts so bad and then it dissipates to its normal burning sensation. I'm 19 I shouldn't be having this much pain.

Recently I went to a different doctor whom told me that he was going to test me for arthritis and nerve damage. He did a blood test which told me I'm healthy and there's nothing visibly wrong from what my blood is saying. This doctor put me on 5mg of flexiril three times a day. This lowered my pain but didn't rid of it. He then put me on meloxicam twice a day as an addition to the flexiril hoping after two weeks I could come off of the medication and be pain free.

This combination of medicines did not work so the current doctor I was seeing put me on cymbalta to help relieve the pain until I was able to make it in to see a pain doctor that would be able to help. The cymbalta seemed to work until I did any activity outside my normal routine. And by normal routine I mean getting up, going to my boyfriends house, and doing nothing.

When I went to the pain clinic where they were quick to tell me that I had a rip in my thoracic disk. She prescribed an oral steroid that I swear made my pain worse. When I brought this to my doctors attention she said she highly doubts it. She then suggested a thoracic epideral steroid injection. This also did not give me any relief. I am so frustrated and need a fresh brain to pick!


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • thoracic spine painthoracic spine pain Posts: 566
    edited 07/15/2013 - 11:45 PM
    Your thoracic spine is very hard to damage. It is very uncommon and most Drs don't know much about it.Have a look on Wiki about Cymbalta. There is a dermatone chart on this site that you can tell which part of your body your pain radiates .

    Your thoracic spine is connected to the rib cage. This might help to know where you are injured. Hopefully it's only muscle damage, if Cymbalta helps it may be nerve damage as well, although you say they have picked up a rip in your thoracic disc. You need to ask them where is the rip- which disc.

    Look up herniated thoracic discs on the web and have a look if you have any of the symptoms.

    Dilauro (Ron), one of the moderators on this site has had herniated thoracic discs so he is more of an expert than me.

    I have a different thoracic injury. I am sure he would not mind if you PM ed him as he has some good ideas and should be able give some good advice.

    You need to do your own research with thoracic spine as it is not as common and some doctors still think it shouldn't be painful. Also have a read of the Intractable Pain Manual on this site. It is invaluable reading and might put into perspective some of the things you might be up against.

    I too have vomited from thoracic pain. It is the worst pain I have ever felt.

    Your spinal cord is the narrowest in the thoracic area and the cord is closer to the thoracic vertabrae. Therefore it is easier for something to be pressing on the spinal cord in this area.

    If you have kept a pain diary you should know what makes it worse. Bending, twisting, lifting, raking and raising you arms above your head are some of things that make the pain worse for me. Driving is murder 'cause you can't help twisting. I wear a soft brace to remember not to twist. Heat pads also take some of the pain away when I am lying down. Hope this helps a bit but I would PM Dilauro and ask him for some advice.
  • LTee43LLTee43 Posts: 84
    edited 07/24/2013 - 8:27 AM
    I was told that my thoracic injury was among the worst you can have and I believe it. I have a very good chiropractor who thinks I now have scar tissue in one of my discs. He's the guy who got me some relief, I had a few vertabrae that were sunken in.
    Diagnosis: Thoracic facet syndrome & cervical and thoracic radiculopathy from car accident trauma.
  • mickkrmmickkr Posts: 166
    edited 07/24/2013 - 11:42 PM
    Hi LT
    I'm a bit puzzled about what the diagnosis is as there does not appear to be consensus between those treating you. Has the pain management Dr seen something on the MRI scan which your doctor missed, or is the "ripped vertebra" a guess based on the symptoms you display?
    Whatever the situation I would want a second (or third) opinion of what the MRI reveals and if there is no agreement, a further MRI, maybe with contrast, or sitting or standing, to see what shows up.
    Don't be fobbed off by "sometimes people just have chronic pain for the rest of their lives". That's not good enough. Injury to the thoracic spine is always serious and needs to be diagnosed properly before being treated by powerful pain killers.
    If the fire alarm rings you wouldn't switch it off until you were sure there was no fire! Pain is your body's alarm system and before you kill the pain you need to be very certain about what is causing it.
    Tests, tests and more tests until you are satisfied. Keep up the pressure, be persistent, do your research and become your best advocate. My own experience is that you often have to become a nuisance to get people to act.
    Sad but true.

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