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Thoracic pain is the worse.

To all those with thoracic pain I am so sorry to know you feel the kind of pain I have. Sadly I feel my world is closing in on me. I asked SSD for help and was turned down. I have tried to find a job that I could do I can not even tell how many times I was turned down. I tried to do my old job the company that hired me let me go after 30 days. I can not blame them at least they gave me a chance. It was a job that I would have to look down all the time and sitting all day. My wife has been doing her best to keep us a float and I think she is done with me and my disability. After 15 years I am so beat up I just do not know what to do any more. Two years ago I pushed my body at a job until something popped in my head after that happen I now have chronic headaches. When the pain is bad and the headaches kick in I shake so bad signing my name is hard to do. I am trying to envision being homeless ,broke and trying to survive on the streets. I am just so tired… My injury is making it very hard to take a deep breath when I try too the pain is so bad I have to stop trying. And feeling like I am having a heart attack is just getting old all ready. I am trying to see the light but I think the bulb burned out. Is it bad when a back rub makes you cry? A person can only take so much pain! When I told my doctor and the Judge that I cry from the pain I think they did not believe me. Like I wanted to tell anyone I cry from the pain. (makes me feel like I am less of a man)

4 hern disk T4-8
4 Hern disk. T4/5 T5/6 T6/7 T7/8


  • Thoracic pain is agony. I have never felt any pain that comes close to it - I have vomited from this pain. The only thing that has helped is a physio looking at the vertbrae and discs above the pain site. It seems that your body tries to compensate by using the ones above and that was causing me a lot of pain - try getting someone to look at the ones above and put them back into place..

    Constant pain is incredibly wearing. There is an Intractable Pain manual on this site if you search for it. it is worth reading. I have lived with this for eight years - thoracic is very dangerous to operate on. You need to do your own research as it isn't very common. If you look up my name on some older posts I have said what has helped me which hopefully give you some ideas on how to control the pain.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,849
    There is no question that thoracic spinal problems are difficult. One of the problems is that our thoracic discs are so very protective and strong, when we do have a problem in that area, it can become a nightmare.

    For years, people really never understood thoracic spinal problems. Those same folks have been involved with a mirad of various responses to these problems The medical field is now much more aware of thoracic problems and have been active in treatment for this problems.

    Yes, they are painful, there are not really comfortable positions. But as with any spinal problems there are ways in helping you day by day!!
    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
  • There are some differences. For one, **usually** only spine surgeons that are well trained in specifically scoliosis surgeries perform these in the thoracic region, so they have a strong skill set here. Second, scoliosis fusions are different. They are what is sometimes referred to as "long fusions". When someone has a single-triple level fusion these discs are removed and something is put in place to solidify with bone completely across these areas. A long fusion is different, not every single disc is removed. This isn't necessary since a huge chunk of the spine is permanently immobilized (through hardware etc) so the discs left will calcify and in some ways "fuse" themselves. I don't want to say too much more because I don't want to be "wrong". This is how I understand it though. I have been told multiple times that I am "fused" from T6 to S1. My understanding is I no longer have any lumbar disc since my recent surgeries. I asked my surgeon specifically if I had thoracic disc and he looked at my x-ray and said "There's one, and there's one" (referring to the area below T6, and that's when he explained to me that these were no longer "true disc" but were a calcified material). I'd be interested in what other people have been told because I've tried googling all of this and I'm confused as well to be honest.
    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.
  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
    edited 08/01/2013 - 12:26 PM
    but trying to think logically, this is what I think (for what it's worth!)

    I think the problem with thoracic surgery is the access to the disc. I believe that the spinal canal in the thoracic spine is narrow compared to the rest of the spine. Access to the discs from the back has the cord in the way. Access from the front has the heart and lungs in the way. Access from the side has the lungs in the way.

    With surgery for scoliosis they don't need to access the disc, but put in rods and screws, from the back, into the vertebrae. They don't need to work around the cord to access the discs.

    There are newer minimally invasive methods for thoracic surgery being developed, which is good news for thoracic spine sufferers. The old way seems to be to remove a rib and collapse the lungs to access the spine from the side.

    Now I am not an expert so please correct me anyone who actually knows about this. :-)

  • Sounds right Jelly.... but the majority of my thoracic disc below 6 are gone.... so they had to have gotten them out some way. They only had access through my back. However, what I will say is that my scar goes literally from neck to crack, yet the fusion starts at T6, so maybe they had to make such a large incision so they could gain more access around the spine? Or maybe I didn't really understand...
    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.
  • thoracic spine painthoracic spine pain Posts: 566
    edited 08/01/2013 - 2:02 PM
    My problem isn't the discs but 80% crushed T5 vertebrae from an accident. My new specialist said he wished it was damaged below this. At T6 and below the surgery is easier and he could do minimally invasive at a lower level but it's more complicated if it's higher. I also did a lot of shoulder and rib damage.

    I don't really get it either but it must be something to do with access at a higher level, think he said something about my ribs getting in the way at T5 or higher. Will have to clarify it next time. Still hoping I don't have to have surgery on thoracic

    My new physio works as she has significantly reduced my pain by looking at the ones higher that have naturally been trying to take over from my damaged ones. Also as mine is a wedge fracture to the right I have to bend to the right all the time as there is nothing holding the one above in place so when I bend to the left it pops out naturally.

    This puts my shoulder blade out of place as well as my shoulder which is sitting in the wrong place. She has taped everything back into the right place and we are both hoping that my muscles will get used to it and not spasm it back out.

    Discs must be different but think if one thing is damaged it effects the rest of you body mechanically and misaligns your body everywhere. I saw an operation years ago on UK tele where they straightened a girl's spine and she was walking and in no pain. They didn't show the follow up though.

    I don't know why either. Just know anything above T6 is more complicated because of ??? Wish I had listened in anatomy classes, but who knew we were going to end up like this?
  • Clearly there are some more differences with scoliosis... because I know once it was discussed that my fusion might have to be increased upward, and it was never mentioned having to deflate a lung or anything... so not sure how they were going to fuse upwards.... I'm hoping that never happens for certain!
    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.
  • My niece has scoliosis and was eventually fused from top to bottom by age 13. The poor girl was born with this unfair condition, never knew anything different and all surgery was completed before she started high school. Additionally, it also inhibited her physical growth by about half when compared to her peers. I have often wondered if her age and/or size has something to do with her lack of pain.

    In contrast, my T5 vertebrae was compressed as much or a little more than 80% while in my mid 40s and it has not stopped hurting since. I was fused T3-T8. They went in through my back which made the decision to get the surgery a little easier to make. However, it appears from my experience and other comments I have seen on this site that the recovery is more difficult and longer in duration when performed through the back.
  • I think when it is trauma it is so much different because you break lots of other things as well. I know I did some rib damage and my scapula is not in the right place, nor is my shoulder. With scoliosis the ribs and shoulder must adjust naturally to the spine, but when your spine is damaged through trauma, your ribs and shoulder don't have the time or inclination to take into account the damage.

    I know my shoulder, ribs and scapula are trying musculary to pull my vertabrae back out of place every second of the day. Just a thought but I think this is why if it's trauma it's different.
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