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Thoracic Pain at T7 (Update)

MLCampbellMMLCampbell Posts: 7
edited 10/23/2013 - 6:27 PM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
Apologies for the new post, I am having trouble with the site. Even though I am logged in it will not allow me to post comments to my old thread.

I finally saw the specialist on Monday the 14th, unfortunately, it did not go as I had hoped. The specialist only spoke with me for about ten minutes, and did not allow me to recall my symptoms - which I had brought typed up with me. I had also wanted to speak to the doctor about advice as to how to handle work as I have been unable to make it in rather often the past few months due to the severity of my pain, which I was unable to do. Overall, I felt as though I was immediately disregarded as having a "muscular condition" due to the location of my issue.

I asked if the doctor would order an MRI, which was refused. Instead, I was referred to physical therapy and a chiropractor. I put off the physical therapy for the time being, and went to the chiropractor.

The first visit with the Chiro was very minimal, however, similarly I was unable to express my concerns and be taken seriously. The doctor noted that I was "jumpy" and very "tender" and continued to note that they were certain that it is a muscular issue, as I work a desk job that had seen the same thing many times with people working desk jobs.

I expressed concern about this as my onset was due to trauma, and also because almost 3 out of the past 4 going on 5 years now I had worked physically intensive jobs and remained as athletic as possible. I have also been through PT in the past (Moist-heat, Ultrasound Therapy, Manipulation, and Exercise) Besides this, some of my more concerning symptoms seem to be nerve related cannot be explained by weak muscles. I expressed that I would be happy to try strengthening the muscles as I am sure it would help, but to please be careful with me.

At that time he performed some sort of manipulation. It was a forceful motion that caused my back to crack loudly. It hurt a decent bit and caused tears to well up in my eyes, but I did not feel any immediate noticeable long term effects. When I drove home, however, I started to have spasms in my lower back, and in my upper right side of my back where I had not had them normally in the past. These were not too severe at the time, but to be sure I called and it was explained to me that this was pressure and gas releasing.

I saw him again yesterday, exactly a week after the last time. I expressed my concerns, but he proceeded regardless, so I assume he felt comfortable doing so. He performed several of these type of manipulations. I then powered through work for the next 10 hours with a moderate amount of pain. Then came the night: When I was trying to sleep that I could not. I simply could not get comfortable, I also noticed that my right leg kept twitching in the hip area, and I was getting pins and needles in my lower back and my extremities. This morning, I am having very severe weakness in my legs, especially the left one. I am continuing to experience spasms in unusual parts of my back which range from mild to severe. The center of pain is still severe and has remain unchanged, being a sharp aching pain that seems to be right on my spine.

Does anyone know if this is normal? Does anyone have any advice? My thoughts were that I would do what the specialist wanted and see this through. If the chiropractor and PT did not solve the problem I would have done it the doctor's way and had room to demand that we try something different - but I worry that this may be doing damage. I don't feel right, besides of the symptoms I described - I simply don't feel right. If that weren't enough I don't know how much longer I can deal with the long drive/hours at work without some kind of step in the right direction.

Thanks for your continued support and advice. :)

- Meagan C.

EDIT 10/23/13 5:45 PM I have also been having pulling/aching moderate pain in my right shoulder (opposite side and higher up than I had pain previously) although the intensity of the pain is only moderate is is extremely uncomfortable. Thank you in advance for reading, your advice and your support. :)

10/24/13 12:17 AM Severity of pain has increased including sharp pains in the neck and mid back. Simply movingg about somewhat swiftly causes sharp pains. This type of pain when it occurs makes me feel uneasy like something is very wrong. Experiencing twitching in arms and legs in several positions.


  • Meagan,
    Sounds like a very frustrating encounter with the specialist and an unsatisfactory outcome. I've had plenty of those.

    Don't throw away your jottings despite the doctor's obvious lack of interest. He had clearly already made up his mind before he spoke to you. I would keep recording your pain and other symptoms especially after each session with the chiro and in due course, with the physio. I would also mention the leg weakness episode to the chiro at your next appointment. Leg weakness is potentially significant and should sound alarm bells.

    You don't say whether you have a follow up appointment with the specialist. If, after a month you you feel you are getting worse or even if things are just no better I would suggest you insist on a further appointment, preferably with a different doctor.

    Most important, be persistent and don't suffer in silence. If you don't say anything it will be assumed you are responding positively to the treatment, such as it is and no effort will be made to discover whether that is in fact the case.

    Hopefully the specialist, despite his arrogant manner, is absolutely right in his diagnosis and you will fully recover after the treatment he prescribed. If however things don't work out that way, it would be useful to have a contemporary record of events with which to confront him. I'm not suggesting a confrontational approach, just to let him know that you will not easily be fobbed off. This should prompt a pause for thought and focus his mind a little more on what you are telling him.

    I'm not young enough to know everything - Oscar Wilde
  • thoracic spine painthoracic spine pain Posts: 566
    edited 10/25/2013 - 7:08 PM
    I agree with Mick. After 4 years it has to be something other than muscular. You need to tell them about the weakness in your legs as this is potentially serious. If it was me I would go to a physio, not a chiro as they are usually more gentle.

    Ask the physio to have a look at your spine especially above and below T7 and your discs around that area, to see whether they are in mechanical alignment. If it works after adjustment and targets your pain ask them to tape it otherwise your muscles will spasm it straight out again.

    Don't let them put you on a tens machine and leave you. I go to a sports physio as they have to get athletes back to their jobs and tend to be more proactive, because for professional athletes, their time off, is money.

    If you are only getting pain on one side it may be mechanical or discs.

    Also have a look at your hips to see whether they are aligned and if one shoulder is higher than the other. I always take someone with me to any specialists.

    Why did he refuse an MRI? You need an MRI to see what is happening. I don't know why they wouldn't order one , it has been four years, that's just crazy - my choice is a weight bearing MRI - either sitting or standing or a maybe a bone scan to see what is going on. The physio can write a letter to your GP to suggest you have one. Physios have been around longer and the chiro industry is more recent professionally.

    Your GP should be able to order an MRI - here it doesn't have to be a specialist. Also remember thoracic trauma injuries are rare and your thoracic spine needs incredible force to be damaged through trauma, especially if you are fit, like I was before my accident - so most specialist, GP's, chiros and physios won't have seen it before. Ask them and they'll tell you. They are now using body casts for people with thoracic trauma injuries.

    I had to research myself and my GP ended up relying on me as he had never seen this type of injury before - neither had the myriad of specialists I saw. They just forgot to mention it. If it has been this long it isn't going to get better through the normal healing process. Talk to your GP - take the stuff from SH to him and ask him to work from the start again.

    Just my two cents worth but after all this time I don't think it could be muscular.
  • Hi Meagan
    Your doc sounds like a complete "....".I don't know where you live but I would insist on finding a suitable doctor.Get an MRI done as a starter and make sure the doc pays attention to what your saying.My "T" series are now giving me a lot of issues particularly my T8/9.I am receiving conservative treatment at present(Drugs) and it has helped but I am aware of my issues and have adjusted my life accordingly.I have already had the following ops:
    yr 2000:Discectomy L4/5
    yr 2003:Fusion C5/6
    yr 2004:Disc inserts(kine discs) L4/5;;L5/s1
    Now all my T series are going so I've had quite a good amount of experience.I am treated by my neuro now for 15 odd years.I would insist on finding a suitable doctor at what ever cost/time.

    Good luck
    Bruce (SA-JHB)
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