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No wonder we have so much trouble with Thoracic injuries

When I googled SH I found an article about a baseball player who had herniated a thoracic disc. You can Google it because I can't give you the link SH rules. But here is part of the story with the DR's name removed.

“Although herniated discs are relatively common, Cooper is among 1 to 2 percent of individuals who suffer a herniated disc in his thoracic spine,” says Dr. *****. “This area of the spine located deep within the chest cavity is very challenging to access, especially when the herniated disc is directly in front of the spinal cord. The surgery we performed is only offered in few places throughout the world and it was David’s best hope of returning to baseball. It’s remarkable he’s made such a spectacular recovery.”

If you have a thoracic injury it's pretty interesting to read. Mine is crushed vertebrae but I think the percentage is about the same. No wonder I can't find anyone who will operate in Australia. In the article it says he would be living in intense pain without the surgery. He is a fit young athlete who must have been in great shape. I am so happy Drs are finally believing thoracic injuries are not necessarily stable and can be incredibly painful.



  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,833
    It can never happen. It has to be something else!!!

    Well,back in 2004/5 when I first started having thoracic problems, that was the message that most medical sites communicated. A lot was not known about the T-Disc. Back then, even the surgery for thoracic problems was barbaric.
    They would open you up in front, crack your breastbone, move aside a lung to get at the thoracic disc. And at best that surgery MAY help, but know one was really sure.

    Here in 2014, not that many years from then, so much more is known. The thoracic surgery has come such a long way, will not being routine, more and more surgeons are skilled on how to do this.

    For years, no one could believe that the thoracic discs would have problems. After all, they are attached to our ribs and are basically fortified because of that. Still if you have a thoracic problem, it couldnt cause you much pain and there really wasnt anything that needed to be done for it.

    thoracic spine pain is just one of hundreds of folks today that suffer from thoracic problems. I have been dealing with 4 herniated thoracic discs that have never been operated on (mutual decision) But I fully understand the pain and discomfort those discs create. I had a good friend, years ago, becoming a promising physician. She was good, she was great, she had compassion, and then she had thoracic disc herniation. She had to give up her medical career by the time she was 32

    It wasn't fair, but then again, what spinal problem is. Fortunately, there is so much more known about the thoracic discs and how they can be treated.. Those of you out there who have had thoracic disc problems can relate to all of this.
    Not saying we have it worse, better or different than others. We all can understand.
    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
  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
    edited 03/03/2014 - 6:11 AM

    Those of us with thoracic herniated discs and pain, know that the fact that this level of the spine is stabilised by the ribs does not discount having pain.

    I have chatted with some members here who have gone through enormous and difficult surgeries to try to relieve their pain. Most seem to still have pain after a very difficult recovery. One of two have amazed me how well they coped and seem to have had a good outcome and be in a much better situation now.

    I think thoracic spine surgery is to be avoided if at all possible. (Actually, I think that applies to all spine surgery!) For those that are told that they must have it, it is great to hear that the techniques to access the discs and spine are improving and are less invasive than in the past.

    Thanks for bringing to our attention this news article :-)

  • thoracic spine painthoracic spine pain Posts: 566
    edited 03/03/2014 - 12:39 PM
    I can't believe how naive I was when I first started this journey. They told me it would get better and I believed them. I was not braced or put in a cast so I think it has changed now. I honestly thought that they would open me up from the back - stick a bit of bone cement in to restore my 80% crushed vertebrae to the correct height and it would relive the pain.

    How wrong I was.

    Only through research did I find how rare these injuries are and how dangerous it is to operate. I was told I could end up paralysed as it is my T5 crushed and they cannot go in through the back so it seems like the same. go through the front, move all the vital organs and it is major surgery as it was years ago.

    I thought my specialist would know about thoracic injuries - I don't think any of them had seen an injury like mine before. They just could not work out why I was in so much pain - I am sure some of them did not believe me.

    One study I read is that nearly 80% of people who have thoracic crush injuries caused through trauma, as it is so difficult to crush thoracic because of our ribs, die from other injures because of the immense impact it takes to damage our thoracic spine.

    Now I realise that most specialists have never seen this injury, one even wrote I had kyphosis, which I do not have as mine is crushed to the side and not the front so none of the normal tests worked on me. I did not realise I wasn't a textbook case and this one specialist instead of saying he didn't have any idea why I was in so much pain - used testing techniques that did not work then reported a normal textbook injury on my file.

    I have really grown up since then - had to do heaps of research myself - have to take meds to function. I am so lucky to have found the sports physio I did who took the time to work out what happened in my particular case. Maybe I should have realised as my pain was to the right, I had my right shoe built up 10 cms as I realised my hips were not aligned and the accident must have taken about 10 centimetres off my vertebrae on the right side.

    I wish more specialists would think outside the square with thoracic injuries - I had so much trouble as my injury isn't in any textbook and the treatment which is helping is not textbook either.

    Ron I wish the friend of yours who was studying medicine would go back and become a pain specialist and write a few papers saying that thoracic spine injuries can be incredibly painful and not all of them are stable. Can you talk her into it?

    It's bad enough having incredible pain 24/7 but when Dr's have the incorrect information it makes you feel like you are the crazy one. I tried every conservative and eastern treatment possible. Most of them made my injury much worse.

    I hate being an experiment, had faith in the medical profession before this, then realised they don't know enough about thoracic spine as it is so rare. I hope everyone with thoracic injuries is having an Ok day - I don't know how you guys with multiple herniated discs in your thoracic spine cope everyday.

    I wish someone would rewrite the textbooks. It adds insult to injury when the textbooks say it shouldn't cause pain. We were talking about an holistic diagnosis for spinal injuries - looking at a person's past history to gauge whether they are telling the truth or faking it. I never took a day off work, had a high security clearance which are hard to gat, never went to the GP and had never requested anything for pain before my accident. I don't know why they don't take this into account.

  • I was told by my chiropractor that the medical community (aside from chiropractors) have only recently been taking thoracic-spine injuries seriously. My primary care doctor all but blew me off but fortunately I landed in the hands of some good professionals.

    Diagnosis: Thoracic facet syndrome & cervical and thoracic radiculopathy from car accident trauma.
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