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Thoracic Herniation

heyjoe8013hheyjoe8013 Posts: 19
edited 05/18/2014 - 7:57 AM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
I have a thoracic herniation along with other spinal issues. I have been in severe pain for over 6 years and the doctors have refused to help (this is my experience and am not lumping all doctors as being this way). Just like any other profession, there are people that are good at it and people that are bad at it. Unfortuneatly every doctor I've seen so far has been the ones that are bad at it. Whether this is just bad luck or whether the majority of them are like that I have no idea. Anyways, any suggestions from people with this injury would be greatly appreciated! Thank you for taking the time to read this, Joe


  • heyjoe8013hheyjoe8013 Posts: 19
    edited 05/18/2014 - 4:56 AM
    What are other peoples experiences with thoracic herniations? Any help would be useful as there aren't any treatments that I've found any doctor willing to give me anymore. I've tried all of the conservative treatments and that leaves pain medications to control the pain or surgery to fix the issue causing the pain. The problem is the multiple surgeons I've seen, both neurosurgeons and orthpedic surgeons have told me they won't operate on me. I find this very frustrating as I'm being left to suffer with no way of controlling the pain. Yes I realize that surgery is always an option. You can always find a doctor to do surgery but that doesn't mean it's a doctor who is going to do a good job, although I have yet to find any doctor willing to do the surgery. My insurace, thanks Obama, isn't that great and won't pay for me to go to a lot of surgeons. I'm restricted to a small list of network doctors which does not help my situation at all. Has anyone else not been able to have surgery because the doctors that are good at the surgery you need aren't covered by your insurance? Just a different take on my situation I guess. Thanks
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,856
    regarding doctors. That along with providing medical advice is something that we really can not provide.

    But your problem is not as unique as you may think. Years ago, no one thought that a person could have a thoracic disc herniation, and if they did, it would not cause much pain. It really doesn't matter how it happened, but when a T disc is causing problems, then the pain and discomfort needs to be addressed.

    I have several herniated thoracic discs, T6 being one of them. There are surgeries to repair thoracic diss problems. The procedure has come a LONG way just in the past 5 years.

    Surgery is ALWAYS an option, just depends on what surgeons you are talking with. But before any aggressive action like surgery is considered, all the conservative treatments should be tried. That will include Physical and Aqua Therapy, Acupuncture, Traction, Spinal injections and more

    The one statement that baffles me, is
    heyjoe8013 said:

    The only thing they were willing to do was give me lyrica, which I tried but it didn't help my pain
    Lyrica is a nerve medication, I would only imagine a doctor starting you off with a mild pain medication and some type of
    muscle relaxer. Lyrica seems to me something that would be done after, not before


    To find a doctor in our area, you can use Spine-Healths "Find a Doctor" feature. That may point you to a list of doctors in your area.
    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
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    My mother had a burst thoracic disc and was in horrible pain. Nothing could be done to help her due to other health issues that would prevent any type if surgery. She was in the end stages if emphysema, she was physically unable to do anything, I had a horrible time getting a dr to prescribe any type of pain management, the only relief she got was when hospice was called in, she was unable to walk due to the burst fracture, Dont give up on finding a Dr to help. Have your tried any of the major teaching hospitals? Good luck and I hope you find help soon
  • heyjoe8013hheyjoe8013 Posts: 19
    edited 05/18/2014 - 4:22 AM
    Recently, through reading medical textbooks, I've found out that this is a very rare injury according to the medical professionals. They say it's 1 in a million of the general population and 1% of all herniations are in the thoracic. I guess this is why my experience with doctors has been so bad, they just haven't seen it enough I guess. I can't blame them for this though, it's not the doctors fault that they don't understand it, it's so rare that they probably didn't spend a real lot of time on it in medical school. But hey what do I know, I'm just telling what I've experienced and maybe there's others with this injury that have been treated very well by doctors. If you have been treated for this injury, what did they do for you that helped? Thank you and try to stay positive!
  • heyjoe8013hheyjoe8013 Posts: 19
    edited 05/18/2014 - 4:13 AM
    So sorry Susan! That is awful, I don't know why doctors wouldn't give pain meds to someone that is in such pain that has a terminal illness. My heart goes out to you that you had to see your mother go through that. I really appreciate the nice words you gave me. Take care of yourself Susan!
  • thoracic spine painthoracic spine pain Posts: 566
    edited 05/18/2014 - 7:18 AM
    Joe I came across a medical book last night when I woke up in pain again. I typed in thoracic pain into Google and came up with a book on Amazon. It was a medical text book written some time ago and it said traction worked for discs and vertebrae. Last night in my normal agony I also found some McKenzie stretch exercises on You Tube for thoracic spine stretches which seemed to help.

    So I'm going to try my inverter machine again, this time I won't be so scared it could mess something up.

    In the medical text it said damaged thoracic discs and vertebrae can cause intense pain but if people are put in traction - which they must have used to all the time, instead of the doing absolutely nothing, the studies said people got better within 3 months. I'll try and find it again but this German Dr understood thoracic damage could cause the most intense pain of all the spine.

    I found it and most of the pages on thoracic pain are there for free. It's called A System of Orthopaedic Medicine
    By Ludwig Ombregt. It's worth a read. Just type in thoracic and pain into Amazon in the text and the pages come up that included discs.

    I have no idea why the medical profession suddenly changed their treatment of the thoracic spine and came to a ridiculous conclusion that it isn't painful. Seems like we wouldn't be the the agony we are in today if we had been put in traction in the first place. If we had our accidents 40 years ago we would have had the proper treatment and probably not have the pain today.One of my specialists admitted it to me. This Dr states that traction can solve thoracic problems within three months - I looked at the stuff about discs too and it says the same thing. I'm thinking of taking the book to my next Dr and showing him the pages.

    I wanna kiss the person who changed the medical thinking to a doing nothing mentality as it shouldn't hurt. He is not actually one person I'd like to see with this pain. They put traction on cervical and lumbar and lumbar has your hips so that should be stable. It doesn't make common sense. But no specialist knows everything. They have changed their procedures now so at least the medical profession has come to realise the correct treatment.

    Have a read of this book, I'm trying the inverter again and some Mckenzie stretches. Guess we both had our accidents at the wrong time in history although it does say a crush of over 50% should be operated on immediately. Mine is 80% and no one will touch it. Aaron it did say something about annular tears but it was about three in the morning so I didn't read it properly.

    It also has stuff about injections. Good luck. Think I'll buy this book and send it to every specialist who not only misdiagnosed me but told me it shouldn't be painful. I've spent enough money on cures and seems there was a simple method that was never offered or even spoken about. But I don't mind being in agony for the rest of my life or having to give up work. It's all good.

    The poor things didn't realise. But now the practise has changed they must stay awake all night thinking about my pain and really care that they didn't put me in traction.
  • heyjoe8013hheyjoe8013 Posts: 19
    edited 05/18/2014 - 5:01 AM
    Thank you so much Aaron, I'm glad someone on here cares enough to do that! It's people like you and Lyndal that give me faith in the human race.
    Doctors, unfortunealty haven't given me that same faith in humanity, but that's just my experience and I'm in no way bashing all doctors. I'm sure their are great doctors that deal with this injury, in fact I know there are, but to my surprise I haven't found any yet in my area who are like that. Take care of yourself buddy!
  • heyjoe8013hheyjoe8013 Posts: 19
    edited 05/18/2014 - 4:44 AM
    I'm going to get some medical textbooks and see what they say about my injury. I haven't really had a good explanation from any doctor so I've decided that it's up to me to educate myself on it. I would suggest to anyone that is curious to know more involved details of their injuries to try and find a medical textbook that might help to better explain it to you. I'll let people know what I find out in these textbooks as I find out new and relevant info. Well the sun is finally out so going to go outside and get away from this stuff for a while. It's no good for anyone to always be thinking about this stuff, sometimes you need a break from it for your overall well being.
  • thoracic spine painthoracic spine pain Posts: 566
    edited 05/18/2014 - 7:10 AM
    Joe it's an inversion table. You lock your feet in and move your arms back and you can hang upside down as far as you like to go. It has a mat on the back so it supports your spine, but it does stretch your spine and for me it really improves my posture as well. When you've had enough you just move your arms forward and the machine tilts back.

    If I go by this guy's suggestions it should work within three months. I was scared of using it but I admit years ago I tried it and it helped for a day as my T4 must have gone into the correct mechanical alignment. Just the specialist said not to use it - but I don't know why - they couldn't help me anyway, except for the sports physio, and most made my specific pain much worse.

    They must have read this book in their training as it is a medical text book, it must be current as it has been reprinted so many times. They can't help it if they didn't brace me. They musn't have read the text book but specialists can't know everything. They must have a good reason not to practise the methods this Dr has proved to work for thoracic spine. I had broken ribs and it states if you have broken ribs your thoracic spine becomes unstable. For years they told me it was stable, maybe they failed that part of their med exams. On second thoughts they must have passed their exams and it's not their fault. All Dr's have the same skill level and are same and wonderful.

    I am so happy to have found this text. I'll buy it second hand as it is very expensive being a med text book and will have to look up a lot of terms but this is the first text I have read that doesn't only talk about osteoporosis - it talks about all spinal conditions - and its the first one that says thoracic injuries can cause severe untreatable pain, even with opioids it is difficult to control pain with some people.

    My guess is that there were more thoracic injuries in those days, because of WW2 it must have been a common injury. Just my guess. I know my injury is the same as pilots who eject from aircraft.

    The first Dr I saw was an old guy and he said I wouldn't be able to work again and wanted to put me on a pension then and there. I stupidly was stubborn, he must have retired and I had young Drs who hadn't ever seen this type of injury and told me it was stable, this book contradicts that , if you have broken ribs it makes your thoracic spine unstable, I broke quite a few ribs as well and only found out when a Dr picked it up on a bone scan years later.

    How I wish I had listened to the first Dr - I had no idea the injury would never heal - it can't heal, it's crushed bone. If I had taken his advice I would be in a different place today and possibly pain free. Que sera sera whatever will be will be, the futures not ours to see.

  • heyjoe8013hheyjoe8013 Posts: 19
    edited 05/18/2014 - 4:54 AM
    If only we could see the future it would have been such a help! I believe in karma and I try to be the best person I can be to others. I treat people as they treat me and I judge people by their character! People that don't treat others well will have a visit by karma one day. We're all supposed to try and be good, honest,caring, compassionate people and unfortuneatly only a fraction of the people in this world are like that. Sometimes something bad has to happen to you to understand that life is short, life can be cruel, and life can be great. You have to make the best out of your situation, even if your situation is horrible and you are suffering. Try to have faith that things will improve and take it one day at a time as it could be your last day on this earth!
  • thoracic spine painthoracic spine pain Posts: 566
    edited 05/18/2014 - 7:49 AM
    Joe I can believe that if that is the medical textbook that is current. They didn't put me in traction and then a brace. It's so clear that is what should have happened and I wouldn't be in this place now. But of course it's not their fault.

    At least it says it's one in a million who end up with this kind of injury. No wonder Drs haven't seen it but why weren't they just honest but I can't blame them. They really stuffed up with my recovery. I am not at all angry it totally wrecked my life when it could have been avoided. Of course it wasn't their fault. They just didn't know what to do.

    I'm taking the relevant parts of the text to my Dr and leaving it there so if he comes across anything else like it he will know what to do. Think I'll photocopy some of it and send it to all those specialists who misdiagnosed me. It may be able to help them as it is so rare an injury. I believe they are orthopeadic specialists and just must have forgotten the thoracic spine stuff after their exams. Guess it is so rare they thought they would never see this injury so it's ok. Poor Drs are people just like anyone else. They are specialists and it doesn't matter that it cost me $30,000.

    It really is a great book. It's easy to read and understand even though it has medical terminology. It is interesting there is no mention of not believing the pain. He says the pain can be intense and severe and go on for a long time. This Dr is a really good specialist and seems to be one of the world leaders in spine.

    So what happened??

    Now I know what should have happened medically I am vwry happy that I'm in pain. I don't mind being in pain. The poor things didn't know what to do. I am wondering if the hospitals even have protocols for my injury. At least yours were treated correctly.

    I am wrapped I read this text - still haven't finished all of it but it is so obvious that the thoracic spine can cause severe intractable pain especially if you have broken ribs. I have never had any of the simple tests shown in the text, done on me and no-one has ever done the Babinski test which I did to myself and my toes curl the wrong way so it's obvious I have spinal cord damage.

    I don't mind paying $30,000I to be misdiagnosed. Drs don't earn enough money. I don't mind paying for misdiagnosis. It is obvious no one even bothered to go back to their textbooks and find out the simple fixes for thoracic spine damage. But that's ok to have 9 years of pain I don't mind at all. Although the thoracic spine is extremely complex the treatment isn't complex, it's really easy.
  • heyjoe8013hheyjoe8013 Posts: 19
    edited 05/18/2014 - 5:04 AM
    You shouldn't hate the doctors, they were only trying to help and the fact that you are seriously hurt because of lack of knowledge isn't their fault. You can't expect them to treat you properly if they've never treated anyone with that injury before. It's no good to hold a grudge against doctors, even if they did treat you poorly. There are good doctors and bad and you should expect that, it's all luck when choosing which doctor to go to for your initial injury. I really feel for you Lyndal and you have helped me more on here than I thought anyone would. Aaron also was a very big help and I truly am thankful for his help and yours. I'm glad that there are still some good people in the world willing to help others that they don't even personally know. Take care my friends, Joe
  • thoracic spine painthoracic spine pain Posts: 566
    edited 05/18/2014 - 7:05 AM
    I don't understand their thinking either. I know they said my thoracic spine should be stable, but it's not when you have trauma and broken ribs and have smashed your shoulder and scapula so badly out of place. I have a friend here who is a medical lawyer. I'll speak to him and he'll tell me if it's too late. They said you can take them to court if you have further information. Not that any amount of money can make up for this.

    Now I'm starting to feel sorry for myself but I can believe another person could do this to someone else through incompetence. It's not their fault. It doesn't really suck. I don't expect a Dr to stand up for me and it's a very closed shop with the Medical profession in Australia.

    At least you have the medical text telling them what they should do for you. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would have to do all the research myself with this and NO-ONE told me just how uncommon this injury is. I don't get it. It does stand to reason that your thoracic spine is going to be agony just like cervical or lumbar if it's broken. The last specialist said I shouldn't have ended up like this but didn't tell me why. My real problem is that constant incessant pain wears you down so much I don't think I have the strength to fight them for the rest of my life.

    But I will ring this guy if he is still on the coast and ask him, Suppose some of the medical profession have made mistakes and I'm sure they lay awake at 3am in the morning like me and think about it. In some ways I wish I had just croaked in the accident, cause no amount of money can make up for this pain and a life that isn't really a life. I love that this was such an easy fix and they didn't do their homework because if they want to be specialists they can't know everything they must know they can wreck peoples lives but it shouldn't be their responsibility.

    I expect they are awake like me at 3 in the morning thinking about me and the pain I am in.

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,856
    toning down the doctor bashing here. Even though no specific physician names where mentioned, this is still a violation of forum rules.

    5.01 You agree not to submit or post material that is harassing, libelous, abusive, threatening, harmful, vulgar, obscene or otherwise objectionable in any manner or nature to forums on Spine-health.com. This includes the bashing and/or name calling of physician

    And please dont ask me to point out where that was done in the previous 4 or 5 posts. Its all there black and white.

    Continue to violate forum rules and you may risk banning. This applies to a member just joining, or one that has been with us for years.
    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
  • heyjoe8013hheyjoe8013 Posts: 19
    edited 05/18/2014 - 6:21 AM
    I didn't realize that! I wish you had told me a lot sooner as it has been days of me talking back and forth with people on this subject! I would have stopped after briefly mentioning it if any of the moderators would have told me that it was against the rules. And yes I read the rules, but they can be interpreted differently by us average Joe's who are new to this forum. Please let me know ASAP if there is ever anything I write again against the rules. I don't want to be breaking the rules and it's kind of hard not too if no one says anything about it for days. I went back and edited my posts so hopefully they are better to your liking.
  • thoracic spine painthoracic spine pain Posts: 566
    edited 05/18/2014 - 7:44 AM
    Joe it is Ok, Thank you for the advice I went back and edited my posts as well. It's not the poor things fault and I know they will be lying awake at three in the morning thinking about my pain. I know it wasn't their fault. I don't hate doctors, I love all of them regardless of their experience by doing nothing they were just trying to help. I'm feel sorry if I have hurt their feelings.

    I think they will all be reading my posts because they do really care about me. I know they will be lying awake at 3 in the morning like me and thinking about my pain.

    There is no difference in skill levels among specialists. They are all wonderful. I love giving away money to them. The poor things cannot help if they don't know about my condition. It is so rare I shouldn't expect them to go back to their text books and have a read.

    At the same time I also think everyone should go and see a chiropractor. I don't know why there is so much advice here from people about not going to one. They can't help it either. I think some chiropractors are Drs as well. Their feelings must be really hurt if they read the posts.
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