Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Bulging disc question

Hey everyone! I'm new here and came across this place via google while trying to find info on bulging discs in the thoracic area. I'll try to explain...

I found out about 2 weeks ago that I have a bulging disc at T5 in my back along with torn muscles at T5, T6, and T7. Also, arthritis was found in the same spot. I had been having problems with shoulder pain for months, since last June. The pain only got worse the more I seen my chiropractor so I was sent for the MRI that revealed all of that. I had a nerve block done the 23rd and had a horrible reaction to it. That afternoon and next day my heart rate soared. I was hospitalized and watched overnight, then after 2 EKGs, tons of blood work, and an echo, I was sent home on beta blockers. They have helped keep the heart rate under control but my pain is absolutely no better. I was having chest pain before I had the block done as well and I had already gotten the all clear from a cardiologist at UAB saying my heart was fine.

My question is, can the problems I have in the thoracic area cause the chest pain I keep experiencing? Has anyone else here experienced it from that spot? I suffer from anxiety and regular panic attacks as well that have only gotten worse as my back got worse. I was told by my orthopedist that I had a bad reaction to the steroid block and that he recommended just trying pain management instead. It's hard to describe the pain on the left side (it's only on the left, never on the right) but the pain often just feels like it's tensed up. I have shooting, burning pains that go to my chest as well but it usually just feels like that whole side is swollen or something. Naproxen makes it worse. And so far everything I have tried has made it worse.

Sorry to write so much. I'm just desperate to talk to others that might understand. I appreciate any feedback. Thank you!!


  • http://www.spine-health.com/forum/announcements/spine-health-announcements/welcome-spine-health-how-get-started

    Yes, it is possible that thoracic problems can cause the symptoms you are having, along with the anxiety......it is also possible that muscle damage is contributing to your symptoms.
    Have you consulted with a board certified spine surgeon? If not, I would start there, and stay away from any chiropractor.....if you have herniations or disc bulges, allowing adjustments to your spine can drastically create other problems or make what you are have going on , much worse. If you have or suspect disc or nerve compression issues, the last thing that you should allow is manipulation of your spine.


  • Jennie726JJennie726 Posts: 16
    edited 05/04/2014 - 4:08 AM
    Thank you for the reply. I haven't seen the chiropractor since my diagnosis. I wouldn't have kept going if I had known I had the problems I did. I just knew the back pain was getting worse and requested an MRI. The doctor that did my nerve block is a spine doctor and he told me my only options were surgery, which would be a major surgery for that spot, or pain management. I'd much rather not do the surgery if I don't have to. I have an appointment tomorrow to be sent to pain management and I'm hoping that maybe it will improve all of this. Shouldn't torn muscles heal themselves? I'm not sure if there is nerve compression but from my symptoms I would say so as the pain usually wraps around the left rib cage and it will burn or throb in different spots throughout my chest.
  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 05/05/2014 - 8:46 AM
    and if it is completely torn or a small tear in the muscle itself.......did you get the MRI back yet? I would make sure to bring the copy of the cd with you, and the report.

    There is a link at the bottom of my post, that talks about what to bring to your first visit with a pain management doctor. It is worth the read.
  • Jennie726JJennie726 Posts: 16
    edited 05/10/2014 - 7:18 AM
    I have the images. I'm taking them to the spinal dr the 16th. Come to find out it's not muscles that are torn. The paper says annular tears at T5-T6 and T6-T7. The disc bulge is at T5.

    I've still been experiencing panic attacks, probably even worse than a few weeks ago, and each time I feel the need to run to the ER cause I feel like I'm losing control of my own body basically. I'm still on the beta blockers but I can't stop thinking the chest pain is coming from my heart. Has anyone ever dealt with this from that spot in the back?? It's becoming unbearable. I have 3 young kids and I'm constantly worrying that I'm gonna die or something. My dr already has me on xanax twice a day, a very low dose.

    sandi said:
    and if it is completely torn or a small tear in the muscle itself.......did you get the MRI back yet? I would make sure to bring the copy of the cd with you, and the report.

    There is a link at the bottom of my post, that talks about what to bring to your first visit with a pain management doctor. It is worth the read.
  • I have a crushed thoracic vertebrae T5 80% crushed to the right. I also have disc bulges and one MRI said a burst fracture. Thoracic pain is agony so I know what you are going through. My pain was only to the right side. They normally won't operate on thoracic especially at T5 as they have to go in through the front, move all your vital organs and then operate. Thoracic pain can wrap around and cause pain in your chest. If you have damage at T5 don't wear a bra. T5 is directly behind your breasts and a bra makes it worse. I normally wear a tight Tshirt instead.

    It does feel like you are going to die - well that you want to die anyway. Try to have a weight bearing MRI if you have another one. They didn't pick up anything but my crushed T5 on the MRI , I believe that was because it wasn't weight bearing. There are many weight bearing MRI's in the US. You can look them up.

    MRI's are better for soft tissue - Bone Scans better for bone damage.

    My physio taught me this. If you have pain on the left - bend to the left. If you bend to the right your bulges will bulge more. You have to be conscious of it. Sleeping with a pillow between your knees will take some of the pressure off your spine.

    No one will touch my spine because I can still walk. Every conservative treatment made it worse. You will have to do your own research on thoracic as it is rare to damage your thoracic spine at those levels.

    I have had this for 9 years now and still want to die some days. The only thing that worked for me was a physio who found that it wasn't my T5 causing the pain but my T4 slipping out to the right onto my nerves and spinal cord. I crushed mine through trauma. She puts everything, my shoulder, scapula, T4 into the correct mechanical position and tapes it. It has been the only pain relief I have had in 9 years now. I am still on strong pain killers. Strong pain killers didn't touch my pain until they were combined with a muscle relaxant. Your muscles spasm trying to protect your damaged spine.

    Hopefully for you, your muscles - if you are careful should be healed in a few more weeks. There is a German cream I used - can't remember what it was called but I wrecked the muscles in another accident before I did really bad damage. The ointment is available over the counter and it does penetrate deeply. If you PM me I will look up the name. It did work for my muscles.

    After 9 years of this pain I would have an operation in a heartbeat but they say with my spine there is an 80% chance of paralysis so don't know what would be worse - paralysis and no pain or staying like this and staying on strong painkillers.

    I'm surprised they have offered to operate. Not may Drs have seen thoracic damage. If you go to a specialist ask them if they have dealt with thoracic damage on someone young with healthy bones. Most haven't. Also thoracic damage doesn't cause pain with a lot of people. I would wait until your muscles have healed at least. If you do decide you want an operation you need to get the best thoracic surgeon in the USA. There is a Dr who operated on a baseball player there. My specialist told me thoracic operations for T5 and above don't have very good outcomes - but that is just what he told me.

    Don't go near a chiropractor. Thoracic operations are dangerous and they normally won't operate because of pain only. Make sure you have the best specialist money can buy.

    I know the pain - mine never got better. You have to weigh up a lot of things and sometimes thoracic operations can make you worse off then before. I'm not trying to scare you but you need to research well.

    I hope they work out the best solution for you.

  • Thanks for the reply. I'm so sorry you are having to go through that! I've only been going through it nearly a year so I can imagine how frustrating it has to be for you!

    The spinal dr I talked to told me he didn't want to do surgery on that spot. And I told him I didn't want it either. So I've been sent to pain management Basically to try and keep the pain under control.

    I don't have muscle tears. I read the MRI report and it said annular tears at T5-T6 and T6-T7. It also said I had modest spondylosis from T5-T9. The disc bulge is at T5. I think all of this has contributed to my pain. There's so much going on in that area.

    I stopped seeing the chiropractor as soon as I was diagnosed with this. Had I have known I wouldn't have kept going. I'm afraid he is what made it so much worse. His treatment helped at first, but it continued to get worse until soon I was leaving his office in more pain than I was in.

    I have meds to help the pain. Right now, I think my anxiety is what is getting the best of me. I'm going to see my dr next week and see if he can send me to maybe a therapist to help deal with this.

    Thank you again for your response and I really hope things will improve for you as well.
  • I would PM Anelsen as he has had tears and find out what worked for him. Hope you don't mind Aaron.
Sign In or Register to comment.