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thoracic trigger point pain

i've got a t8-t9 disc herniation its pretty small and causes me no real issues itself (had esi and no pain relief at all, can pretty much rule out the disc as causing the pain, it indents but not compresses my spinal cord and i have no neurological symptoms) i do however have chronic back pain, i've had facet joint injections which provided no relief so again its unlikely the pain originates from these. I'm fairly sure it's muscle pain and have had one set of trigger point injections, these did seem to reduce the pain and spasm for about 4 days but it's now back as bad as before. is there anything that works for myofascial pain? i've tried home trigger point stuff ischemic pressure etc and i can never make the pain relief "last". i can sometimes make it significantly better with myofascial release but when I go to bed and get up its pretty much guarenteed to return. upon waking my spine feels as stiff as a board and i have significant muscle pain, sometimes it feels like i'm actively stretching my left paraspinal muscles although i'm not at all and i'm sitting normally, you can run your fingers over the muscles and they are raised and tight - in spasm. I figure that the trigger points are in relation to the small disc herniation, ie the muscles spasming around the spine to limit movement and protect that area. does this mean that unless the disc herniation goes away i'm always going to have these muscular issues? any techniques that have worked for others would be appreciated. I've had these issues for about a year and a half now......


  • This may sound ridiculous but have you tried a TENS unit? Since it appears to be muscular, you could try a TENS unit, especially overnight and see if it offers some relief.......you can leave a TENS unit on as long as you like and position the pads so that it covers all four sides of the area........it might help.
  • I've always found that trigger point injections work best when I stretch religiously & really work those muscles after the injections. Have you a list of exercises prescribed by a physical therapist? I do all the usual.. Stretches, exercise, TENs, ice & heat, topical creams, aromatherapy & massage to relax & muscle relaxants. I've never found a quick fix for muscle spasms, they're a bugger to manage ;-(
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • i've given TENS a go in the past and do have a unit at home, it has worked to varying degree's in the past but its never worked for very long. i have got exercises from a physio and do them pretty religiously, stretches etc. my main concern is the spasms are a by product of the disc herniation, and the disc herniation is pretty much here to stay!
  • thoracic spine painthoracic spine pain Posts: 566
    edited 05/05/2014 - 12:24 PM
    The only thing that helped me with thoracic pain was when they combined a muscle relaxant with a painkiller. You muscles do work overtime to protect the damage. I have my vertebrae moved into the correct mechanical position then taped so my muscles don't spasm it out again. If you aren't on painkillers that's great.

    My physio also taught me to bend to my right side - not to the left. I have crushed the vertebrae to the right side and the one above slips out to the right as it has nothing to hold it in place. Maybe if you bent to the same side as your herniation it would go back into a better place. I consciously bend to my right now - it's amazing how much I used to naturally bend to the left - stacking the dishwasher for one.

    If you bend to the side your herniation protrudes is it might put it back into a better place. If you bend the pther way it will probably make your disc come out more.

    It has made an incredible difference to my pain levels and is not dislodging so much. Hope this makes sense.
  • TSP. That's an interesting idea. I've never thought of that. ;-)

    Don't discs 'dry-up' in time?

    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • discs do indeed dry up over time, a way for the body to try and decrease the amount of liquid in the disc and as a result decrease pressure in the disc and the size of the herniation. i'm unsure how long the process takes.
  • There will always be some hydration in the discs, but they don't have their own source of hydration so they tend to loose a tiny, tiny bit as we age......or we injure/misuse areas of our spine
  • anyone got an explanation as to why upon waking my muscle pain is significantly worse, during the day if i use heat and myofascial release i can sometimes get the pain and tightness to almost completely go (this isnt every day but sometimes) but then when i wake up it is significantly worse? does anyone know why this happens? i know that if i sleep on my back or left hand it significantly aggravates it so i don't by choice ever do this, occassionally i roll in the night i think. its so odd, sometimes its the other way it can be awful before i go to bed, i wake up the next morning and it's much better? on the whole though it's normally a lot worse upon waking?
  • I stretch before going to sleep & use a heating pad. That helps a little but my muscle pain is always worse once they've rested & slowly improves as I get moving...by the end of the day pains bad & I'm exhausted. Sucks doesn't it? It's 'Groundhog Day' every morning. ;-(
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • i stretch, use a hot water bottle, myofascial release (i have a theracane) all day every day and although i can reduce the symptoms it is indeed like groundhog day upon waking.......
  • This happens to me too. I wake up, and I ache all over. It's very difficult to get out of bed. Once I do get out of bed and move around for awhile I feel better. I've thought of a couple reasons, one, I don't take my meds at night. Sometimes when I wake up it has been over ten hours since my last dose. Other I think affects the muscles and overall ache is I don't move a lot when I'm sleeping.mhowever, when I do move, I end up sleeping in a position I don't normally lie in, like on my side.
    What's a theracane?
    2000- spinal fusion, complete spine due to scoliosis
    2012- pain began, started treatment for chronic pain
    2013- install of pain pump, procedures to address complications
    2014-blood patch, spinal fluid leak
  • jon123jjon123 Posts: 46
    edited 05/17/2014 - 4:57 PM

    a **EDITED to remove product name** is an object used to treat trigger points by using ischemic pressure (myofascial release) sometimes i feel like i can get the muscles to relax with it, sometimes i can't and as far as i can tell i can't feel any hard nodules that are obvious trigger points but can feel taut bands, the muscles are always taut in the same place and the pain is in the same place too. i have been diagnosed with myofascial pain syndrome, just can't seem to find a method to actually make it go away.....

    Edited to remove link.........
    Post edited by Sandi- Please see the forum rules at the link below for more information.
    You agree not to post specific physician names or health care facilities , devices or product names on Spine-Health.com.


  • thoracic spine painthoracic spine pain Posts: 566
    edited 05/17/2014 - 5:02 PM
    I just found an amazing Book EDITED

    They used to treat thoracic pain with traction and manipulation for some things and had great results. You just need to read the excerpt pages to get an idea of how to treat the pain. I have a crushed 80% T5 and have some burst fractures and something else.

    I'm getting my inversion table out again. I really think that because the treatment of thoracic pain has changed to do nothing, it's stable. I had broken ribs as well and a really messed up scapula and shoulder - I didn't even have a brace or traction - if I had I'm sure I wouldn't be in this ongoing pain. It's really the first book I've read that says thoracic injuries can cause severe pain and isn't all about osteoporosis.

    Maybe it's because a lot more thoracic injuries were seen then due to the war. I am rereading it as it's in medical terms and am thinking of buying it though it's over $250 bucks but thinking of the amount of money I have spent on this that is nothing.

    I'm going to try the inversion table for three months now and see if it works. I wish they had put me in traction then mine wouldn't have healed in a bad place. A specialist admitted I had been managed badly from the start.

    Post edited by Sandi to remove name of website and book title, and physician name.

    5.10 You agree not to post specific physician names or health care facilities names on Spine-Health.com.
    6.02 Do NOT identify specific places of business or establishments

  • edited 05/17/2014 - 2:08 PM
    Just an idea, while the muscle pain is the thing that hurt most to you it's still possible it's being caused by an underlying condition in the spine, even if it's unknown.

    If it is a purely muscle problem and you've never strained/torn a muscle in your back, it's worth looking into other non-musculoskeletal conditions as you could be beating down the wrong path. Idk all the conditions that cause muscle spasms but there are diseases like MS that do.

    My Experience with Muscle Pain in Spine
    For the muscle pain in my low back(which also constantly feels spasming even at rest) the only thing that ever helped me was regular, continuous and rigorous exorcise. Which included upper body workouts, 2-5 times a week and walking(hiking) 3-7 times a week with stretching sprinkled on top. This was literally the only way to get rid of my muscle pain and only if I did these activities religiously. Not saying it will work for you but that was my experience.

    I always noticed that the first couple weeks of exorcise the pain feels worse but then peters out over the next few weeks and then feels almost non-existant. There was always 'the hump' to get over before getting results. Even then, high-impact exorcises like running, yes running is high-impact, typically made my condition worse. After I was in great shape, running wasn't bad on flat ground or uphill wasn't bad, but running downhill always made it worse no matter what.

    After I injured my chest I'm now unable to keep up this rigorous routine and the muscle pain in my back flares constantly. Stretching temporarily relieves the pain but has never been effective in the long term for me.

    I also get that same sort of muscle pain you said while sitting, in the muscles along the spine and also lower down my hips. My back is so tight that when Dr.'s tell me to reach toward the ground, I literally can't even put my body into a 90 degree angle let alone touch my toes.
  • the pain is purely muscular the cause is unfortunately not, the cause is a t8-t9 herniation, the muscles attempt to splint the area and then i get muscle pain, or at least that's how i see it. but there is an underlying cause it's just unfixable
  • okay, in the original post you stated otherwise so that's what I was going off.

    I just read some of your other posts too, physical therapy did the same to me; felt good but only temporary. To me the rigorous working out was the only 'cure' for muscle pain relief for me, pretty much physical therapy x10.

    Where is the muscle pain exactly? I actually just found out a few days ago that I have a herniation in the same spot as you, but have no mid-back pain but I do a lot of lower back muscle pain...

  • my muscle pain is actually very close to the herniation, it probably goes from t8-t12 roughly its the paraspinal muscle right next to the spine. i do occasionally get muscle pain near my shoulder pain but the constant pain and tightness is right next to and just below the level of the herniation. apologies if i didn't make the original post clear.
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