Just wanted to take a minute to introduce myself. I hope to learn about treatment options and share my experience.
My name is Dave. I'm 27 years old, and have three consecutive herniated discs in my thoracic spine, due mostly to an "exercise injury" from February 2013.
I've seen my PCP, a Physiatrist, and a Chiropractic Doctor. Have yet to see a spine specialist but am now in search of one as I am in the middle of a really bad pain/discomfort flare up.
What diagnostic test have you had and what are the results
Multiple MRIs resulting in the following result:
"There is mild loss of T2 signal in the intervertebral discs at T5-6 through T7-8.
At T5-6 there is a small left lateral disc protrusion which touches the thoracic cord.
At T6-7 there is a large left paracentral disc herniation which abuts and effaces the thoracic cord.
At T7-8 there is a small central disc protrusion which touches the thoracic cord."
What medications are you currently on:
None, but I take Ibuprofen at the onset of pain and sometimes it helps.
What treatments have you had so far? Conservative or Aggressive?
I've had chiropractic manipulation which had mixed results,and physical therapy which hasn't made much of a difference.
What are the recommendations/action plan from your doctor(s)
To try more conservative measures before seeking surgery.
Have you had previous spinal surgery? If so, identify when , what and the results
No prior surgery.
Here's how I injured myself originally
Picture yourself laying down on your back on a raised surface like a platform or a bed. Now imagine that you are not flexible at all and you decide you'd like to dismount from said platform by rapidly shooting your legs straight up and back, in an attempt to backflip off the platform. Midway through this attempt, I felt a weird pain in both my chest and my back, and there was a bulge to the left of my sternum. As I lowered my legs back down, the bulge (whether it be a muscle or rib, no one is certain to this day) went back into place. The constant pain continued for a couple days. That's when hindsight makes me wish I had seen a doctor immediately.
I didn't seek help until several months later, when I was at the gym and did some stretching exercises which really aggravated my injury. In the months leading up to that, and ever since, I've had weird sensations of pain and discomfort around my upper rib cage. At times it has felt like a bear claw is wrapped around my left side. At other times it feels like I am having a heart attack (have had my vitals checked, heart is normal and strong.) In addition to and caused by this feeling of a heart attack, I've experienced several anxiety attacks. I've even had a mysterious issue with my bladder that urologists could not identify after a multitude of tests.
Anything from lifting something moderately heavy (like my 25lb niece) to laughing or laying the wrong way in bed can trigger a minute or longer of intense pain, which can sometimes be remedied by shifting my body or sitting/standing in a certain way.
Basically, at this point I am highly open to the idea of spine surgery, something I had previously ruled out. I've recently been made aware of a newer minimally invasive laser surgery that doesn't require fusions.
What do you guys think? I hope I can be of some assistance to these forums as I try to get healing.
Thanks for reading and have a great week!
Dave - 27yo male w/ 3 Herniated Thoracic Discs!