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Is this normal?

I have been suffering with mid back pain for years. In the past this pain would become severe only when I over did it. In the past 6 months this pain has become chronic. It is a wide band of pain across my mid back that radiates into my right rib cage.
This pain is a burning sensation, I also have some pins and needles sensation and I swear it feels like my mid spine is just broken it hurts so bad. I also cannot take a deep enough breath, cannot cough deep and even struggle with sneezing.

Because I had a non functioning neurostimulator where the leads were surgically attached right where this pain was coming from, we made a decision to remove the neurostimulator so that 1. We could see if the old leads were putting pressure on the nerve 2. We could get an MRI down the road. Before I had that done we of course had a CT scan completed. At that time they saw an enlarged T11 nerve root and believe there is a small Schwarnoma there.

We decided to remove the neurostimulator and see if that helped. I had that done on November 16th. That of course caused more severe pain and almost 8 weeks later the pain in my back and right rib cage is no better.
They decided to wait to do an MRI until after I have been To a pain management doctor who now has me on gabapentin and 10mg Vicodin. I am not tolerating gabapentin, have been on it a month and the pain has not budged. He then said we will try physical therapy, drugs and if we have to a neurostimulator. (I am not allowing them to put in another darn neurostimulator, that is for sure. I went to physical therapy today.
My ribs are locked which is why I am struggling with deep breaths and coughing. The physical therapist even said, why haven't they done an MRI yet? We need to know what is causing this. Then I went to the pain specialist, they did a full neuro work up. My balance is off, I have weakness in my arms and on both my right back and right ribs, the area is actually numb. He said I have thoracic radiulocopathy.

Is it normal that they would put me through all these drugs and pt without first doing an MRI? If I really have a Schwarnoma on the T11 nerve root, wouldn't we want to know what impact that is having before I end up with permanent damage?

I have been through a lot in the last year. In June I had a 3 level cervical fusion, in November removal of my neurostimulator and I blew my left rotator cuff and have severe arthritis of the AC joint which will result in surgery feb 12th. I am literally exhausted from pain and don't want to take drugs and pt if it is not going to really help this problem. The physical therapist that I saw today who was awesome by the way left me feeling like they will work to help with my ribs issues as best they can but if I really have a nerve impingement none of this will really help me.

I am at a loss on what to do from here. Can I demand that MRI at this point? I feel like I have been pushed off to a pain guy instead of finding out what is causing this and having a game plan.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
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