Upper back pain, unable to breathe well...need advice.

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SMS25
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Joined: 05/17/2013 - 12:11am
Upper back pain, unable to breathe well...need advice.

Hi there,

I just joined because I am a little desperate. I am sure many of you have been in the same position as myself. A little over a year ago, out of the blue, I had intense upper back pain (mainly in my upper left shoulder blade area and spine in between my should blades and a little below) and my breathing was incredibly restricted, as though my lungs couldn't expand enough to completely fill up. I got very scared because I felt like I couldn't get enough air in. I'm a student, so I tend to sit hunched over quite a bit and this of course only made things worse. I have very mild asthma, so I assumed something must be going on with my lungs and went to my doctor. He said my breathing was great, did a breathing test and took a chest x-ray just to be safe. Everything came back clear. He seemed convinced it was stress, but I disagreed.

I hoped things would just clear up on its own, but it's been a year now and the pain is still just as bad. It comes in waves as well, sometimes it's bearable, but uncomfortable and days like today it is unbearable and every breath I take is a struggle. I am constantly flexing my shoulder blades to try and crack something to make it feel better, or having people walk on my back, or laying on a tennis ball etc. It does crack and pop but never feels better. Sometimes I have to crack something because it feels out of place and in order to feel relief it needs to pop out.

After seeing the regular doctor I went to two body workers, a massage therapist and have recently been seeing a chiropractor. Everyone told me how incredibly tight the muscles in my back are. They said this could be restricting my breathing. The chiropractor took x-rays and said that two of my upper discs were rotated and that I no longer have the natural curve in my neck anymore, it actually slightly curves the other way. He also did a test where I would push/pull against him testing the strength of my left vs right arm. My left arm/shoulder was incredibly weak. This is the side I am having the most trouble with. It was actually pretty incredible how weak that side was. This was all somewhat good news because it was the first person who could actually show me evidence of something going on and the symptoms that I was having seemed to be in line with my injury.

So my chiropractor explained to me that it isn't something that is a quick fix and I would need to start off seeing him 3 times a week and that over time my rotated discs would fall back into place. I'm only 25 so he said people my age recover better. He compared it to working out, you can't just be in shape over night and run a marathon. It takes time to get to that point. He also said the popping in my shoulder was because my back wasn't strong enough/where it should be, therefore other things aren't able to function correctly and are compensating. I trusted him and saw him for a couple months. I questioned the process though, when I would come in he would see me for at the most 5 minutes and just crack a few things and send me on my way. For the pain I am in, that just doesn't seem like enough. I thought I was getting better and for a couple weeks my pain was totally gone, for the first time in a year. Unfortunately, like I said before it comes in waves. It came back. I asked him about the process again and questioned it only to be informed and educated since I am not knowledgeable in this area. I have stopped seeing him and plan on getting a second opinion from another chiropractor.

I would really appreciate advice specifically about what my next step should be or if anyone has any idea of what is going on with me? If my chiropractor seemed to be on the right track or if I am correct in seeking a second opinion. I really appreciate thank you.

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thoracic spine pain
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Last seen: 7 months 3 days ago
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Joined: 03/28/2013 - 2:30am
Get a second opinion

If the pain stops you breathing it can be quite dangerous. Have you had your ribs checked It can be a symptom of thoracic spine damage if you can't breathe properly. It could also be an infection if it comes in waves.

I know MRI's are expensive in the States but you need to go to your GP and get referred to a specialist. There is obviously something wrong. Also try and do some research yourself on your symptoms. I had to do most of my own research even though my MRI's clearly show the problem. Maybe go to a physiotherapist instead of a chiro, or an oesteopath can tell whether it's muscle damage or your spine. You really need to do something now before it gets worse as it already sounds like it's turning into chronic pain. And tell your GP it's effecting your breathing because that is really important in the diagnosis.

SMS25
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Last seen: 1 year 6 months ago
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Joined: 05/17/2013 - 12:11am
Thanks for the response. I'm

Thanks for the response. I'm glad someone else finally sees there is something wrong. After seeing quite a few professionals and talking to family and friends, no one seems to think it is that serious. I think I put a pretty good face on through the pain. I feel like there is definitely something that the doctors are missing. I really want to find a doctor/specialist who will make it their mission to fix this. Up to now, I feel like my concerns have been somewhat dismissed. I have done research online etc but there are so many possibilities it's a bit overwhelming.

I will take your advice and try a specialist. It has become chronic pain and is interfering with my life so I am willing to do anything. Thanks again.

thoracic spine pain wrote:
If the pain stops you breathing it can be quite dangerous. Have you had your ribs checked It can be a symptom of thoracic spine damage if you can't breathe properly. It could also be an infection if it comes in waves.

I know MRI's are expensive in the States but you need to go to your GP and get referred to a specialist. There is obviously something wrong. Also try and do some research yourself on your symptoms. I had to do most of my own research even though my MRI's clearly show the problem. Maybe go to a physiotherapist instead of a chiro, or an oesteopath can tell whether it's muscle damage or your spine. You really need to do something now before it gets worse as it already sounds like it's turning into chronic pain. And tell your GP it's effecting your breathing because that is really important in the diagnosis.

dilauro
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SMS25

I am sure that you will find your time on Spine-Health very rewarding. This site is a powerful and integrated system that is dynamic and continues to grow.
Here are just some of the highlights:

- Detailed medical libraries of Articles and Videos that address almost every Spinal Conditions and Treatment

- The Wellness section contains articles, tips and videos to help patients after surgery and also to help people avoid surgery.

- Under the Resource tab, there is a section Doctor Advice Health Center which can be invaluable.

- As a bonus, Spine-Health provides these patient forums. Here is where you can meet thousands of other people who understand and can relate to your situation. You will soon become part of the Spiney family who provide comfort and the advantages of a Support System. You are now part of this family that is approximately 20,600 International members and growing daily.

- It is very important to understand the Forum Rules to make sure all of your posts do not violate any of the rules.

- As a new member, it is helpful to understand the 'makeup' of these forums, how to make posts, tips on adding images and much more. You should read Forum FAQ

Here are some you should take a look at:
Read before you post
Tips for Newcomers
Understanding the rules

All of this will help make your threads better and improve the times and quality of responses you will receive.

If you have any questions or need assistance, you can use the Private Message facility to contact any one of the Moderators on my team:

dilauro

tamtam

Liz

Sandi

JellyHall

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I agree with thoracic spine health, get a second opinion. Start with your PCP and go from there. Personally, if there is even a remote possibility about having some disc related issues, I would NOT be going to a chiropractor. Many of them are totally trained in the muscular and skeleton infrastructures of our bodies, but understand the spinal cord, the nerve root, etc,
thats a different story

The key right now is getting your problem properly identified so that action plans can be put into place. Until that happens, all we could give you are suggestions based on our own experiences, but we have no idea what is actually going on with you.

Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Moderator
Dont laugh at me

mala
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Last seen: 1 week 6 days ago
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Joined: 06/24/2013 - 9:20pm
SMS25

You are not alone!!!!! January this year, I was in bed lying down on my side, then i felt a burst/tight feeling in my left shoulder blade, since this happen I can't take a deep breath.. This has affected my life, I can not enjoy my life anymore and I want to give up... The doctors gave me muscle relaxing tablets, they don't help.. I also got an MRI done showing my spine is not good.. The doctor thinks it could be anxiety.. The thing is, I felt this happen to me, I felt a burst/tight feeling in my left shoulder blade and noone can help me... Good Luck and I feel your pain !!!!!!

sandi
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Online
Last seen: 3 min 36 sec ago
Title: Moderator
Joined: 06/20/2008 - 12:53am
Hello Mala and welcome to Spine Health

I am sure that you will find your time on Spine-Health very rewarding. This site is a powerful and integrated system that is dynamic and continues to grow.
Here are just some of the highlights:

- Detailed medical libraries of Articles and Videos that address almost every Spinal Conditions and Treatment

- The Wellness section contains articles, tips and videos to help patients after surgery and also to help people avoid surgery.

- Under the Resource tab, there is a section Doctor Advice Health Center which can be invaluable.

- As a bonus, Spine-Health provides these patient forums. Here is where you can meet thousands of other people who understand and can relate to your situation. You will soon become part of the Spiney family who provide comfort and the advantages of a Support System. You are now part of this family that is approximately 20,600 International members and growing daily.

- It is very important to understand the Forum Rules to make sure all of your posts do not violate any of the rules.

- As a new member, it is helpful to understand the 'makeup' of these forums, how to make posts, tips on adding images and much more. You should read Forum FAQ

Here are some you should take a look at:
Read before you post
Tips for Newcomers
Understanding the rules

All of this will help make your threads better and improve the times and quality of responses you will receive.

If you have any questions or need assistance, you can use the Private Message facility to contact any one of the Moderators on my team:

dilauro

tamtam

Liz

Sandi

JellyHall

mala
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Joined: 06/24/2013 - 9:20pm
Sandi

Thank you for the nice welcome, most appreciated..

thoracic spine pain
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Last seen: 7 months 3 days ago
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Joined: 03/28/2013 - 2:30am
It's not anxiety probably - that's the excuse they give to women

Get them to look at your thoracic spine. Look at a dermatone chart - there is one on this site and lots of others on the web to see where the pain radiates from your thoracic. It can effect breathing - tell your doctor - read the intractable pain manual on this site.

You need to say what showed up in the MRI, which level looked bad, then people who have had the same thing can help you.

LTee43
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Last seen: 7 months 2 weeks ago
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Joined: 06/27/2013 - 11:32am
I have a thoracic spine

I have a thoracic spine injury and it keeps me from taking a full breath at times. I have moderate asthma as well.

I'm in pain management and seeing a chiropractor 2X a week. I also ice my neck and back in the evenings and use a home TENS device, which is a big help while I have it on. You may want to see another chiropractor, the one I see came highly recommmended and he got my spine & neck back in line. Ask about back-strengthing exercises which may help keeping your back in line.

LT

Diagnosis: Thoracic facet syndrome & cervical and thoracic radiculopathy from car accident trauma.

mala
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Last seen: 1 week 6 days ago
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Joined: 06/24/2013 - 9:20pm
Back X-Ray and MRI

Could anyone please help me and tell me what my x-ray and mri scans mean..

X-Ray
Technique:
Volumetic scans have been performed through the thoracic spine with reconstructed scans through the intervertebral discs as well sagittal and 3D reconstructions provided via a work station.
Report:
The bony spinal canal is of adequate dimension. The thecal sac and spinal cord have a normal appearance as far as they can be seen. No focal disc protrusions are seen. There is a mild end plate change and schmorl's node formation in the mid to lower thoracic spine but no compression fractures are seen. Disc space heights are preserved. Neural exit foraminae are patent bilaterally. No other focal bony abnormalities are detected. No abnormalities are seen in the paraspinal soft tissues.
Conclusion;
Mild end plate change and schmorl's node formation but no evidence of a compression fracture nor of a focal disc protrusion.

MRI
Technique:
Multiplanar T1 and T2 weighted images were acquired of the thoracic spine with sagittal T2 weighted images also performed of the cervical and lumbar spine.
Report:
The alignment is within normal limits. No abnormality is demonstrated in the marrow. Minor loss of signal intensity is seen in the discs from T6/7 to T10/11 with minimal end plate irregularity but without end plate destruction or marrow oedema.
Further minor signal loss with preservation of the disc space height is seen in the discs from L2/3 to L5/S1. There is no focal disc protrusion, epidural mass, cord compression or intrinsic cord abnormallty int he throracic spine and no paraspinal soft tissue mass is seen.
Conclusion:
Disc degeneration is demonstrated in the mid/lower thoracic disc without focal dosc protrusion, cord compression or intrinsic cord abnormality. No paraspinal soft tissue mass is seen.

Thank you for reading this and helping me.. what do I need to do to fix this problem? does anything show here why its hard to take a deep breath?

Thank you Smile

mala
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Last seen: 1 week 6 days ago
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Joined: 06/24/2013 - 9:20pm
SMS25

Hi SMS25,

EDITED to remove link. Please do not post links on the Spine Health forums.

I am still finding it hard myself, I just wish I could breath like I used to..

Hope you are well.

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