Years of back pain and the MRI shows NOTHING REMARKABLE

Years of back pain and the MRI shows NOTHING REMARKABLE

Welcome to Spine-health’s Upper Back Pain patient community. You can also read doctor approved Upper Back Pain Articles and watch Upper Back Pain Videos.
32 posts / 0 new
Last post
Anonymous (not verified)
Years of back pain and the MRI shows NOTHING REMARKABLE

I have had Back pain for years, severe burning in the "T5-6" area, swollen muscles on both sides of spine, sharp pain every breath. I have been going to the doctor for a couple of years, shots of cortisone, pain meds, muscle relaxers, e-rays, and a MRI. The MRI summary said : Essentially unremarkable apprearance of the thoracic spine. But something is wrong. Pain is there & I don't know what else to do. I'm tired of the doctor's staff treating me like a junky everytime I go in for my pain medicine refills. What could be the problem? Does anyone have any ideas or similiar problems?

royce4142 (not verified)
Doctors don't know

The Doctor is now trying a new medicine called Gabapentin (Neurontin) 300 mg. once a day to see if it might help. Do you know anything about this medicine?

dilauro's picture
Joined: 06/16/2008 - 9:41pm

is a very effective nerve medication. I started out with 300mg dosage per day and currently I am using 2000mg a day.
It has been effective in allowing me to reduce narcotic pain medications and I believe it was one of major factors in allowing me to eliminate Oxycontin.
I've been taking this for about 6 months and have seen zero negative side effects

Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Moderator
Dont laugh at me

Joined: 06/26/2008 - 3:11pm
be careful what you accept

I was told the same thing, but I know i have a high tolerance for pain and that something more was wrong. Kept pushing and saw new doc and had mri done and what do you know herniation at t6-t7 impinging on spinal cord among other things. The results can depend on the doctor reading films, the strength of the mri machine, some people not me saw new problems when they had a sitting mri done weaker coil though. I sound like a broken record and I have said this before, i was told my back pain and hip pain was in my head after those mri's ( one on hip came back neg). Two years down the line I was right, back pain diag. from herniation and found another doc for hip, told him my symptoms mimic torn labrum, he said its rare ,but worth a shot and did a contrasted mri. I was right had surgury 10 days later and pain free (hip) ever since. The doc said he was one of only 2 docs in Houston, TX doing that surgury. I by no means think I am smarter than a doc but I know me better than anyone and I did some reasearch and found things that patterned my symptoms and found a good doctor whos ego did not prevent him from listening to the person whos body it is. Even if I would have been wrong and he said theres no way i would have felt better like i was getting somewhere and thats what a good doctor does. Sorry so long but i get mad at this 2 years I suffered in pain for what amounted to 45 min surgury, no rehab and fully functional in 10 days.( talking about hip, back is another issue)

Herniated T6-7, multiple herniations in cervical, tears in T5-T8. Stenois at levels and smorls nodes from thoracic thru lumbar

bluemacaw (not verified)
Chronic Myofascial Pain

Have you looked into CMP? Your muscles on either side of your spine might have CMP trigger points (which feels like knots in the muscles.) They can feel small like a pea, or large like a marble. Here is the best website I have found on the matter.

haglandc (not verified)

Welcome to Spine Health. I like your username, obviously someone that likes birds.

I hope you have some time to go to the intro section and introduce yourself so we can all get to know you a little bit better.

Always feel free to PM our moderators, Ron, Paul, Bruce and Miki.


melanied (not verified)
Do not accept that

Do not accept that answer.You know your body and if you are in pain there is a reason for it. Last year from the first of november til January 9th this year I was on a walker. I have had back trouble for years and had already had one back surgery prior to this incident. My left leg started bothering me and got worse and worse as the time went by. they did m.r.i's, myleograms, all kind of test and said there was nothing showing that could cause this kind of pain. I didn't go back to my original surgeon because He is out of town so the one that I went to here in my home town offered me the advice that in the old days people went to bed with this kind of pain and that in a few months it could get better. I had already suffered for 2 months!!! I decided to go back to the surgeon who did my first surgery. I am so glad I did. He did exploratory surgery and found the problem. I had a bone spur that was like a bent knuckle hiding under the main nerve root making it where it wouldn't show on x-rays or mri's. it had the nerve root bent up causing my pain. he drilled that spur down and lay the nerve back down. instant relief when i awoke from surgery. You just have to find the right doctor. I am just 2 days out of the hospital from my 3rd back surgery in 4 years. This one was for a ruptured disc L/4 L/5. I wish you luck and hope that you can find someone to find the problem.

Oriah (not verified)
Not acceptable


Welcome, I'm sorry you are getting treated this way. I had to go through many doctors before I found my wonderful NS and PM team!

My thoracic pain is a combination of overextending those muscles because of lumbar problems and esophageal issues. So when you wrote sharp pains in every breath can you describe it better. Mine is like locking air in my sternum area and so the swelling and inflammation carries over to the upper back as well. I'm still having more test to evaluate this symptom and others, also lesion at T4 growing.

So, could you have upper gastrological problems and not know it? Do you have history of arthritis? Was your MRI done with contrast? I'm not a doctor, just throwing different ideas for you to research.

What it all comes down to is finding a good doctor that is knowledgeable and willing to work with you. They are out there, just hard to find. What state do you live in?

Take care and keep us updated if you can.

ZombiePandaBear (not verified)
MRI with few "abnormalities" but not enough to cause pain

I have a chipped disc pinching the nerve controlling my right arm, a herniated disc between L-4 and L-5 and something going on in my thoracic spine that is UNBEARABLE. I have vertebra popping out slightly, pain, pressure, and the worst pain I have ever experienced. I FINALLY convinced my pain management Dr. to MRI my thoracic spine and he called me today to tell me he found a "few abnormailities" but nothing that would cause as much pain as I have been having. I cried and cried....this was my worse nightmare. I am on so may pain meds that controls everything from the burning in my body, the other discs, but not this....I know in my heart this is serious but now I have a Dr. who is giving me second thoughts. I cannot work the pain is so bad, and have Medicaid so I don't have much of a choice (on Docs that is). I read the story about the bent knuckle hiding under the main nerve root. It sounds similar to what I am experiencing ...How does a 22 year old convince these limited Dr's that there is something serious going on....This has taken over my life. I cannot go to school, care for my daughter and am on so many meds my Dr. is almost mad at ME about it.This is unreal. I don't really have the money to go to Dr. to Dr. But I'm glad I am not alone :{

overpain (not verified)
Me to

I know how you feel, for almost 2 years i have had lower back pain, inner right thigh pain, sciatica, some times pain across my stomach right side and a gland down there that gets iritated. This happens when ever i lift something and reach, sit on something to hard, to soft, for to long, sit and lift, all little things that arch my back, backwards. I got an MRI done and it showed buldging L4/L5 after struggling for a year being diagnosed, swimming 1k everything morning, walking an hour every day and physio i had enough and went to a neuro specialist, he told me my MRI dosnt match my symptoms.

I am so sick of being pain and having nothing done about it, the doctors spend about 5 mins talking and your out the door and you get charged 50 buks a time, i cant afford to keep going back and not getting any help.

I now have to go back for another MRI on my spine incase anything has changed...

No one can explain the iriated gland either, been to gynos and there is nothing wrong...i know it get iriated every time i hurt my back strange.

Joined: 12/03/2009 - 6:46pm
Royce4142......I totally

Royce4142......I totally feel for you. I am in a similiar situation. I had a L5-S1 microdisectomy 4 years ago and 8 months after the surgery I started to have radiating pain down my leg and severe lower back pain. I have just had an mri done and my worst nightmare has come true....the mri doesn't show much except that the l5-s1 disc is markedly narrowed and minimal scar tissue present. You are not alone....i also feel as if the doctors think I am a drug seeker. Very discouraging....I hope things start to get better for you. Take care.