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AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:23 AM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
Hi everyone!

I'm new here, and I'm hoping one or more of you might be able to help me, because I'm just about at the end of my rope!!

In a nutshell, I'm a 34-yr-old female that has been coping with pain in my thoracic area for over 2 years. Prior to this, I had 2 reconstructive knee surgeries - one on each knee, 6 months apart, each taking about 6 months to heal from. Before my second surgery in October of 2005, I began having lower back pain and horrible soreness in my upper legs & groin area. I was diagnosed with RLS by my Neuro, and put on Neurontin, which I'm still on. I also had an MRI, which showed a slight herniation, but "nothing that should be bothering me" as it's not near a nerve. I also went through PT for this in between sessions for my knees. When it didn't improve 6 mos after my knee surgery, my Ortho sent me to pain management, who put my on stronger drugs and did facet injections (the injections did wonders to calm the lower back, leg & groin pain). A week after my injections, I could barely get out of bed to go to the bathroom because I developed excruciating pain in my thoracic area, and it's never gone away. According to doctors, there is no relation between the lumbar facet injections and my thoracic pain. I've been on almost every kind of pain med known to man, which I absolutely HATE - had facet injections in that area, which didn't work - had an MRI, which was clean - did PT, which didn't work - had trigger point injections with lidocaine, which...say it with me...didn't work! I got a second opinion, and that doc sent me to massage therapy and gave me a TENS. The TENS hurts and makes me nauseous. The massage therapist said he never felt ligaments so tight and suspected that as the culprit, and although tried long and hard, couldn't help me. So he recommended prolotherapy, which I began this past March and has helped a little - but after 5 or 6 sessions I'm still barely functional. I can do more than I used to, but not enough to qualify as any type of normal life. The osteopath doing the prolo said I shouldn't do any kind of exercise, even simple strengthening exercises in the meantime.

The pain is this awful soreness & burning sensation that can take my breath away at times. Sometimes I get shooting or stabbing pains that either are vertical and close to the spine or cut through me right to my chest. Even if I'm mindful of my posture, sitting up for long periods is the worst. Walking and standing are pretty bad too. When I do any of these things, I end up having to take break-through meds, slather on some bio-freeze and lay down, and it can take up to a couple hours to ease up. The best way I can describe it is - when it gets bad - is that it feels like someone is picking me up by that part of my spine and carrying me around like a handbag. I actually visualize this, and can't get that image out of my head until the pain eases. I've had a similar slight burning sensation in this area before when doing things like folding laundry and doing dishes, but never thought anything of it because it was never bad and eased up immediately after I stopped doing what I was doing. And it never bothered me even when participating in strenuous exercise. Now it's completely and utterly debilitating.

Please, please, please - I'm begging - if anyone else has had a similar experience and has any suggestions at all - I don't care how weird they sound - please let me know. I'll try anything. I have a master's degree in mental health counseling which I haven't been able to put to use yet because I can't work. I have a wonderful fiance that I would love to be able to marry and enjoy my wedding without being doped up. And I'm 34 and not getting any younger - I'm dying to start a family but am deathly afraid to get pregnant. I really feel like I'm crazy even though everyone keeps reassuring me that I'm not. I can't even cry anymore, because what good would it do?

Anyway, thanx for listening to me ramble and whine - lol! I hope this quite lengthy note of mine finds everyone feeling OK and in good spirits!



  • Hi Amber,

    While I don't share your affliction, I understand your fears and pain. There are thousands of members here and I'm sure someone has had a similar experience.

    Hang in there and just know we are here 24/7/365.

  • I think I have almost the same symptons. Terrible pain in the upper back area. Mine is okay when I first wake in the morning but as I start to get ready for the day I can feel the tightness coming on and then the pain starts. Sometimes it feels like something is grabbing and squeezing my spine and the sharp pains on both sides of my spine. Sometime it starts right below my shoulder blade. I can't stand for any length of time and it hurts to walk,its like my back is moving as I walk. A jarring feeling.

    Mine first started and only hurt in the evening when I was cooking dinner, by the time I had the dishs done all I could think of was laying down it was horrible pain. As the months went by the pain increased in duration, it is now with me every waking hour. The only relief is laying down and now that is starting to bother me too.

    I started seeing a D.O for several months and was on Hydrocodone, he finaly ordered an MRI which only showed 2 mild disc bulges in my T area. I got a tens unit but that was just irratating. I just started physical therapy and I hoping that will help. I have had 2 sessions so far.

    Right now my back is acheing while I am in my recliner which a month ago wouldn't have bothered me, it just seems to be getting worse.

    Do you get any tingling in your legs or hands? I have tingling and pain down my right leg and sometimes it feels like my foot is on fire. I have also lost some dexterity in my right hand.

    Sorry if I hijacked your thread but I think we have some things in common and I could just scream, I am so tired of this. Doctor took me off Hydrocodone because he thinks I have been on it too long among other things.

    I don't know what we are going to do if this P/T doesn't work.
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  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,348
    I think everyone with Thoracic problems has come to the realization that:
    1 - There is NOT a lot of information available about it
    2 - The Surgical Procedure seems like a nightmare
    3 - Most Treatments do not provide relief
    4 - Spinal Injections do little to help

    I've been through all of these and it wasnt until I started with pure Thai Deep Tissue Massage was there a difference.
    For the upper Thoracic area and Upper back muscles, the
    rhomboid muscle is ONE of the major reasons why you have the
    burning, stabbing and at times unbearable pain.
    No normal physical therapy treatments could ever get down deep enough to help with that.
    The Deep Tissue Massage (which is VERY PAINFUL) was able to get deep enough to start breaking down the rhomboid muscle and make it pliable. Once that starts to happen, you should start to see some relief in the thoracic area. The rationale behind this is while the rhomboid muscle is tight and hard, the thoracic disc have additional stressed placed on them, which cause so much of discomfort. But once that muscle can move again, it will take some of the burden off of the thoracic discs.
    Now, this is the theory behind the person doing my Deep Tissue Message as well as my Pain mgt doctor. I know
    personally, that without the DTM, I will still be having all sorts of problems. I still have Thoracic problems and probably will for life, but I am working on how to control and manage this.

    And always remember what is said here in the forums, by members, by myself is NOT formal medical information, it is information and experiences that we have been through. Always consult with your doctors.

    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Thank you so much for the quick replies I've received so far! While I wouldn't wish this on anyone and feel deeply for everyone going through this, it certainly helps to know I'm not alone.

    "C" - Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your words of encouragement! I can't express how much it means to me to know that there are people such as yourself that are there for me and everyone else on these boards.

    Suziee - It does sound like we are going through very much the same thing. Mine began several years ago too when doing things such as folding laundry or doing dishes. The funny thing is that other, more strenuous activities didn't bother me then. I took boxing lessons and taught kickboxing aerobics, and other than the occasional pulled muscle, I never had any problems doing those things. It's possible that mine is the result of shifting my weight to one side of my body for long periods of time after having the knee surgeries - my hips were out of alignment at one point - but I don't understand why it started so late into my recovery and why there has been zero improvement since my knees have healed. I don't get any numbness or tingling in my arms or legs, but the soles of my feet become hot and sore at times, and there's been a few times when I have trouble writing - like trying to sign my name on a credit card slip for example. I have no idea if either of those have anything to do with my back trouble though. Oh, and please don't worry about "hijacking" my thread!! I'm extremely interested in what others are experiencing and what they're doing for treatment!! I sincerely hope the PT works for you, and please keep me updated as to how you're doing!!!

    Ron - I sincerely appreciate the advice!! Is Thai DTM different from that you would get from a physical therapist who performs massage? I've tried DTM in PT and it didn't help much. But if there's a different way of doing it, I'm game to try!!! I'm glad your pain mgmt doc seems attentive and is recommending treatments for you as opposed to just whipping out the prescription pad. It seems that's all mine really does, which is why I've turned to all of you for help! How much relief would you say you've experienced as a result of the Thai DTM? I would be grateful right now for just enough to get me back to work!!

    Thank you all again!! I look forward to hearing back from you and hopefully from others too!! If there's anything I can do for anyone, please let me know!!

  • Amber, Mine didn't hurt when doing hard things, like cleaning the carpets, mowing the yard, yet doing the dishs, cooking dinner, anything that had me bent slightly with my arms extended made my upper back extremely painfull. Now it just hurts all of time except when laying down and we will see how long that lasts.

    Your description of someone carrying you by the back is a good description of the pain and now I can't get that visual out of my mind either.

    I'm so angry at my doctor, this has been going on for 9 months now and in my opinion if he can't fix me then send me to someone who will.

    I too feel like I have run out of tears.. I feel like I have no quality of life. I can't go out for dinner, for a walk, shopping nothing. The depression is starting to get the better of me. Maybe we can get this figured out together.

    Keep me posted as I will you.

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  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,348

    I've been to several different Physical Therapists and they all agree that they can not get as deep as someone trained in pure Thai Deep Tissue Massage. Its a art to itself. However, be aware that because there are very little regulations in USA regarding massage therapists/organization, almost anyone can hang a sign and state that they do Deep Tissue Massage. I spoke with one of my PT's and she told me that with the training they receive (which is national) there is nothing that can reach the depths of someone fully qualified to perform Deep Tissue Massage
    Those treatments were the difference for me. Before I started DTM, nothing worked, now after DTM, I can use other treatments (exercise, stretching, heat,etc) to help make things feel better. Without all of my DTM sessions, I seriously doubt I could spend more than 2 hours on a computer for an entire day (and this is my profession).

    But be warned, someone who performs Deep Tissue Massage correctly can be very painful. It all depends on the severity of your deep muscles. I remember so clearly that my first 3 months going for treatments, I would almost cry at each session. The work done by elbows, heels, toes, can be so aggressive that it will bring tears to your eyes. But it has been worth it
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
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