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Complex thoracic back pain advice

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:23 AM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
I'm female, 47. I'm currently 47 yo, 5' 102 lbs. I have Scoliosis with a 41 degree thoracic curve with a compensatory lumbar curve of about 21 degrees. I have no other health problems. The curve was 27 degrees from ages 19-42. Curve increased by ~13 degrees to 41 degrees in 4 years.( this seems to have coincided with menopause. Along with the curve change came ever increasing back pain. The Pain is right side only from About T3 - T2 with radiating burning pain that wraps around the front of my right side lower rib cage. I have had multiple MRIs showing only slight disc degeneration, some say normal for my age. I have tried 2 years of various spine injection at the Stanford pain clinic. Deep tissue massage, acupuncture, a physical therapist trainer three days a week for 8 months. Three rounds of standard PT. Botox Muscle injections and I think one of the folks I was I was was an actual witch doctor. (maybe kidding about the witch doctor but I am open) Today I went to see a renowned minimally invasive spine surgeon in Sacramento who told me the Scoliosis change could not be causing the pain and spine fusion surgery of this type improves the pain less than 50 % of the time and he would not perform it in this case. He said there must be some other cause of the pain. He did not however give me any real path forward other than another MRI. I am now on Hydrocodone (a little afraid of the Acetaminophen liver affects) daily just enough to take the edge off the pain. I wake u from the pain and night and have trouble getting to sleep at times. I was on Tramadol intermittently before. I have tried Flexeral and Neurontin with no success. I don't have an addictive personality so that is not particularly a worry. I don't drink alcohol more than twice a month and don't smoke. The pain is just getting slowly worse over time and I am out of ideas and totally frustrated with the ongoing pain. I am being sent for yet another thoracic MRI. The last one was in November last year. I work full time managing an engineering team. I have enough frequent flyer miles to go just about anywhere to see a specialist. I am looking for suggestions or the experience of others. Thoughts? Feedback? -- Sandy


  • Hello and Welcome,
    I would say go see the Cleveland Spine Clinic. They are leaders in the field. I do know this that it is very hard to get anyone to deal with thoracic pain. I have many large heriation from T4 to T10. No one will touch me. Sandy do you have any other problems besides pain. Loss of bowel or bladder, drop foot or stuff like that? I've been told until it's an emergency they will do nothing. I have been to the Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Spine Clinic and have the best NS in Michigan. I was just awarded SSD and find that my career is over. But I do know with scoliosis there is more hope for you. O:)

    I have tried all the same things as you to no avail. Rest and not over doing it is the only thing that helps me. But the pain is relentless. Ron should be on with advise and there are many other who will chime in. So ask away and we do understand. Lois
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