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Upper back pain after an auto accident but nothing in all the tests

kiwiwadekkiwiwade Posts: 4
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:51 AM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
I know there are many posting like my posting, however I would like to ask for help...

I was in a minor auto accident 2 years ago. I was rear ended and my car was totalled, but at the time I did not sustain major injuries such as broken bones etc. I had whip lash and light concussion.
Unfortunately the "minor" accident and injuries I thought ended up being the chronic pain of my upper back 24/7 for the past 2 years.... The main area of pain is between my left shoulder blade and spine, left shoulder, lower left side of neck and rim of left sholder blade. The pain level varies day to day and even the points of pain changes slightly but always within the upper left shoulder blade area.
I also have this burning sensation and hypersensitivity in the general area as well. The sensation is almost like really severe sunburn and someone touching it.

The pain is always there, but once in a while I have this "Pain episode" last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks and during the bad episode, my left upper arm becomes sore, entire area of upper left back and shoulder is extremely painful. My left arms and fingers become numb and tingly as well.

I have done MRI, several Xrays, Nerve conductivity test, you name it all kinds of tests, however NOTHING indicates why I am in this much pain. Only minimal bulging of disc which doctors told me should not cause that much pain.

I was told the pain is phsycological or related to stress, however I know it is not. I am in pain even when I am relaxed and happy.

I have been on Vicodin for the past 2 years. I am so frustrated and feeling completely lost. Due to my law suits for this accident which caused this injury, I feel that some people are skeptical of my condition. The chronic pain changed my life, my emotional state, and even who I am.

Because the injury is as result of the auto accident, I can only see a doctor who accepts no fault insurance and there is only one in the area I live and since I live on the island, I have no easy access to specialists.

I am at the lowest point right now and feel like no one really believe or understand that I am in pain everyday for the past 2 years.

I just want to know why, so I can at least find the way to make it better.

Please help me, if anyone have any suggestion or any test I may be able to take.

It's like all the doctors have given up and telling me "time may heal....or not but you have to learn to live with it."

I know, I am not crazy person creating this pain! I just don't know what to do.....


  • All I can suggest is a different orthopedist or neurologist. Also try keeping a detailed pain log so you can give specific info on your pain. I've found that nothing turns a doctor off faster than "it hurts here, sometimes". But if you keep a written log pretty quickly you will see a pattern which will help the doctors find the cause.

  • My accident was at work though. My problem is that the doctors won't do anything about it. They all just want me to go back to work. I have been in so much pain since my fall, that I can hardly move without my upper back going into those horrific spasms that alot of times leave me in tears. Like you, they just want me to live with it and mine want me to get back to work. I know there is something wrong, I can feel it ALL the time. Ugh!!

    I hope you can find the answers you are seeking. Like a previous post, I believe a second opinion is needed.

    I pray you have a pain free day!
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  • i have this pain allready 2 years. MRI found only small protrusion at t6 t7 disc...but no doctor belive that pain cames from small protrusion. One dr neurologist,tell me that thoracic area is so so tight,and everly litlle movement can cause severe problems...i only dont understand why most of the doctors ignore this area. if the herniation is located in cervical or lumbar,then "yeah its because of herniation"...but for thoracic they all say,canot be from this...so frustrating...
    P.S. search for another opinion...
  • I had a small herniated disc and it caused a lot of pain and still have pain from the Degenerative Disc Disease that shows up over a year from my back injury on my second MRI. Have you had a second MRI? I also would go to another island to see another Specialist if I were you. Have you been to Physiotherapy and a Pain Management Dr.? I hope you can find some pain relief or another Dr. to help you. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • How r u doing now? Wow I have the same high impact rear end 6 months of pain Right shoulder neck sometimes left shoulder (like a band across back in ribs) sunburnt feeling right arm, pain in right arm, limbs fall asleep multiple times per day, I know its not a severe herniation as I've had l4 l5 (lower back) microdiscectomy 2 years ago and was pain free and active and happy now since this car accident now they did ct scan and xray on shoulder (not neck or lower back) found slight DDD where I'm complaining of the rib pain but because I don't have muscle weak ESS and fairly good range of motion but prior to my last surgery which my neurosurgeon said was if not the worst the secon d worse she had seen had no muscle weakness and she told me I shouldn't have been walking I live in a smaller community 3 hr drive to old neurosurgeon, but Dr won re recomend me can I just call her
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  • Your thoracic spine is supposed to be stable because of your ribs so it's hard to find a dr who believes you.

    I know mine is NOT stable and the physio watched it move the other day - she pushed the rib where my spine is damaged back into place and it helps. She did the one above which is not crushed.

    I damaged my ribs in the accident too tore muscle and tendon from them so it could be that we displace our ribs in trauma accidents. Mine radiated out through the shoulders as well and I spent heaps of money investigating my shoulder. I now believe it is my ribs displacing my thoracic spine.

    There is some research into thoracic spine trauma which is totally different. I am seeing a specialist in Australia soon who knows the difference, so hope he gets it.

    I have spent 7 years in incredible pain and had to give up work. They can see the crushed spine on the MRI but not the displaced ribs.

    Try getting a physio to push your ribs back in towards your spine where it hurts the most.

    Ask your Dr to look up research on thoracic trauma injuries if they don't believe you. Also try not to twist because this aggravates your injury.
  • Why not go for some low level laser therapy for the purpose? I am not sure but I have heard that it is very effective and helps one get rid of pain issues that is not easily resolved. Hope it helps you too.
  • I'm sorry I did not re-post right away.
    Well, my pain was, although still there, somewhat manageable for a While, however about three weeks ago,
    My husband accidentally bumped into my left arm with his knee while I was sitting on the ground. The impact was not that hard but I felt instant pain shot through my arm and since then, the pain in my upper left back, shoulder upper arm and even fingers are absolutely the worst. I missed work a few days due to the pain. I consider myself very totaling to pain. Fr example, I fell a sleep during tattoo session and I once cracked my rib but went on with my life with not much interruption, but this back pain cause by the auto accident which I believe was re-activated by the little bump from my husband has been completely untoralble. I can not sleep some nights and broke down a few times. ........
    I have another MRI scheduled as my doctor thinks that based on my pain locations there may be some pinched nerve in upper potion of spine ( I think what he said was something like c 5, c6 etc...).
    I would love to know if any of you have an injury in the similar area of back?
  • kiwiwadekkiwiwade Posts: 4
    edited 08/10/2013 - 1:38 PM
    To hear many of you are experiencing the same frustration. As I mentioned in my first post, due to my law suit for the accident, I was basically treated as " over stating e pain" I even read some doctor's not ( a doctor provided by my insurance company to assess whether I need continue treatment paind by insurance or not) " drug seeking behavior" when I only take 1, or when absolutely necessary 2 Hydrocodin pills a day!
    I work in extremely high pace, stressful intense environment with 10 hours of continuous computer use. Which does not help, of course.....
    I am very sorry for all of you out there with similar situations, but in a way made me feel bit better knowing there are people who understands my situation and someone who would not just dismiss my pain " claim" as psychological....
  • thoracic spine painthoracic spine pain Posts: 566
    edited 08/11/2013 - 2:44 AM
    The only way they really picked up my real damage was through a bone scan. The MRI's showed up a crushed vertebrae but I believe because I was prone during the MRI's they could not see the impact. I would try and get a sitting or standing MRI as they are weight bearing. There is a You Tube video which shows the difference . I believe if they had a weight bearing MRI everything would have been picked up much sooner. A bone scan was the way they ended up realising how much pain I was in.
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