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Chronic Thoracic Spine/Lateral Muscle Pain and Spasms, 2+ years--getting worse as time passes, HELP!

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Comments

  • Pain is frightening. Chronic unrelenting pain is terrifying!! So many of us here have been through this. You're not alone, what you're feeling is completely normal. You'd be a weird one if you weren't scared! ;-)

    I've been on the chronic pain (not so merry) merry-go-round for about 9 years now. To begin with I just went to the spine clinic, did what I was told, took what I was told & hoped for some miracle. What I've learnt over the years is you have to be your own strong advocate. Research & try to educate yourself but most of all push for answers. All of this is easier to handle once you know what's causing it. Sometimes doctors get a little jaded in my experience. If they don't seem driven to get to the bottom of this & help you, a new pair of eyes can make all the difference. A large hospital could offer a broader approach when diagnosing you.

    What diagnostic tests, treatments, therapy etc have you tried so far? What doctors & specialists have you seen?

    Use the "I can't live like this!" to motivate yourself. I know how exhausting pain is. I'm so sorry you're suffering like this without any answers. I like to believe there's ALWAYS something else to try. Please push for the care you need.
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • unrelenting painuunrelenting pain Posts: 20
    edited 04/17/2015 - 3:26 PM
    Hello everyone. I have been dealing with severe pain in lower thoracic for 16 months now. Today my spine doctor is recommending more facet block injections at t9-t11. My t10 is herniated with cord compression. I did these injections last year at this time and severe side effects. Pain doc sent me home with bp at 185/125. Stayed high for two weeks. Had fever, vomiting, blacking out, menstual irregularity, and missed several days of work. Cannot understand why doc would want me to try this procedure again. Injections gave me absolutely no relief. Any ideas anyone?
    Unrelenting pain
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  • Anuraag88AAnuraag88 Posts: 1
    edited 06/27/2015 - 1:47 PM
    been very active with sports. football and gym. i have all the exact same problems you have mentioned here. did everything. doc visits. massages. xrays. everything was normal. all my muscles were stiff. entire body. back pain on one side. got my blood test done for an enzyme cpk(creatinine phosphokinase). turns out i have muscle myopathy.

    welcome to spine-health
    please click on welcome and learn more about sh and how to navigate this site to best benefit you.
  • There are different injections ,in different areas that have different purposes. Some are done to confirm a suspected area is in fact the area causing pain, some are temporary nerve blocks done to see if it temporarily relieves pain, if so, then another procedure is performed that offers longer term pain relief, some injection types are done to try to relieve pain and inflammation in an area.
    Steroids used in some of the injections can cause temporary side effects such as you describe, and usually diaper after a few days. Discuss your concerns with your doctor regarding the steroids and he may opt not to use the steroids or change the type of injection or steroid used.


  • Devon1123DDevon1123 Posts: 1
    edited 07/19/2015 - 12:10 AM
    i have lived with this problem for 20 years now and when i saw your article, i just had to say something. i've been through it all. everything from pain management, muscle relaxers, deep tissue massages, acupuncture, chiropractors, physical therapy, ect. nothing has helped. sorry for the bad news. the last doctor i saw a few years ago, was very bright. he gave me a cortisone injection, which actually didn't help. but during the procedure to my thoracic area of t5, he went to give me the shot and i screamed in pain, because he obviously hit the area that was causing the spams. he told me he was convinced i had degenerative disc disease (which is more common than you might think). it's when the spacing between your discs begins to compress. it causes the lat muscles to spasm uncontrollably. very painful. he told me i would live with this the rest of my life. they also found a herniated disc at t-6, which wasn't helping the problem. surgery in this area of the spine is not an option. don't ever try it. i spoke to an amazing surgeon and he said even the worlds most amazing surgeons should never attempt to operate in the thoracic location. it could paralyze you. the advise i tend to get after 20 years more than anything, is to continue a healthy diet, moderate exercise, pain meds or muscle relaxers, and be sure to keep yourself hydrated with water. even cortisone shots once in a while can't hurt. one thing i have found that helps quite a bit, is ice packs or a bag of ice. place it on the area giving you the problem for 10-15 minutes on and off, to lower inflammation of the lat muscles, and ibuprofen daily. ibuprofen is a great anti inflammatory and it helps. if you've found anything else which works, i am all ears after 20 years of frustrating pain.

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  • I have chronic neck and mid back pain with pain in my lat and right arm. Herniated disc in the c5/6 but not doing surgery. Or, I should say, putting it off as long as possible. Nuero doc says it can wait too. My problems are muscular like yours with tightness and spasm. Nothing helped until I went to a a physical therapist that tried dry needling (acupuncture). Give that a try. You may be pleasantly surprised. I was amazed at the results. It took a few visits before I had complete relief and I still have flair ups and have to go back. I hope you'll try it.
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,385
    edited 11/23/2015 - 11:02 PM
    welcome to spine-health
    please click on link for helpful information!
    Sue
    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • avery1aavery1 new yorkPosts: 1


    Coming to Spine Health is a great place to find out a lot about your problems and to learn about the spine problems that can bother you. You have mentioned several symptoms that I can relate to in the thoracic area of the spine. I think you definately need to talk to your doctor about having a MRI for your thoracic part of your back, it sounds like you could have a herniated disc causing the problems. The thoracic area is the middle part of your spine, between your cervical (neck area), and the lumbar (lower area) of the spine. Doctors seem to have a harder time treating or diagnosing this area of the spine, because it is the least likely area to have problems, but it does happen. Check out this site thoroughly, because there is so much information to offer. The people on the forums are amazing, and they have so much personal experience that can help people like yourself. Ofcourse, this is just my opinion on your problems, the doctor is the only one that can diagnose anything. I hope this helps some, and I hoope you find answers and treatment so your pain will go away. If there is anything I can do just let me know.

    Keith

  • Hi Mala, 

    I am am so glad I found your post as I've had a verrry similar experience! My back spasms around my mid to upper back started 9 yrs ago when I was 29 yrs old. I was told by several doctors, including 2 top doctors at one of the country's best hospital that I had simply overworked my rhomboid muscles... Or something. I never received a diagnosis. 
    Well, I just got a diagnosis this week of 1) arthritis and bony Spurs (osteophytes) in my T5 and T6 joints and 2) a bulging disc. 

    I realize now that doctors have very little understanding of the thoracic (mid and upper) back. Very few ppl have pain here, so it's not well studied.

    Over the years, the damage to my thoracic joints caused my back muscles to tense up and protect it. I have a really high pain threshold so I ignored it for years. Unfotunately it's left me with chronic myofascial pain (you can google this) which is very manageable with daily stretching and walking. 

    I've learned tall people are particularly susceptible to problems in their thoracic area. I am also very tall and kyphosis/ dowagers hump runs in my family. 

    I'll  again gain with some bullet point on my symptoms and tricks on managing my issues. Maybe I can help someone else. :) 

    Mala, thank you again for starting this thread! 
  • Intense Upper Back Spasms 

    Further to my last post, here are some of the symptoms of my thoracic back pain and related spasms, and how I cope with it. 

    Causes
    1) overuse, ie. carrying heavy objects on a daily basis, or exercising my mid back/ thoracic area too much.
    2) Anything that uses a Rowing motion or a twisting motion is a definite trigger.
    3) Not exercising regularly. A daily 20 min walk keeps the spasms away. 

    Symptoms that occur during my muscle spasms:
    Incredibly intense muscle spasms that contract around my bra line and stomach. I'm only able to breathe in small, shallow breaths, and I feel nauseated. During the spasms, I reach a very intense pain level = sometimes I black out. The spasms leave me so exhausted that I fall asleep for an hour or two afterwards, even if it's in the middle of the day. 

    General ongoing symptoms:
    1) myofascial tightness and pain all over my body. Learning about how fascia works has helped tremendously.
    2) extreme tightness in my IT band (which runs down the outside of your thigh from hip to knee)
    2) slightly weak stomach muscles, despite ongoing exercise 

    Diagnosis: 
    An X-ray revealed Arthritis with osteophytes (bony spurs) in the T5 and T6 joints in my thoracic upper back. This can take a while to show up, and I've had these symptoms for 9 years without a diagnosis! 
    An MRI revealed a bulging disc in the same area. When it bulges, it most likely sends off the muscles into spasm.

    What I do when I have a back spasm:

    1) Lie still with my back on a firm floor (ideally with a carpet)  with knees up and feet on the floor for 15-45 minutes or until you feel better. Do not twist or move your upper back. You can gently rock your knees from side to side if that helps, keeping your upper back pinned to the floor. Lying still prevents the disc from slipping further.
    2) drink water asap! Use a straw if you're on the floor. This is extremely, extremely helpful and shouldn't be overlooked. 
    3) take 2-4 muscle relaxants asap. 
    4) as soon as you're able to stand up, go for a gentle walk for 15-20 minutes. It will feel terrible at first, and then your muscles will start to loosen and feel better. 


    How to heal 
    1) Find a specialist in Thoracic back pain. It's less understood than lumbar & cervical pain. 
    2) I have constant muscle tension to keep the slipped disc in place. This has likely caused myofascial tension around my back and throughout my body. A small amount of stretching every day with a foam roller & a tennis ball has changed my life and almost entirely stops the spasms. Yoga can be really, really helpful (but don't twist!).
    3) light exercise every day such as walking is also key. 
    4) Avoid any twisting motion. Do not play tennis, golf etc until you've discussed it with a doctor. 
    5) Avoid heavy lifting until your back is healed= a few weeks.
    6) Drink water and keep hydrated. Dehydration is a big contributor to my muscle spasms. 

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