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Thoracic back -- At its worst at night trying to sleep!

Hello.

First time forum user.

I am suffering from some severe, almost chronic, mid back pain. It lies dormant for most of the day although I can still feel it ready to rear its ugly head at any given time. But, at night.... I find myself trying to stay awake for as long as I can each night dreading going to bed because it hurts so bad. I do my best to find a comfortable position and just prey that I don't have to move for anything, my poor wife...

I guess let me go back a touch.... I had ruptured a disc at the L5/S1 on 12-13-12, ended up having a discectomy on 2-6-13. for the most part this area feels much better although I do still have plenty of stiffness and some lingering leg pain. I have noticed the rupture area is starting to feel a little more tender tho since my mid back problems have emerged.

I went to my last DR. (surgeon) visit about 30 days ago and I mentioned that I was feeling a little stiff in the mid back region and he said maybe to go to a Chiropractor and get cracked, well I never made it that far. About a couple of days later I woke up
at 3AM for the first time with the most horrific pain in my mid back. I was all bowed up! I couldn't breath, could barely move. This severity lasted for about 4 days. I was still going my physical therapist and he thought maybe I had a rib out of place but I only got 2 visits in since I was finishing up my Lumbar therapy. Now the pain has "leveled" out now, or I am just getting used to it.

So, for the past 4 weeks I have been fighting this horrific nighttime pain. I get up 3 or 4 times now a night. (I thought I was done with all this shizzzzz after my surgery!!!) I am frequently urinating again like I did with my rupture. My back seems to pop at whim. I will feel this tightness come upon me and then I just make my back rigid for a sec and "pop". This happens all the time now. I am heading back to my orthopedic surgeon on Wend but I had been doing everything I can to find the cause of this problem. I think the most problem lies between the T5 thru T9?? with some pain spots on both sides of the spinal cord.

My wife was running her fingers up and down my spine doing a little soft pushing so I could try to identify the pain spots and she thought she felt a couple of bumps or knots. So, I guess Im wondering if this is just muscle issues or perhaps I may have something a little more severe going on.

Any help would be appreciated.

Hova
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Comments

  • LizLiz Posts: 9,654
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  • Kris-NYKKris-NY Posts: 2,207
    edited 06/10/2013 - 10:16 AM
    Hova I had spine surgery on the other end of the spine T1/T2. After the surgery site had healed I developed pockets of fluid in my mid back along with muscles that were in spasm. The only thing that helped was the PT doing massage to push the fluid around and try to work out the muscle knots.

    Something you might try to help pinpoint the pain is have you wife gently press on the spots. Accupressure is basically what my PT was doing and the relief was instant.

    It's highly unlikely that you damaged the thoracic area without being in a severe accident so my guess is that this is muscular like mine was. Good luck on Wednesday.
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  • thoracic spine painthoracic spine pain Posts: 566
    edited 06/11/2013 - 4:40 AM
    Background

    My spine, it may be no relation to yours.

    I have a T5 80% wedge fracture caused by trauma. I found out the vertabrae above were taking all the pressure from the vertabrae that was crushed, so it's not such a leap of imagination that the same thing may be happening with you.

    The good news

    The good news for you as the previous poster said, that thoracic vertabrae are really hard to damage, usually a trauma accident like crashing a motorbike or falling from height. Therefore you probably have not crushed your thoracic spine and it is most likely muscular.

    Some suggestions

    Use a oesteopath or physio as I think a chiro will be too tough on you at the moment. Tens machine didn't work for me but some people swear by them.

    Try to find someone to gently pop your thoracic spine back in NOW. You may end up in chronic pain if you leave it.

    Sleep with a pillow between your legs at night and only use one or no pillow for your head,.

    Don't twist - don't rake - don't do any lifting or housework. Get advice about a soft brace - I don't know how it effects your surgery.

    Keep a pain diary every half an hour for a week.


    You need to do some research on the thoracic spine, it is less commonly damaged. Keep asking questions. Knowledge helped me manage.

    Hot packs work for me. If you get to the stage of painkillers make sure you combine a muscle relaxant - or just get some before you go to an oesteopath (they specialise in muscles).

    I believe my muscles tighten up to accomodate my spine, your thoracic spine is joined to your ribs, so make sure they take into account your ribs when they examine your thoracic spine. They go together.

    Hope this isn't too much info at once. You probably know some of it already so hope I'm not teaching you to suck eggs.

    Pm me if you have any questions.

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 13,288
    can be very difficult to deal with. As mentioned above, there are the 'strongest' of our discs and are not suppose to herniate. Well, we have more than enough people on this site that can say differently.

    I have 4 herniated thoracic discs, but surgery for that is not in my future. My spine is a bit weakened by numerous lumbar and cervical surgeries, plus through in complete shoulder replacement and hip replacement.

    So, I needed to find other ways to manage this. Besides medications, the normal physical and aqua therapy did not give me much relief. Nor did ESIs, Traction and acupuncture. When under stress or in a flareup, my #1 rib will pop out. My therapist has put that back in place so many times, I can just about do it myself now.

    Finally, I was sent to a Deep/Soft Tissue expert from Thailand. He work on my back 1x a week for about 4 months. They were some of the most painful sessions I have ever had. Finally, I was getting relief. He was able to get my deep major rhomboid muscle to become pliable. Years of abuse had left it hard as a board, thus not allowing muscles and tendons to move properly and putting additional strain on my thoracic area. Once that muscle started to work properly, my thoracic disc problem started to become controllable. That was almost 6 years ago. I still have thoracic problems, still on medications, and I still go for this Deep Tissue therapy at least twice a month.

    This worked for me, but every case is unique. You should continue to work with your doctor(s) to explore other conservative treatment. There are so many to try.

    But first, I would work with your doctor. If you doctor can determine from clinical and neurological examinations that a MRI could be justified, that might be your first step. You do want to have whatever problem you are having right identified, so that some action plans could be put into place.
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
  • Thank you so very much for taking the time out to reply to my scenario.

    So, went to the doc today and he is ordering another MRI to rule out anything surgical. Since I had the lumbar surgery he is ordering another Lumbar MRI and not a thoracic. He did say that the MRI will show the bottom half of the T's as well. I think he was concerned with my lingering and increasing leg pain. If the MRI is clear they will send me to pain management. He is so tight assed about giving any prescriptions, so I didn't get any muscle relaxers although he mentioned how hard and tight the lower-mid back is.

    So I get: MRI SPINE CANAL & CONTENTS WITH AND WITHOUT CONTRAST.


    Hova

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  • something to consider. I had lumbar fusion surgery, and being diabetic, it took a year before my surgery site stopped hurting so bad. But by that time my mid back started hurting. Tried chiropractic and am now having pt done on my back. y doc had me get x-rays recently. He discovered I have (osteo)arthritis on my spine. It is extrememly uncomfortble. The pt helps loosen up the muscles, but the arthritis is still there. My advice is to get an x-ray, but I believe it would show up on an MRI also.
  • LTee43LTee43 Posts: 431
    edited 07/08/2013 - 6:57 PM
    I have bad thoracic pain too, from a car accident in late 2011. I've had numerous injections between C7 and T11 and the best worked for maybe 5 days. My pain ranges from 5-6 later in the day and can be as bad as 7-8 as it was this afternoon. I'm told that a thoracic spine injury is among the worst and I believe it.

    I was walking around with a few vertebrae out of place so long that I may have scarring in my discs. Chiropractic care is a big help and so is pain management. My primary care doctor won't write an Rx for any narcotic.. and if he did it would probably be a 1-time thing for 20 weak ones.

    I've had my quota of injections for a while and the next one is a C5-C7 facet block. I use an ice pack to get to sleep most nights. I just started on Zipsor last week, I can get by with less narcotics but without insurance, they are $636 for 120 gel caps.

    I'll see what pain management has for me next month, got my Percocet refill so I'm good for a while. I'll have to check into deep tissue massage and or acupressure as well.

    LT
    Diagnosis: Thoracic facet syndrome & cervical and thoracic radiculopathy from car accident trauma.
  • Hova said:
    Hello.

    First time forum user.

    I am suffering from some severe, almost chronic, mid back pain. It lies dormant for most of the day although I can still feel it ready to rear its ugly head at any given time. But, at night.... I find myself trying to stay awake for as long as I can each night dreading going to bed because it hurts so bad. I do my best to find a comfortable position and just prey that I don't have to move for anything, my poor wife...

    I guess let me go back a touch.... I had ruptured a disc at the L5/S1 on 12-13-12, ended up having a discectomy on 2-6-13. for the most part this area feels much better although I do still have plenty of stiffness and some lingering leg pain. I have noticed the rupture area is starting to feel a little more tender tho since my mid back problems have emerged.

    I went to my last DR. (surgeon) visit about 30 days ago and I mentioned that I was feeling a little stiff in the mid back region and he said maybe to go to a Chiropractor and get cracked, well I never made it that far. About a couple of days later I woke up
    at 3AM for the first time with the most horrific pain in my mid back. I was all bowed up! I couldn't breath, could barely move. This severity lasted for about 4 days. I was still going my physical therapist and he thought maybe I had a rib out of place but I only got 2 visits in since I was finishing up my Lumbar therapy. Now the pain has "leveled" out now, or I am just getting used to it.

    So, for the past 4 weeks I have been fighting this horrific nighttime pain. I get up 3 or 4 times now a night. (I thought I was done with all this shizzzzz after my surgery!!!) I am frequently urinating again like I did with my rupture. My back seems to pop at whim. I will feel this tightness come upon me and then I just make my back rigid for a sec and "pop". This happens all the time now. I am heading back to my orthopedic surgeon on Wend but I had been doing everything I can to find the cause of this problem. I think the most problem lies between the T5 thru T9?? with some pain spots on both sides of the spinal cord.

    My wife was running her fingers up and down my spine doing a little soft pushing so I could try to identify the pain spots and she thought she felt a couple of bumps or knots. So, I guess Im wondering if this is just muscle issues or perhaps I may have something a little more severe going on.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Hova

    Hi,

    i have same problem as you facing pleaseeeeeee help me if you got any solution. from last 3 months i have not sleep without waking up in night.

    Please advice,
    Thanks
  • LTee43LTee43 Posts: 431
    edited 02/26/2014 - 6:44 AM
    I sleep well on my back leaning up against my wife, but she doesn't buy into it. I use a couch pillow to lean on. I place it under my right mid to upper back and it really helps, so has a pillow under my knees at times. I'll also go to sleep on an ice pack when the pain is really bad.

    LT
    Diagnosis: Thoracic facet syndrome & cervical and thoracic radiculopathy from car accident trauma.
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