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Old 01-25-2005, 01:23 PM   #1
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misery HB User
question mid to upper back sufferers

Hi,I'm new to this board I just found the spine board about 2 weeks ago and it's a god send so my story is there.I just found this board a few days ago,and I noticed that most of you suffer upper back problems.Mine is low L4/5and S1.But I have always had a problem with my mid back but I've never been able to get a doc to look atake or take my complaint's seriously.It's about a 3inch section that starts at bra strap level,(for lack of a better way to put it)anyway for the last 6 months or so It has worsened pain wise I get awful migraines and my pinky and ring finger left hand go numb quite a bit I also have very sharp pain in the soft spot between soulder blade and coller bone in the back not in the front worse on my left side but getting there in my right.It goes right up my neck causing the headaches.
Has anyone had these same symptoms? Does this have anything to do with the spine or is it something eles.I already take morpf. nerontin,and fexeril,and it doesn't touch the pain here just like in my low back.
I am also getting a lot of spasms here as in my low back.
If any one has idea's PLEASE let me know.
Is it time for me to put my foot down with my lousy Dr.?
Thanks all Misery

Last edited by misery; 01-25-2005 at 01:25 PM.

 
Old 01-25-2005, 02:15 PM   #2
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Re: question mid to upper back sufferers

actually, most of us suffer from lower back issues, upper back is more rare. There are only a few of us here with cervical issues and even a smaller number with BOTH cervical and lumbar. I also think there is like two with Thoracic issues. ANYWAY-the arm and hand issues could be from the cervical or thoracic levels. I have pain from my bra strap up to the base of my head. I have been diagnosed with a small bulging disc at C5-6, cervical spondylosis (arthritis), loss of normal lordosis (curve of the neck) and a pinched nerve that was causing my pain in my left arm. I had a transforaminal cervical epideral injection and after a month my left arm symptoms and pain went away. Unfort. it seems to be returning. I get pains near the first rib, at the shoulder joint then of course down the arm and on my shoulder blade and between the ribs. My muscles are in constant spasm. It is not fun and I was told by my dr that there is no guaranteed treatment for this condition since the disc isn't bad. I will treat this with medications, therapy, traction, etc..BUT, my lumbar spine comes first.
When all this happened (all of a sudden on July 15) my back pain started to return a month before. I had a surgery on it two years prior at L5-S1 and my L4-5 was Degenerating at the time too. So, we did an MRI of this as well and it showed a small bulge at L4-5, and L5-S1, each had DDD, I had a spur, a tear and spondy there as well. Oh-I had an EMG by the way to diagnose the pinched nerve at C5-6.
I had one epideral injection at the lumbar level and it did not help me at all. So, we then decided a discogram would be good to see if my pain was caused by the discs. It was. So, on Dec 15 I had a two level 360 (anterior/posterior) Lumar Interbody Fusion. I am doing well and the pain I had before surgery is gone. In fact, it occured to me this morning, that all the pain I would have when I wake up in the am at my lower back WAS GONE! I used to wake up whining and needing my low back rubbed before I could even get up, it was really bad if I slept for over eight hours. Well, today I slept for nearly eleven, and no pain!
I think I got off track. Anyway, find a dr who will listen to you. Ask about the MRI and go from there. We are all very happy to help others out. I of course, am not pushing the thought of surgery by any means, I just wanted to show you my story a little. I truly wish you the best with all of this and hope you can find a dr who will listen to YOU.

 
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Old 01-25-2005, 03:01 PM   #3
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Exclamation Re: question mid to upper back sufferers

Hi all! In short, yes a herniation in the thoracic spine could be causing the symptoms you are describing. But, a problem in the cervical could also cause similar symptoms. For me the diferance is the BURNING pain in the middle of the back between the shoulder blades. No pain medication seems to help with that area. I've had a fusion in cervical and in thoracic and am scheduled for a second cervical surgery in two weeks. The thoracic area is definately the toughest to treat and most surgeons won't go there. You need to find a surgeon who specialises in the thoracic area. Good luck, Monty.

 
Old 01-25-2005, 05:34 PM   #4
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Re: question mid to upper back sufferers

Hi, I had a L4-L5 fusion, but at the time my pain began (8 months or so ago) I complained of 2 painful places, 1 being lower back and the other about 2 inches below the bra strap area. My dr pretty much blammed everything on the lower back and has totally blown off the upper one (he said it was a muscle issue due to "carrying" the lower back). Maybe this is true, and the lower spine is the worst pain, but seeing people on here discuss the thorasic (is 2 inches below bra strap even thorasic??) makes me curious if there could be issues there too.

I wonder why that gets ignored. My lumbar has been x-rayed and mrid til it glows, but I don't think the thorasic has ever been looked at.

Just realized my reply offers no advice, but just a bit of "me-too".
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Old 01-25-2005, 10:15 PM   #5
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memawhurts HB User
Re: question mid to upper back sufferers

I also had a fusion about 17 weeks ago and from the very beginning have complained of the burning pain at my bra line and since then I have also had some numbess and pain in my left arm. This issue had not been addressed yet, because at the time I was having more pain in the lumbar area, so my neuro wants to wait until the lumbar is better, which I have not gotten relief from yet. Problem is the thoracic pain is getting worse by the day.

Sorry I don't have any solutions, just a similar problem.
Best of luck,
Memaw

 
Old 01-25-2005, 10:37 PM   #6
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mel1977 HB User
Re: question mid to upper back sufferers

Misery, do you think it is thorasic or cervical? Any neck stiffness????

 
Old 01-26-2005, 04:21 AM   #7
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Monty44 HB User
Exclamation Re: question mid to upper back sufferers

The surgery for the thoracic area is almost the same as open heart surgery. The surgeon makes an incision along your ribcage, he spreads apart the ribs and removes one. They put it back before they close up. Once they have you opened up, they can push your lung out of the way and get to the spine. As it sounds, it is a very dangereous surgery, and they will only do it only as a last resort. Also the time in the hospital and the recovery time are much longer than the other areas of the back. It seems that most doctors steer clear of the thoracic area no matter what. It's best to find a surgeon who specialises in the thoracic surgery. I hope this helps, Monty

 
Old 01-26-2005, 07:48 AM   #8
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misery HB User
Re: question mid to upper back sufferers

Thanks all for the info. It sounds like a place that nobody wants to mess with.I also get that burning pain in that area.I have told my docs. everytime I go in for my low back I even told them when I had my last diskogram that as long as they were making me miserable that they should check it too.But they never have.I'm looking at a new ns. for a second op.and the nurse called yesterday and when I told her she said they can only look at one part at a time. Everything is conected so that makes no sense to me.I'm 15 months post-op from my fusion for l4/5 s1 and it's not working the pain is horriable,I can't work or take care of my family and now my upper back is killing me as well.does anyone think that since the lower wont get better that the upper has had so much strain that it is just falling apart too?
history.degenerative disk disease, I-det surgery,fuson l4/5 w/cage tried cortisone,prolotherapy,lidocaine shots, accupuncture, pt 5x, last pt. was for 7 months strait.I've had these problems for 20 yrs. Very horriable for the last 3 1/2.
Thanks all comments welcome.Heather

 
Old 01-26-2005, 07:00 PM   #9
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Lightbulb Re: question mid to upper back sufferers

Same problem here, just different ways to cope since doctor just thinks I want pain meds. I put a big rolled up towel under my back and lay down on it real quick on the floor to crack it. Then I lay backwards over my overstuffed chair arm rest. I go back and forth between tylenol and Ibuprofen and pain pills when I have them. I have an HMO and they won't even take x-rays. Everything is blamed because of my weight. I am 100 pounds overweight and they don't take most of my problems seriously. They just tell me to lose weight and do back exercises. (I exercised but can't lose the weight) I get help from Chiropractors but at $35.00 a visit I can only afford one of those about once every 2 months. If you can afford it get referred to a "back" orthopedist, they require referrals from your family doctor usually.

 
Old 01-26-2005, 09:17 PM   #10
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mel1977 HB User
Re: question mid to upper back sufferers

Heather, have you had any MRIs of your thorasic and cervical spine? Does no good to speculate on which area is actually causing the problem unless you can diagnose it. Makes hard to treat too.

 
Old 01-26-2005, 09:53 PM   #11
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Wink Re: question mid to upper back sufferers

hi,
I have had the same problems as you.shoulder pain and numbness in the two same fingers same side as you.with headacks and all i also have a problem with thorisic spine area that sends pain in to my rib cage area,and lower back L4_S1 which i'm have a proceduer done on this week.I had cervial surgery done now have two disks replaced and taliam bar and six screws in my neck.I still have some numbness in the hand and arm but just stiffness in the shoulder area no more headaches tho.The thorisic spine they won't touch tho.they say they can do nerve blocks but that is it in that area i had so much pain coming from that area that it hospialized me for four days.and still had the same pain for another two weeks after that.they are going to do a procedure on my back called a IDET they said that is all they can do cause i have a leaking disk there that is agervating the nerve endiings.the arm and numbness came from the herniated disk i had in my neck tho.If there is anything else you want to know feel free to email me and i will try to answer your questions. [ [b] please carefully review the posting rules - no emails [/b] ]

Last edited by moderator2; 01-27-2005 at 06:16 AM. Reason: please carefully review the posting rules - no emails

 
Old 01-27-2005, 01:33 AM   #12
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humptydumpty HB User
Re: question mid to upper back sufferers

Hi Heather,
I have a burning pain in the middle of my back between the shoulder blades. I had an MRI done and found I have a herniated T8-9 and a large bone spur on T9-10.I have several buldging discs in the cervical area and had fusion surgery on C6-7. I also have DDD and spondylosis in the cervical and thoracic regions. I see a pain management doctor and I am taking methadone for the pain, neurotin for the burning pain, and zanaflex for muscle spasms. The neurotin really helps, I'm up to 1200 mgs a day.
I hope this helps and may you have a better day

 
Old 01-27-2005, 06:46 AM   #13
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misery HB User
Re: question mid to upper back sufferers

Goodmorning all,Last night was the 1st. time I've slept all night I still feel awful pain wise,but I feel pretty good mentally,sleep is a wonderful thing.My pm.doc added fexeril to my pharmacy of meds.for all the muscle spasms in my back boy did it knock me out!
To answer your questions no I've never had mri, or x-rays on my upper back,everything is has been done on my lower.Docs just ignore it,I just wonder if the 2 are connected since my lower back is so scerwed up?
Barbra-goodluck with your I-det I had one 2 yrs.ago so you have my prayers for success!
As far as using a towel and going backwards I cannot do that at all, when I move backwards the pain is so horriable that I just about scream and that is right where my fusion is!!!!Which travels to my groin,hips,and down my legs,I haven't walked without limping since this last fusion of course my ns says all x-rays,and ct,look normal and there is nothing eles that he can do!Even my pm doc thinks something isn't right although he quite careful about how he phrases things wich is part of the reason I think something is wrong.Now as far as bending forward I ca do this but it's very painful and then whenI try to get back up it takes a min.or so to get there because of the amount of pain.Anyone have same kind of problem?Let me know!
Heather

 
Old 01-27-2005, 07:29 AM   #14
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Re: question mid to upper back sufferers

I have had a laminectomy at l2-l3 and now I have been fighting mid back pain for 2 years. I have been seeing a pm doc for 2 years and she has tried many different pain meds and anti-inflamatory meds and muscle relaxers. Nothings seems to help. She has me on a duragesic patch 25mg, but it burns my sin and I don't feel like I am getting any relief. I had another MRI on 1-26-05 of my t-spine because 2 years ago, I was diagnosed with a bulging disc at t7-t8. I am awaiting the results because I go to see my spine surgeon on 1-28-05. I feel for you because I have been down the smae rocky road as so many others have. I am at my witts end. I am fixing to lose a job that I dearly love, but I just can't get to work sometimes and now I hurt so bad, that my blood pressure is becoming an issue. Any help or suggestions would be great. I don't know how to post a new thread. I would appreciate help to show me how.

Thanks

 
Old 01-27-2005, 07:01 PM   #15
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FriarJen83 HB User
Re: question mid to upper back sufferers

Hey,
I saw your post, and I have a lot of the same symptoms you do. I have had severe thoracic pain for 2 1/2 years now that just came on out of nowhere. I'm 21 now and since that time I've been diagnosed with compression fractures in T6-T8, arthritis, DDD, Scheurmann's disease all in thoracic area. My pain is exactly like yours in the bra strap area and it's like a band of pain all across in that area. Also I have the same numbness in my pinky and that part of the left hand. So, it could definitely be thoracic! I would really get it checked out. God bless! ~Jen

 
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