I've been having back spasms below my right shoulder blade since college (42 now) and it's gotten worse since having two babies in a row over the last 2 yrs. The pain has moved to my left side at times, down lower, etc. I now almost always have a tingling in that right shoulder blade area though. I also have two numb patches - one on the underside of my left pinkie toe and the other is a small area on the bottom of my right heel. I went to a neurologist months ago who wanted to rule out M/S but really didn't think that was the problem. I also just saw an orthopedic surgeon who ordered an MRI of the thoracic region but I wasn't very impressed with him so I may try someone else. He did say that he didn't think the numb areas on my feet had anything to do with my back. I know the lower back can give problems in the foot but I've had issues there too, just nothing like my middle back. He said he'd "defer" to the neurologist for that - i.e. he doesn't know.
I read someone's post on this board once that said they also had thoracic pain and their Dr. told them that symptoms can show up anywhere from the injury on down. Is that true? Should I insist I get an MRI of my lower spine too if that's not true or do I need to worry about MS? I really don't have any other symptoms of it. Seems more back related. My pain gets much worse now that I'm carrying around a 1 yr old and a 27 mo old toddler and all their paraphenalia! Also, I feel tightness in my muscles when I'm stressed which might make things worse. I know something is up with the discs. I just have a feeling. I have too much pain at times to have it all be nothing. I don't know how long the numb areas have been here but I don't remember a lot of this before kids - just that one area by my shoulder blades.
Any guidance? Also, how important is it that I see a spine specialist rather than a regular orthopedic surgeon? TIA!
I have right foot tingling and then started having the tingling in the hands. Turns out that I have a ulging disc in the lower back (lumbar) pressing on the S1 nerve and a bulging disc in the cervical (neck) region, causing a severe narrowing of the neural foramen. The hands may be due to the cervical disc bulge and the foot is due to the lumbar disc bulge.
I have tingling in my upper back and intermittent pins & needles/numbness in some of my toes. I've seen two neurosurgeons who say it's all related to my (rare) herniated thoracic disc. I personally think I might have a lumbar problem as well, which I plan to ask my idiot PM about next week. The tingling is mostly on the right side (sometimes both sides), by the bra line and shoulder blade. I just had a facet joint injection, which didn't help, but did "light up" the entire area of my back when the nerve was touched, so there is a problem there.
When you see your doctor/neurosurgeon, ask lots of specific questions about your symptoms. It's been my experience that they can be quick to attribute any and all symptoms to thoracic problems, partially since they don't see these disc problems very often. I can basically have elective thoracic surgery whenever I want/need it (have done PT, wore a brace, did injections) but my paint isn't severe enough to warrant the pain from a thorocotomy.
It's probably wishful thinking for me to hope that there is a lumbar problem that can be fixed in a less invasive manner, though I do have sensory deficits.
I have pain in low back, legs, numbness, tingling and so on. You may be herniated, but it is strange that you would have pain in your upper back due to a lower herniation. Again, contact a neuroseurgeon, you will probably have to undergo physical therpy. Good Luck!!
I had surgery, a hemilaminectomy for microdisectomy @ levels L4-5, L5-S1, unfortunately it did not take away my symptoms. I have just learned that I have re-herniated and am now most likely going in for a fusion.
Valerie - I think I read some of your posts before. How did you herniate your disc? Since it's so rare, I'm just wondering. I always fall into the <5% of medical odds it seems anyway so it wouldn't surprise me if the same was the case with me. You mentioned you saw a neurosurgeon. I saw a neurologist as well as an orthopedist. Should I seek out a neurosurgeon or just get the MRI done on the thoracic region and see what's up? Also, you said your numbness was intermittent. My tingling is especially by my bra line but the numbness in my feet is constant. TIA!
Definitely seek out a consult with a NeuroSURGEON. I've had 2 herniated lumbar discs and both of them would cause some numbness in the foot and then problems walking great distances and sometimes sciatic-type pain.
PS. Did I mention that you should take your Lumbar MRI films and go to a NEUROSURGEON?
Last edited by whackedback; 04-27-2005 at 05:45 AM.
Whackedback - I never had a lumbar MRI. It was never ordered. Just a thoracic one since that's where my PAIN is. My neurologist ordered a thoracic MRI as well as a brain MRI to rule out demyelination (MS) for the numb spots on my feet. I haven't gotten anything yet because I just want to go for MRI's once and be done with it. I wonder though, since my back seems so screwed up, if I have a hernation of the lumbar region too which is causing the foot symptoms. I don't even know if I have a thoracic herniation causing the spasms up higher but it must be.
If you have pain above your lumbar region it is unrelated to the numbness in your feet. I have a disc protrusion in my lumbar region and I was told that it can cause pain from the disc damage down not up. I have mostly had pain in my tailbone region from this. It started 3 months ago when I injured myself. It is now down the back of my leg, in my calf and the entire left side of my left foot including my pinky toe are numb and tingly. If you research the different levels of the lumbar spine you will see certain ones the point directly to the pinky toe and the left side of the foot. As for your other foot I do not know I really have only done research about my injury location.
I have numb feet due to lumbar L3/L4, L4/L5, L5/ S1 DDD, arthritis, stenosis, etc. as well. My numbness is mostly my 2nd and 3rd toes on both feet and then underneath the toes, onto my foot. Wierd though, it's most annoying when I get up in the morning... totally tingly and numb. Subsides in about 10 mins after I get up but is still there, just less harsh during the day.
I would go for a Lumbar MRI just to be safe. Good luck.