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Old 01-08-2008, 10:14 AM   #1
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Unhappy Spinal Tumor?

(History: I had spine surgery about 12 years ago.)

I have had severe thoracic back pain for about 7 mos now. I have had two MRIs of the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar regions. While the MRIs did reveal a herniated disc in the neck and a bulging disc in the lumbar area, there was nothing which revealed any cause for the thoracic pain. I have seen two highly recommended orthopedic surgeons in the Chicago area. Both have stated that the thoracic pain I am feeling is NOT caused by any of these disc issues. I have been put through 12 weeks of PT and 8 weeks of chiropractor services, with no relief. The pain is worse in the morning than the day time. The pain is severe when there is direct manipulation or compression of the affected area. The pain does not diminish with rest and is probably at its absolute worst at night, just before bed. Vicodin and similar pain medications offer no relief, nor do muscle relaxers. Frankly, I have found nothing that will alleviate this pain. Has anyone experienced anything similar? Has anyone been diagnosed with a spinal tumor? I am seeing my internist this Friday to possibly investigate the chance of a tumor because nothing on the actual "back healing" shelf has helped to day. Any feedback would be terrific and very much appreciated.

 
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Old 01-08-2008, 06:13 PM   #2
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Re: Spinal Tumor?

Oooo... Well, it sounds like you're following a very reasonable course. I'm probably going to ask the annoying questions everyone asks, but here goes:
1. ice - good or bad?
2. Heat?
3. Stretching - better or worse?
4. Positioning - is there a better or worse one? If so, this would likely be useful to your doctors.
5. Have you tried acupuncture? Amazingly, it can help people. Can be worth a shot.
6. Anti-inflammatories - do they help?

If you can organize the information you have and anything relevant from above to new doctors, it does help thing progress.

OK, with what you've listed and this, I don't have any more ideas off the top of my head. I'm a T6-7 person, so I can relate to the loneliness of thoracic back problems. I'm having surgery later this week, so if I don't post much, that's why. Do continue your pursuit to solve your problem. I hope there is an answer out there.

Best,
Margaret

 
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Old 01-09-2008, 07:10 AM   #3
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Re: Spinal Tumor?

Thanks for responding!!! To answer some of the questions, I'll say this. The pain is really not provoked by anything -- it's just there -- constantly. Nothing really alleviates it -- heat, ice, phyisical therapy, chiropractor care, a TENS machine, manipulation, deep tissue therapy, and an anesthetic injection. I've had vicodine prescribed, as well as muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatories, the whole gammet. I have an appointment with my internist on Friday, and will have a CT scan of my chest just to check to make sure everything is okay there.

Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers and for your responses. It's very nice to know there's a forum for sharing these types of things.

My best,
Tracy (Magchap)

 
Old 01-09-2008, 09:45 AM   #4
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Re: Spinal Tumor?

i am just kind of wondering why you think you have an actual spinal cord tumor?i just didn;t really 'see' anything written here about it?how long ago were those MRIs actually done on you,and what did they show,anything even remotely like a tumor present or an area of high focus intensity that was found then?if you have had MRI done and nothing showed that indicated a tumor,there most likely isn't one.unless you have not been scanned in a while?

can you explain exactly and completely just what your pain actually feels like to you?you said its worse in the mornings but always a constant?does it ever relent for you or just always always there?the better and more descriptive you can be with explaining how your pain is and feels the better.does it just stay in one place all the time or does it radiate?all of this really does matter.

exactly what were the most pertinent findings that came up in your MRI?and again,how long ago was the last one?the more info you can provide for me/us the better advice we can give you here,thats all.marcia
__________________
3-22-01,herniated C-6-7
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

 
Old 01-09-2008, 01:26 PM   #5
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Re: Spinal Tumor?

Marcia - Thanks for asking - here are the general answers for you -- I will provide more specifics about the current pain symptoms at the end.

Notwithstanding the ongoing disc issues I have had for several years now, two years ago, the National Jewish Foundation for Pulmonary Disease in Colorado found a small nodule in the left lobe of my lung during the ordinary course of business with respect to onset-Adult Asthma. While they believed it to be merely a granuloma, I was encouraged to have my pulmonologist observe the nodule from time to time to ensure there has been no change in size, shape. My last lung scan was in December 2006 (just slightly over a year ago).

The back pain began in July 2007. My MRIs of the cervical, thorasic and lumbar regions were done at that time. I have been treated (WITHOUT response for nearly 6 months.)

I never said I believe I have an actual spinal tumor. I was merely trying to ascertain some information from those who might have that to compare the symptoms, etc.

I am having a CT scan on Friday of the lungs, and seeing my internist about the spine situation on Friday. I was simply looking to talk with someone in the meantime to assist in passing the time.

Oh, and finally? My mother died of NSCLC IV as did my grandfather. In light of that history, it is only natural for the mind to mind to wander in that direction under these circumstances.

Okay - so here is further information for you.

can you explain exactly and completely just what your pain actually feels like to you?

[B]For the most part? I feel as if I am being stabbed in the back with an ice-pick -- fairly deep -- at all times.[/B]

you said its worse in the mornings but always a constant?does it ever relent for you or just always always there?

[B]I apologize for the ambiguity. Rating the pain in terms of Morning, Afternoon and Night, I would say: 2 - 1 - 3 (3 being the worst). Accordingly, the night time is worst.[/B]

does it just stay in one place all the time or does it radiate?all of this really does matter.

[B]Yes -- it is one place -- it is also actually sensitive to the touch, meaning, I can actually provoke additional pain by applying slight pressure to the area.[/B]

exactly what were the most pertinent findings that came up in your MRI?

[B]Very large herniation in the neck (C5 and C6) and recurring bulging disc in the lumbar area (L5-S1) One ortho. surgeon and one neurosurgeon have agreed that the pain in the thorasic area cannot be associated with either of these disc issues (presumably because of how the nerves travel) Having spent nearly 6 mos with all sorts of other convervative measures in hopes that this is simply a muscular problem, joint inflammation, etc., I thought it was time to look for another reason for this pain. I have not favorably responded to ANY form of treatment, including pain medication, muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatories, phyiscal therapy, physio therapy, deep tissues therapy, traction, ICE, heat, -- gosh, I think that's about it. Because I have NOT responded to anything thus far, isn't it reasonable to wonder if someone isn't missing something? My general practitioner and internist seem to agree, so we are going to look a little further.[/B]

and again,how long ago was the last one? [B]Again - July-August, or there abouts[/B]

the more info you can provide for me/us the better advice we can give you here,thats all.marcia[/QUOTE]

[B]I appreciate it, Marcia. Sorry I wasn't more detailed at the onset. I didn't want to take up a great deal of time with all the details at the onset -- thought it best to narrow in on others similarly situated. Thanks again - appreciate your feedback

Blessings,
[/B]

 
Old 01-10-2008, 09:29 AM   #6
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Re: Spinal Tumor?

thanks for the details mag.when it comes to pain and trying to actually Dx its place of origin or just what the heck it is,every but of info really helps since the way your pain actually presents can narrow down or rule in or out a few things.didn't mean to come across as asking too much or being invasive.sorry if it sounded that way.

just what is the condition that you have running in your family?i have just never heard of it before?genetics,believe me can play a huge role in some peoples conditions.my little family has been hit with alot of things that were congenital or geneticly predisposed,so yep,your mind will wander to the types of things your family has experienced.i am guessing here that you are thinking that the problem within your lung may possibly either be encroaching upon your cord or spine in some way?i only asked about the tumor thing since i didn;t see anything else about it written except in the thread label,thats all.since the location of the lungs to the spine area where you are having problems is pretty close,there could conceivably be some level of connection there.what have your docs said about it or the possibility of that being the problem?have they ever done a myelogram on any disc in that area where you said it is painful to the touch?if you are having pain upon pressure that is actually on the outside not inside there could be a real issue going on with a disc in that area that just does not actually show up on any type of MRI.beleive me,alot of things will not actually show up even on an MRI.it is only a 'scan' of an area and not an actual real life picture,you know what i mean?what i can remember about myelograms is that it shoots die directly into the suspected disc and is a much more definitive way of seeing something that could be a real problem but it just doesn't show up upon MRI.

how severe is the bulging you have in the upper c spine area?any actual cord contact or just bulged.your docs are right about there really not being any connection for the reasons you already stated.but cord contact would be a whole different story.but i personally really think your problem is very isolated and not being radiated from somewhere,you know what i mean?it just sounds from what you have stated that it is very localized into one particular area.this would just indicate that whatever is actually causeing your pain would tend to have to be very close in proximity to the problem and not stemming from a nerve that is further away and radiating to it.you mentioned that you did have that follow up MRI on your lung,just what did that actually show and just where is that spot with the problem located in your lung with regards to your pain area?is it close to it?just wondering.

sorry i couldn't be more of a real help to you.but you are doing the right thing here by pressing on with this.something has to be casuing it.sometimes trying to find that part can really be difficult.but you know what you are feeling isn't right and isn't supposed to be there.i personally think it will just take more in depth definitive types of testing to really finally hit on the trigger.there are more in depth types of MRI you could possibly benefit from.when my brain aneurysm wasn't showing really well (the angle on an MRA and MRI)i was sent for a whole different type of MRI scan called a 3 T scan(3 tesla?).this is a regular MRI,done the very same way as the usual one but it actually uses 3 times the actual magnetism of a conventional MRI.it gets in a bit deeper than the standard one.this could possibly help in your situation too.and of course that myelogram.just some suggestions.hopefully they will be able to eventually track the source down for your pain.i really do feel for you.i have been in the same situation before having pain with no Dx.it finally got there but i had to keep pushing things on my end to get there.you just have to be persistant.

just a suggestion for you that could possibly help with the pain,at least more of the outter type?lidocaine patches.i use these for alot of different pain syndromes and processes that have been torturing me for the past four years.placing one over that painful area 'could' possibly help,at least to take the edge off.the lido is one of those things that works for some but not others type things,but when it works,it usually gives good relief to some degree.i cannot live without them now.just a thought.i wish you luck with this.you really do need more in depth testing of that area.something isn't right there ya know?that type of pain just isn't the standard,'nerve' type of presentation.please keep me posted on how things are going,K?marcia
__________________
3-22-01,herniated C-6-7
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

 
Old 01-10-2008, 05:20 PM   #7
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Re: Spinal Tumor?

Hey Marcia - Not to worry honey, no offense taken and I appreciate the questions and information!! My mother had non-small cell lung cancer (stage IV) that resulted in tumors to the brain. My grandfather had the same thing that resulted in tumors to the spine. I had back surgery about 12 years ago or so and for the most part have been without pain (with the occasional twinge here and there when I have physically over-exerted myself). In July 2007 I began to experience some horrible thoracic pain that has only gotten worse over the last several months. Doctor after doctor, treatment after treatment, I am still in the very same position as when I started. I started doing some independent research on the internet (okay, I know this is scary because I have easily diagnosed myself with 3 billion diseases - some of which only possible if I lived in Africa -- ha ha) and I came across the symptons of a spine tumor that were very much in line with what I am experiencing. That information triggered some recall about a small mass that was found on my lung about 2 years ago. They referred to it as a granuloma and basically told me that they saw no evidence of anything serious at that time, but to have a lung scan once a year to ensure that the size and shape and other characteristics were stable. I am due for the annual scan now. Naturally, my mind is wandering as the information I have discovered about spine tumors hold that they are rarely diagnosed as the primary source of tumor and in nearly all cases, they are tumors that originated elsewhere (most likely source being the lungs). So, that is why I thought that I would start asking people if they have ever been diagnosed with a spinal tumor and to determine how they were discovered. It may very well be my over-active imagination, but I think it's best for me to exhaust all possibilties and rule out as much as possible since the doctors cannot seem to pinpoint the source of this awful pain. Anyway, I'll know more tomorrow (hopefully) and I'm happy to keep you informed. I really do appreciate your words. I'm glad I found this site.

Tracy

 
Old 01-11-2008, 07:12 AM   #8
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Re: Spinal Tumor?

now it all makes sense,lol.the thing about any level of tumor that could be either within or outside of the spine is that most would probably show upon MRI,so if nothing is actually there with an MRI,using contrast is a good idea here too,then you probaly wouldn't have one,you know what i mean?"something' would show that was not within normal limits.high focus intensity is usually an indicator of something being there that shouldn't be?or would need further deeper testing to figure out just what is causing that higher intensity.not always a tumor since there are a host of different possible issues that could form within a spinal cord or surrounding area.

the one big thing i found out when all i had was just my herniated disc as my main issue with the standard radulopathy types of symptoms as oppsed to my cavernous henagioma that was actually insode of my spinal cord,was the huge difference in the actual symptomolgy of what i was feeling.anytime the spinal cord itself is involved a bit stranger,more "perceptionary" type of pain and sensations seem to occur.these are just very insane 'feelings' of like something being done to your body or constritcion/banding type feelings or in my case with my cav,i had this constant non stop feeling of huge pressure under my right shoulder blade that also falet exactly like someone was trying to pry off my shoulderblade with a freaking pry bar.just that torqueing sensation of being pulled up?very very freaky stuff.with something actually within your cord(or affectation of it to some degree),things just 'feel' so much more insane and unexplainable than with just like a herniated disc without actual cord affectation of any kind,you know what i mean?i can always tell now when its my SCI acting up or my c spine mess thats still there just based upon the 'painsation'(my new word for the freaky cord crap).

like i mentioned before,just getting a bit more in depth testing in that area where you can press and produce pain really may be the key location of the problem.you just need to be able to actually 'see" it or detect it with more intense closer inspection.

do you actually have all copies of your own medical records and any and ALL of your testing results in your possession?if not,get them and just go thru them yourself to really see just what was actually found in them and what could have been a something that may have not sounded really pertinent to your doc but actually is?this does unfortuently happen,way too often when a particular specialist just doesn;t truely understand or just have enough overall experience with something and blows it off as not being important when it actually is.this DID occur with me and my cavernoma,with two other neurosurgeons.but the third opinion was the only one who truely had the experience with these little suckers who really knew all about them.scarey time tho.i found out sooo much at my very first consult with this NS at the u of MN.wonderful NS who is now retired on me and i cannot find one whois even close to the amazing knowledge this one had.makes me sad ya know?the very last thing this wonderful NS did for me about three months before he retired was send me for an MRA when just based upon some changes in symptoms i had in my face,he wanted to rule out a brain aneurysm.sure enough,one was up there.he just knew things ya know?any real Dx of anything comes down to the right types of testing and the overall knowledge and experience of the doc or specialist who is working with you to find that reason for something.but i would most definetly,espescially in your current situation,start gathering all records.you,yourself,just really need to be thorough to get this proper Dx as soon as possible.let me know if you find out anything you were never told about,i can almost guarentee if you have had alot of testing done,there is at leat something there that you dont know about.i have had this happen just way too often.that is why i started getting my own copies of all testing and all my clinic notes from all docs i see.it really is interesting to read what your docs actually feel about you and your conditions this way.this just really helps me to try and stay on top of all my medical crap too.let me know just what your scan says.good luck and please keep me posted,Marcia
__________________
3-22-01,herniated C-6-7
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

 
Old 01-23-2008, 07:10 PM   #9
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Re: Spinal Tumor?

I had a large spinal tumor removed (L4-S2) a couple of years ago. Symptoms/Pain are always "strange". Pain is never "mechanical" in nature, almost always worse at night (the tumor expands, I am told). I was very very sick. I could not sit, stand, lie down, nada w/o crying. I took several showers a day/night to try to relax. No meds worked at all. I didn't sleep for months, and nobody suspected a tumor. In fact, I had a previous operation end of 2003 because the neurosurgeon thought he saw spinal stenosis on the MRI, and what it actually was was a tiny tumor (at the time) beginning to grow. amazing that he didn't pick up on it during the initial operation, but...
So, if nothing else, if you experience pretty extreme/constant symptoms such as mine, request an MRI with contrast. It took me awhile to get someone to listen, as I had several red flag symptoms.
Good luck!

 
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