Hi all, I have just been diagnosed with a disc herniation at T10-T11, my doctor says this is really rare. It happend as I was recovering from Gall bladder surgery. I have been dealing with the pain for almost three weeks, they prescribed me with Prednizone for a week and a ton of pain killers that make me sick to my stomach. I have been waiting to get an epidural shot, but the earliest they can give me the shot is May 8th (wow) is what I said. I am contemplating my first chiropractic visit tomorrow but don't know what to expect, can I get worse from chiropractic help? What are any other options that can help, besides piling on the pain pills. I have tried the Ice and Heat and have seen some help, but mostly its just a frustrating time for me trying to recover from surgery and then my back going out. Any advice is greatly appreciated as I am home mostly now resetless about the lack of medical approaches to my situation between waiting a month for a shot.
I appologize for the long post as it is my first time posting.
Welcome to the board. Usually in a situation like yours, the disc has been bulging for some time but hasn't caused any symptoms, so the person is unaware of the problem. Then something simple like a sneeze occurs, and the person suddenly cannot move and is in agony.
As your doctor told you, thoracic disc herniations are rather rare to begin with. They are usually treated without surgical intervention, which is only necessary when a herniated disc leads to myelopathy (spinal cord dysfunction), nerve pain that is progressing, or intolerable pain.
Have you phoned the doctor back and reported that you cannot tolerate the medications? There are many different types of pain meds that are available. I would imagine that the doctor could find one that you could take.
Are you able to take short walks? Even though most of us want to head for bed and stay there with a back issue, it is not recommended for more than the first day or two. Short, gentle walks on a level surface are the best.
If I were in your shoes, I would NOT go to a chiropractor. You already know what is causing your issues, and a bit of adjustment is not going to cure the disc. If there is any nerve compression associated with the herniation, the chiropractor could end up causing more harm than good.
I guess there is a place for good chiropractic in the medical field, but, in general, those of us who already have spine problems are, for the most part, not big fans...or at the very least, we are very cautious.
You are better off going to physical therapy and trying the epidural injections. Unfortunately, waiting for appointment is a way of life with back pain. You try a treatment, then have to wait a couple weeks to see if it helps, then have to wait again for another appointment. When spineys are being actively treated for a problem, it seems like all we are doing is waiting....for an appointment or, in between appointments.
Thank you for your advice, I have tried a few different pain medications, from Norco, Tylenol 3 and now Tramadol. My Doctor thinks its due to my gall bladder surgery that I am having trouble with these pain meds. I am still waiting to get an epidural in my back but that is still a month away. I have my first chiropractor visit today, does that post any danger? I am just trying to find all best possible routes to help better my condition. My Doctor seems to be very lack luster about treating me, so I have requested a second oppinion,which just means more and more money. I have been able to take short walks which do help a bit, I have tried to stay as active as I can with dealing with the pain. Thank you again for your advice, I appreciate you taking time to post a reply. If you have any other advice please keep it coming.
Thank you, and thank you again. I have spoken to my doctor and have set up another appointment with a different physical medicine doctor. I want to discuss why my first evaluation didn't come back with anything but waiting for the epidural which I have read can be very dangerous. What is your opinion on epidural steriods? I know that some have gotten relief, yet some have shown no relief from this particular treatment. I guess its just frustrating waiting and waiting. I know that I have to be patient with this type of injury since it will not be a quick fix. I sometimes get depressed that I will always just have to deal with the pain, and can't do much but take pills that only mask the pain. I appreciate having an avenue to discuss these things and can't thank you enough just for responding and giving me some advice.
I suppose with the surgical pain, it is hard to know if the disc herniation is causing pain that is radiating out from the location of the disc. Can you tell if it is mostly pain in your back?
Regarding the ESIs, they are almost a necessary evil. Insurance carriers and the protocal that spine specialists follow include steroid injection as part of the "conservative treatment" that is tried before anything more invasive.
The reason for this is because it is effective in many cases and saves a person for having what would turn out to be unnecessary surgery. I would think that it might work particularly well for thoracic problems because the thoracic section of the spine has so little movement. The steroid will really lay right alongside the injured area and will not be disbursed quickly due to activity/movement. It could be just what you need to give your body that little push that will get you over the hump and will hasten the disc's ability to heal on its own.
As with most medical procedures, it is important to carefully choose who will be performing the injection. You want to be sure it will be done under fluoroscopy so the doctor will know exactly where the needle is being placed.
In the hands of an experienced doctor who does ESIs on a regular basis, they are quite safe. As with any procedure, from having a tooth filled to....whatever, there is always a very slight chance that something "could" go wrong...What is important is that you only have 3 injections within a certain time period --here's where it gets tricks. Some docs say 3 in six months; others tell you they will not give more than 3 in 12 months....
Unless you are really, really unlucky, usually the worst thing that will happen is that you will be sore afterward, sometimes for several days.
Thank you again for all your advice, I did select a doctor that has a lot of experience with the shot, Now I just have to play the waiting game. I have another appointment with a physical medicine doc this up coming week, so keeping my fingers crossed that I get some more options. I am still very un-sure about chiropractic advice and thank you for your opinion, my family wants me, especially my fiance to seek the most help possible to try all avenues. I guess I am just very scared that they will make me worse even though a lot of people say that they usually don't. The Prednizone didn't really do anything for me, or atleast I didn't feel any difference in my back. The pain is mostly in and around the middle of my back, I get these horible headaches, it feels like my head is going to explode from the pressure, and once and a while my left leg and hand get really cold and tired. I don't know how to explain it, but the pain can be constant at this point I think that my body is immune, as I just have constant headaches all the time and its getting harder and harder to stay positive with the situation. I have gone from being very active, to basically being home for the last couple of weeks, and I know that these things happen and they are just road blocks. Is there anything else I should be asking my doctors about? It just seems like they don't want to actively treat me, or is it just the method that I must expect with back pain? Once again thank you for keeping me company with your answers, talking and learning is keeping my mind busy at least taking away the reminders of the pain.