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Old 07-09-2004, 10:40 AM   #1
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colleen b HB User
Question Thoracic Spine Herniated Disc

Does anyone out there have a herniated thoracic disc? I have a herniation at T10-11 and I am at my end. I have been misdiagnosed for almost 2 years now! I do not know what to do. MY pain is unbearable. Does anyone have any suggestions?

 
Old 07-09-2004, 10:58 AM   #2
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Kayley HB User
Re: Thoracic Spine Herniated Disc

Hi Colleen
I have a herniation at t-6 and t-7 and was also mis-diagnosed for a long time. I've had this for almost three years now. I understand thoracic problems are the hardest to diagnos and also the hardest to treat. They are also the most rare. The only things I have found to help me when it gets really bad is to lay down with an ice pack. I am also on methadone and dilaudid. I have tried several epidurals, and even a spinal cord stimulator. When my pain first started, it was located in my chest wall, mostly on the right side, but sometimes going toward the left. Now that I have had the epidurals and surgeries, I also have pain in my upper back, which I believe was a result of one or both of those things.

I hope you can get some relief. I know what you're going through and wish you the best
Hugs,
Kayley

 
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Old 07-09-2004, 01:24 PM   #3
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colleen b HB User
Re: Thoracic Spine Herniated Disc

Hi Kayley,
Thank you so much for responding. I sometimes feel like I am all alone in this. I am not glad that you have the problem, but I am glad to have someone to talk to. Did you have your surgery on your Thoracic? If so, how did they go in, through your chest? I am very worried about that. I have had one epidural that actually was more diagnostic than pain relief. Now I know it is my t10-11. The crazy thing is that it is so small that all of the Docs said that there is no way that it could cause that much pain.Most of my pain is in my upper back, some in the front of my pelvis. THe Doctors have been very diffuclt to deal with. I feel like surgery is my only option. I am having another mri tomorrow morning so I will be able to find out how much progression there has been since my last one a year ago. Have you tried radiofrequency? I think that I would like to give it a shot. (no pun intended)lol!!!
Thank you again for your reply. It is greatly appreciated.

Hugs Back!

Colleen

 
Old 07-09-2004, 01:43 PM   #4
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frosty87 HB User
Re: Thoracic Spine Herniated Disc

Can you discribe the pain. My DD has 2 bulging disks in the L5S1 area and that I am use to but about 2 weeks ago came home in tears she thought she broke her back. She was not doing anything at the time but is a high level gymnast so goes thru alot. Anyway I took her to the spine clinic the did not want to x-ray because of her age and she has already had 2 sets of back x-rays done in the past. They are treating it as a severe muscle / tendon strain and she is now in physical therapy. I am pretty sure they said T4-5 area. The pain in her upper back is not at all like her lower back she discribes it more like stabbing in her upper back. Should I insist on a bone scan or an MRI I agree with no more x-rays they would not show a stress fracture anyway which is kind of what I get the impression it is . Does the pain of a herniated Tdisk radiate or is it just in the spine? When she had stress fractures in her tibia it was more pinpoint pain on the bone just like this in her thoratic area is.

 
Old 07-09-2004, 02:44 PM   #5
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LS56 HB User
Re: Thoracic Spine Herniated Disc

Hi Colleen -
I have a herniated T12-L1 disc. Doctors want to do a microdiscectomy on me, which is done from the back not the front, but I'm putting it off as long as I can stand it. I have weakness in my mid- to upper-back muscles, and occasional stabbing pains that radiate out into my mid-back muscles.

It sounds to me like you need a diagnostic test to pinpoint the pain generator. The only one that I know of is a discogram, and it's not a pleasant test. But it will show whether or not the herniation is actually causing both the upper back and the pelvic pain. If the doctors don't think that a "small" herniation is causing the pain, then you need to rule that out - or in, whichever the result shows. Make sure you get someone very experienced in doing discograms, because thoracic ones can be more problematic than lumbar ones. My doc did both my lumbar and my thoracic disco, and I quizzed him pretty thoroughly on his level of experience on thoracic levels before I went in.

To the other poster - my herniated disc pain is a radiating pain, though occasionally I get pinpoint pain at the disc spot. The pain is a burning sensation, like someone is holding a lit cigarette to that spot in my back. Bone scan will show a stress fracture but not disc problems, MRI may or may not show disc problems but I don't think will show any bone problems (?not sure about that).

 
Old 07-09-2004, 04:28 PM   #6
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Kayley HB User
Re: Thoracic Spine Herniated Disc

Hi Colleen
Have you had a discogram? LS 56 is right, because although it is not a pleasant test, they would be able to re-create the pain and verify that the disk is indeed causing it. I had a discogram but it failed because the doctor could not get through all the bone spurs (arthritis). In my case, if the discogram would have been a success, I would have gone on to a Microdiscectomy. I have not had any "back surgeries" other than three spinal stimulator surgeries and one to remove it because it was no longer covering my pain when the pain started going into my actual back.

As far as the herniation being "small", mine is small too. I have had doctors tell me it is too small to cause this much pain and also that my pain does not "line up" with the herniation. Fortunately, I kept going to different doctors and finally found one that told me it doesn't matter if it doesn't line up perfectly, it is still from the disk. Plus he said that some people have large herniations that do not cause them any problems, and others have small ones that cause lots of pain. It all depends on if it is pressing on the nerve or not.

I also had a test for Radiofrequency Lesioning. I don't remember exactly what the test was called, but it also failed so I didn't go that route.

There is a Neurosurgeon in Phoenix, Arizona named Curtis Dickman at the Barrow Institite that was recommened to me. He specializes in thoracic surgery and I have heard he is excellent. I corresponded with him, and was seriously considering going out there for surgery. However, I decided not to persue it when he told me that although it is possible, but cannot be guaranteed, that the radiating chest wall pain could be fixed, the pain in my back most likely cannot be fixed. He has a website and if you do a search, you should be able to find it. If I was still at the beginning and only had the chest wall pain, I would go to him in a heartbeat. He does go into the chest to do the surgery, which in my opinion is a good thing because I will never let anyone cut into my trapezious muscle again.

Frosty, in answer to your question, my pain has always been a constant aching, sometimes stabbing sensation. I know some people have more of a burning sensation. The pain of a herniated disk usually radiates, but sometimes is also in the back. It is different for everybody. Has your daughter had an MRI or Myleogram yet? Those tests can really pinpoint the problem, where X-rays can't, like you said.

Colleen, let us know how your MRI goes, ok? And don't give up, there are lots of things out there for you to try, hopefully one of which will help you.
Hugs,
Kayley

Last edited by Kayley; 07-09-2004 at 04:28 PM.

 
Old 07-09-2004, 04:32 PM   #7
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King4852 HB User
Angry Re: Thoracic Spine Herniated Disc

First time on this website, and I am finding some useful information. I have been strugging with a problem which I think is being caused by a thoracic herniated disc, but the doc says no. Nearly 2 years ago I had a cervical fusion for 3 herniated discs. I had a corpectomy of C5, and 3 discectomies with cage placements over C4-C7. My pain has never gotten any better, in spite of epidural injections, P.T., morphine, etc. About 6 months after the cervical fusion I had surgery to correct thoracic outlet syndrome. This was accomplished by removal of "extra" ribs (cervical ribs) at the bottom of C7. The healing process was not pleasant, to say the least. That was over a year ago, and still having some of the same symptoms. The problem now is that I continue to have pain in my upper spine, right arm, and right scapula. An MRI was performed in December on my thoracic spine, showing a bulging disc between the T1-T2 level. I also have a hemangioma on the T2 vertebra which causes an "altered bone marrow signal." I asked the neurosurgeon if any of this might be causing the continuing pain, and again he said "no." He said a bulging disc in the thoracic spine was not significant enough to cause pain. As for the hemangioma, he said it was not relevant. He doesn't understand why I am not getting any better. My EMGs are normal, but I am having "fasiculations" (doc's words) in my upper back on the right side. I also have tremors in both feet. Yesterday I had a myelogram of the cervical spine and lumbar spine. Will find out the results next week. If the test doesn't show anything different, I don't know what to do next. Does anyone else feel as though they are perceived as a "complainer?" I have been healthy and energetic all of my life until the past couple of years. Now my life is a never-ending cycle of dealing with pain on a daily basis. What I am especially focused on right now is finding out about the significance of my thoracic spinal problems. I appreciate reading comments of those who have had similar experiences.

 
Old 07-09-2004, 09:38 PM   #8
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colleen b HB User
Re: Thoracic Spine Herniated Disc

Thank you all so much for your help and information.

Kaley, it sounds like we have similiar problems, although my pain is not in my chest. It is all in my back, neck, and hips. What is a spinal cord simulator? I wonder if it is something that will help me. I live in Bethesda, Maryland which is just outside of Washington DC. I actually live right near the National Institue of Health. Do you think that they might have some help for me? Do you live on the east coast? Maybe I need to correspond with this Doctor in Phoenix. Gosh, how do you have surgery in an area that is not near your home? I would need my family to help care for me. So much to think about and figure out. I am going to request a discogram on Monday morning. I had one done on my L4,5 and L5 S1. They were both negative. I will have to research where to have it done. Do you have any suggestions on where to do the discogram?
Thank you so much for your help. I will write tomorrow with my results of my mri.


Thank you frosty and LS56. I will keep in touch!

Hugs to all!

Colleen

 
Old 07-10-2004, 10:51 AM   #9
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Kayley HB User
Re: Thoracic Spine Herniated Disc

Hi Colleen
I live near Kansas City, MO. I had to obtain special permission from my insurance company to see the doctor in Phoenix, but after e-mailing back and forth a few times, decided not to persue it for the reasons I told you about. If I would have gone, my mother would have met me there. She lives in CA.

I don't know anything about the National Institute of Health near where you live, but it wouldn't hurt to check into it. Do you see a pain management doctor? My pain management doctor was the one who did my discogram.

As for the spinal cord stimulator, it puts out electrical stimulation to mask the pain. A neurosurgeon put mine in, but my current pain management doctor also does them. If you want to do a search online, just type in "Dorsal Column Stimulator" and you should be able to get some information. That is the technical name for it. What they did was, I first had a trial, where the lead was placed in my spine and the wires came out of my back, leading to a little remote control that I carried in a fanny pack. Since my trial was a success, covering 80% of my pain, I went on to have the permanent placement. I chose the one that was totally implanted in my body. I had a little remote control I could turn it up and down or on and off with by putting it on my hip where the battery pack was. Unfortunately, they put me all the way under during the second surgery and when I woke up, all the stimulation was going toward the left side, and I needed it on the right side. So, I went for a third surgery, and they put in a larger lead this time. This was a more difficult recovery, as they had to cut into more tissue. As I said before, soon after that, I started having pain in my upper back, which I had never had before and I don't know if it was from the surgery or the epidurals that I had during that same time. So I had the stimulator taken out, but I still have the lead in my upper back. I want to have it taken out, but I am afraid to have the trapezious muscle cut into again.

King, I know how you feel about being perceived as a "complainer". Lots of doctors have treated me like that, or acted like I was a crazy hypochondriac. My husband would sit there and tell them he has been married to me for 20 years and I have never complained until this happened, but it didn't help. I am tired of trying to "prove" I am in pain all the time. I would even go so far as to not take my pain meds before an appoinment so the doctors could hopefully see the pain in my eyes. It is ridiculous how we are treated by some doctors. I am so glad to be able to talk to people in a similar situation, although I wouldn't wish this pain on anybody.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and not too much pain. Take care!
Hugs,
Kayley

 
Old 07-10-2004, 01:02 PM   #10
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colleen b HB User
Re: Thoracic Spine Herniated Disc

HI Kaley,

Thank you so much for the information. I will look into it. It sounds like you have had the "run around" a bit, as we all seem to have had. Someone needs to write a book on how to manage the situation with the pain, and the pain from the doctors. That is a job in itself, managing the doctors. I have had some tell me that they want to fuse my neck, some wanted to fuse my lower back, some have told me that I have si joint dysfunction. They have all been wrong. IT IS MY THORACIC! It took me complaining enough to even get them to think about it.Enough about them, I could go on for hours about how they treat you like a drug addict also!

I had my MRI this morning. It looks to me (with my eneducated eye) that it is a tiny bit larger than last year. It dosen't seem to be on my spinal cord though. Thank god!
I think that the discogram is my next step. My pain mgmt doc is not experienced in the thoracic area, so i am going to look elsewhere. I will keep you posted.

It sounds to me that you have been through hell with you stimulator. I am not sure if I could deal with all that you have. You are a strong woman.

Have a good weekend

If anyone else out there has any thoracic spin problems I would love to hear from you!

Hugs Back!

Colleen

 
Old 07-10-2004, 01:10 PM   #11
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colleen b HB User
Wink Re: Thoracic Spine Herniated Disc

Hi King!

It sounds like you have gotten the run around as we all have, but I think you get the prize. Do you think that the pain was not from your cervical area at all, and that you have been misdiagnosed? I have been misdiagnosed for about 2 years now. I am sure that I have nerve damage now just because of the time lapse. I am so angry with doctors now! They are the ones to help us but I believe that they are hindering us from getting the problem solved. I also feel like some pain mgmt doctors keep medicating you and do not get to the source of the problem at all. They get paid every time you walk in the door to get your pain meds. Crazy! Sorry for venting, but I still do not feel that I have any doctor on my side that can help me. I will write a book someday to help others out there who have the same problems. I think it will be a how to book on how to deal with doctors to get your back fixed.

any ways, feel better and keep in touch!

Colleen

 
Old 05-22-2005, 12:45 PM   #12
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Anton_Linn HB User
Re: Thoracic Spine Herniated Disc

Does your pain stay the same throughout night-day? Cause my pain mashrooms as i lay on my back and up to morning becoms absolutly unbearable, just like a melting stone somewhere inside.

 
Old 05-22-2005, 04:15 PM   #13
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Quietcook HB UserQuietcook HB User
Re: Thoracic Spine Herniated Disc

Yes, my T10-T11 and T11-T12 were herniated along with other collapses prior to my 10 level fusion. It is my understanding that thoracic herniations are not as frequent as the lumbar, but certainly not unheard of.

If these were my problem today and I didn't have all my other back problems, I would be doing tons of research on the ADR's, the clinical trials that have been completed and be seeing a spine specialist who had already done the ADRs. The good thing is that they have been doing the trials on multiple level ADR's but I don't think they have finished those. I've participated in clinical trials on new meds and would have had no qualms over doing one for the ADRs, but my other health problems with the back made me a "non-candidate".

Do looking into finding you a spine specialist, check the trials for any in your commuting distance and see if you qualify. At least with an ADR, even if you could have only one level, plus a one level fusion as they now do ADR with a partially fused spine, then you would still have your flexibility. If an ADR failed in the future, the fusion can then be done on that.

Best wishes and let us know what you find out about your problem.

 
Old 03-22-2009, 09:34 PM   #14
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inthegrapevine HB User
Re: Thoracic Spine Herniated Disc

Quote:
Originally Posted by colleen b View Post
HI Kaley,

Thank you so much for the information. I will look into it. It sounds like you have had the "run around" a bit, as we all seem to have had. Someone needs to write a book on how to manage the situation with the pain, and the pain from the doctors. That is a job in itself, managing the doctors. I have had some tell me that they want to fuse my neck, some wanted to fuse my lower back, some have told me that I have si joint dysfunction. They have all been wrong. IT IS MY THORACIC! It took me complaining enough to even get them to think about it.Enough about them, I could go on for hours about how they treat you like a drug addict also!

I had my MRI this morning. It looks to me (with my eneducated eye) that it is a tiny bit larger than last year. It dosen't seem to be on my spinal cord though. Thank god!
I think that the discogram is my next step. My pain mgmt doc is not experienced in the thoracic area, so i am going to look elsewhere. I will keep you posted.

It sounds to me that you have been through hell with you stimulator. I am not sure if I could deal with all that you have. You are a strong woman.

Have a good weekend

If anyone else out there has any thoracic spin problems I would love to hear from you!

Hugs Back!

Colleen

 
Old 03-22-2009, 09:40 PM   #15
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inthegrapevine HB User
Re: Thoracic Spine Herniated Disc

Hi Colleen, I to have thoracic issues and have been to alot of surgeons and pm doctors who have all said that thoracic disc herniations are very rare and surgery is way to risky. I am at a loss on what to do for the extreme daily pain. I am going to try another steroid shot in the neck to try to get some relief although some of my doctors have said this will not work. It worked back in 2006 for about 3 months so I'll try anything to be out of pain or even a day or two. I'll let you know if it works!

 
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