I was in admitted into the Hospital for Viral Spinal Menengitis last July. When I got out the Pain in my body and chest never went away. They eventually did a MRI on me, and found that I have a Herniation bet T6 and T7. Man it has changed my life so drastically. What stinks is that you're right it seems like there is no solution for this. Surgery isn't an option for me. Because I don't want them to go through my chest cavity to get to it. Seems easier to deal with the pain. This is something that I have wanted to speak with another Thorasic pain sufferer about. When I am in pain My body does this thing, like I am short of breath. The only way I can describe it is when a child has been crying for a long time and they are starting to calm down their body takes a double breath, a stuttered deep breath??? I don't know how to explain it any better!!!! ARGH! It is so frustrating. Anyway if anyone has a similar symptom please let me know via this message board. I never had this problem before I had this Injury. And it is only when I am in pain. I don't know if you can even tell what I mean. Moving along I have a great Dr. That put me on a Medication called Avinza. It is a Derivative of Morphine. I take 60mg @ night and I take Percocet for Breakthrough Pain. If your meds have stopped working for you I would suggest talking to your Dr. about Rotating your meds like one month Lortab and the next month Percocet. Your body will build up a natural tolerance to the medication. I asked my Dr for a med that wouldn't dope me up so I can still work but also one that I only had to take one a day. It's been working great so far. Thank you for being here. More Later
Last edited by moderator2; 03-11-2005 at 04:54 PM.
I also have troble with my thorasic back. I have compression fractures of the t5,t6 and t9. My t9 also has a crack through it. I was in a roll over accident Dec. 14th. I have the shortness of breath that you talked about. It seems worse for me when I lay flat. I try to sleep with several pillows and that helps some.
Do you have pain in your ribs too? It seems to me that my pain increases during the day and my ribs feel very heavy.
I had another mri last Thursday and I see the dr tomorrow to see if there has been any progress. I don't feel like there has been. The dr has suggested that surgery is something that we have to consider.
Tirzah Thanks for your reply. Yes I have some pain in my ribs. But my pain seems to move at times. Sometimes it even goes into my hips and thighs. My voice even goes hoarse. At times it even hurts me to eat. It feels like as I swallow the food there is pressure on the Disk as it goes by my spine. This is my opinion and only my opinion. But I personally don't think I will let them do Surgery on my back. I haven't heard that it is beneficial in any way. All I have heard is that it does more harm than good. I would research it more first. Just a suggestion though.
I also have a herniation at t-6 and t-7 and I've had epidurals and a spinal cord stimulator, with no results. In fact, I'm worse off then I was a first from all the procedures. Surgery has been suggested but I don't want to go there. I'm just too scared because everytime they do anything with knives or needles I get worse. I thought I was crazy because I have shortness of breath when I lay down too. It's good to know I'm not the only one. I take Methadone and Dilaudid, and I know both of those can cause breathing troubles. I need to get a sleep test because I suspect I have sleep apnea too. I snore, which I never did before this happened three years ago and there have been a couple of occasions where I woke up gasping for breath. That was pretty scary!
Thank you SO MUCH! I thought I was going crazy with the shortness of breath thing. it's really bad today, I am in a lot of pain. It seem to get worse when storms come in. Any one else have this too?!? Ha! Ha! Some days I have to laugh about it or I'll cry. Any way BionicWitch thanks for the warm welcome. Kayley my husband has Lumbar problems and the symptoms seem to be totally different. Has anyone out there noticed this??? Or am I just nuts?
Oh definitely, Melina! My sister has lumbar problems too and her symptoms are totally different from mine. I can predict storms better than any weatherperson.lol I'm wondering if riding in the car aggrevates your pain too. I'm getting to where I don't ever want to leave the house because I always have to pay later. I hope you get feeling better!
Kayley, I am so sorry it has taken me so long to reply! I can only talk to you when I am @ work, cause I don't have the Internet hooked up @ my home yet. So I get a little busy sometimes. LOL
Anyway, we have another storm coming in today and my drive to work was a treat! Yes riding in a car does make it bad sometimes. I don't blame you for not wanting to go out sometimes. On the days when my meds are working and I am not feeling any pain. I will do very little and I will still be completely wiped out! It is like my body still knows it is in pain? Does that make any sense? I used to get relief from lying down or even standing up, but I don't even have that anymore.
I think it may be getting worse. Can that happen?
Well I hope you are having a GREAT day and I'll talk to you soon!
Hi and Welcome
I do not have much knowledge on Thoracic stuff, although I have issues above and below Anyway, just wanted to say welcome and we are glad to have someone else to share with and vent with You will find some good stuff here.
Welcome to the Boards. I too have thoracic back problems and have had thoracic surgery. It's a very invasive and dangerous procedure. I don't want to go through it again!! I just wanted to caution you about the Avinza. It's not a morphine derivative, it is Morphine Sulphate, in a slow release form. It's very addictive and very strong. I've been taking it since late July in different doses. I've weaned down to 120 mg a day now. Also be careful driving while on any pain med, (but especially morphine). If tested, you could be charged with driving under the influence of a controlled substance! If you're like me, the meds don't make you feel like your high or have a buzz,they just dull the pain to a manageable level. I wish you luck, M....
Monte is right, I tried Avinza too and was flying sky high if you know what I mean, lol. So I was switched to oxycontin and the euphoric feeling wasnt as bad. Still, I always had hubby drive me everywhere on the days when I felt like getting out.
Monte, can you elaborate a little more on your surgery experience if you dont mind? Im to the point now that if this new NS says I need it, Im going to do it. Im only 28 years old and cant live the rest of my life this way. I know the basic procedure, I guess Im wondering what post-op life was like.
Hi, I also have cord comp. at the T 7-8 and problems through-out my spine, I recently had a SCS implanted for damage at the S1 and it has flared up my thoracic pain..
I really can't add to what has been said here as all the symptoms mentioned are concurent with anyone I have ever spoke with about thoracic spine problems. I had heart suregry the yr before my spine got messed up and was so afraid it was a repeat that I went through a nuclear stress test and much more only to find out my heart(thank God) is fine it's all from the thoracic, at times the pain is so bad I feel as if an elephant is sitting on my chest, I also have stomach and digestive problems that link back to this...
I had my pictures and records sent to a NS at pit.un. hosp. that specializes in thoracic surgery and he said he couldn't help me and didn't recomend surgery at this time.
Your right surgery at these levels is not recommened and very very dangerous.
I wish you the best of luck .
Hi again. I had thoracic surgery in April, 04. The procedure was a disectomy with fusion and hardware at t6-t7. The incision is about 8 inches and runs front to back. A rib was cut in half and then removed. Your lung and other organs are moved aside to allow access to the spine. The rib is replaced and sewn in place before they close you up. After the surgery, I was taken to an ICU room instead of a regular room. (For my cervical surgeries, I went to a regular room. ) The pain level is extremely high and any movement, cough, hic-up, or laugh hurts. The doctors and nurses monitor you very closely. You'll be on oxygen. There is a risk of the lung collapsing so x-rays are done every day. The first couple of days, they brought the x-ray machine to my room, but then I was taken to x-ray. Getting in and out of bed was very painful. On my second day in ICU. I stopped breathing and set off all of the alarms. It turns out that the morphine level was set to high and I went into respiratory failure. Your lungs are weak from being pushed around. Very frightening experience. I stayed in the hospital for six days. Recovery at home was for eight weeks. One other thing. There is a nerve running through your chest. Sometimes this nerve gets cut during thoracic surgery. Mine did. It now feels like I have a broken rib all the time. The doctors agree that there isn't much that can be done, although one of the neurosurgeons thinks he may be able to remove it, but says there is no way of knowing if this will help. I'm planning on learning to live with it. There is now a new herniation above and one below the fusion (t5-6 and t7-8 ). The debate rage s on about what to do about this. For now the pain is bearable. I'll just have to wait and see. I hope all this helps and isn't to scary. On a possitive note, my second cervical fusion, posterior this time, (Feb. 09 , 2005) to fix failed ACDF (Oct, 2003 ) is going very well and appears to have corrected those problems. I wish you the best, M....
Thank you for your replies and the warm welcome. I am in so much Freakin pain today I can't stand it!!!!!!!!! The Percocet isn't even working. Thanks for listening. I have found a lot of comfort in knowing that I have this support group now. Thank you all so much! My little girl said to me Yesterday" Mommy isn't your back ever going to get better?" I almost cried. I don't think that I have accepted that yet. It really isn't going to get better. I have never had an injury that wasn't going to get better, or go away. Now that I am done depressing everyone! Sorry
Anyway Fly girl I am so sorry for your pain. If you do opt for surgery let me know how it goes and also I wish you the best of luck with it. Thanks Again for all the support
Thanks for the low down on the surgery. That sounded so scary it gave me chills. Im so sorry you had so many problems. So basically if I did have the surgery, someone has to be home with me for the 8 weeks to wait on me hand and foot? Ive heard that the discs either below or above the ones they do surgery on usually end up herniating or having other complications. My dad had the same thing on C5 and C6 and now C3 and C4 are messed up I beleive, but he refuses to go have surgery again.
If its any consolation, Ive been popping Lortab like crazy and all its doing is making me goofy. I feel your pain. Im going to hop in our hot tub now and see if that does anything, but I doubt it. Im about ready to throw in the towel, so to speak. I honestly dont beleive there is any worse pain than back pain. Im so glad I found this board, because unless a husband/wife/significant other has been through something like us, they have NO CLUE.
I have a herniated disk at T7-8 with degenerative discs. Mostly just my back tingles -- it's never been so bad that I can't go to work. Every once in a while, I feel like my chest is being squeezed. It's most noticible just at my bra line in the center. I thought it might be indigestion, but I took stomach medicing and the tightness was still there and my back still felt tight. Could this be radicular pain? I asked the physiologist, but he's not very communicative. (He asked if I wanted a prescription, I said yes, he didn't give me one, asked if I wanted surgery yet, I said no. That's about it.) I've been through PT, wore a CASH brace for three months, and though my symptoms are more frequent, the intensity is about the same.
Last summer, my (previous) neurosurgeon told me that I would have to have the thorocotomy almost immediately when my legs/hips started to feel tight -- I was walking almost as if i was rollerblading, and it it almost felt like I was walking with an elastic band around my hips. Has anyone else had this? I've been told that thoracic herniations can cause almost any and every symptom, and I'm afraid that things that are being attributed to my back could have other causes.
My new neurosurgeon suggested that I might need injections, though the psyologist (who is just strange) didn't say anything. I was on Vioxx until they pulled it, and though I'm uncomfortable most of the time, I'm able to get by.
Thanks for the posts -- it seems we're few and far between.
Hey everybody I am a mess today. I am so sick of taking pain meds and being in pain.I can't stop crying. I want my life back. I guess I just need to whine a little. My husband has no clue. I feel like I'm going crazy. Yes Monty I'm like you i don't feel High on the Avinza It just makes the pain tolerable. The Percocet on the other hand makes me so woozy that I can't even think straight. So did you get any releif at all from the Surgery??? And could someone tell me what Radicular pain is???
I guess I am feeling rather hopeless today.
If it makes ya feel any better Im a mess today too. Nothings helping. The only thing that did help was the Oxycontin, but I was a zombie, and Perocet and Vicodins give me headaches. My husband thinks Im nuts that a pain killer gives me a headache, but it does. Sometimes I think no one understands what us "spinal" people go through day after day, even to just get out of bed. The only one that does in my family is my dad b/c he had surgery 2 years ago on C5-6 and now C3-4 are herniated, but says he wont go through surgery again.
Now I feel like Im whining but, sometimes we all need a good whine, cry, whatever. I just want to go back a year and kick the you know what out of that guy that rear-ended me because "he was running late for lunch". Grrrr...here I go again. I hope you get some sleep tonight Melina, it sounds like youve had a rough couple of days. And no, youre not going crazy. We all understand.
Amy Thank You so much for the kind words. They were much needed yesterday. I'm feeling a little more positive today. I am a zombie on Oxycontin too!LOL And I get Headaches too especially from Naproxen and lortab. So tell your husband you are not nuts! lol About your father where is C3-4 located on your spine in the middle??? Still learning about all this back stuff. Talk to you soon
Im glad to see your doing a little better today. C1-6 is the Cervical part of the spine, which is the neck area. With his surgery, they made a small cut on the front of his neck, move the voice box and some other things around and do the surgery that way. Sounds bad, but he healed well at the time, he just had to eat alot of jello and popscicles for a few days because of them moving the voice box and of course the incision, which was pretty much in his throat area.
Then the all famous Thoracic Spine, its bleow the cervical and runs T1-through T-10 vertebrae. In my case, I had compression fractures on almost all of my thorasic spine, some vertebrae almost crushed, due to degenerative disc disease.
Then below that is the lumbar, L1-L5, its right above the tailbone, which I have also broken twice. Now Im having troubles in the cervical area as well. Basically, the degenerative disc disease has made my entire spine a loaf of bread, its so soft. I think Monte came up with the loaf of bread thing, lol. Constant pain, Ive lost 30 percent usein one arm from the cord compression, and I used to be 5'10" in height and I am now 5'9" and dropping. Ive been to too many doctors who tell me Im too young for surgery, or its too invasive.
Im at the point I dont care about that anymore. I cant live on drugs in bed forever. So, like I said at my appointment next month Im flat out asking for surgery. Ive even been emailing the neurosurgeon and he seems to think he can help me.
Ive rambled enough, but its so great to come to the boards and find people who actually understand this disease.