I also found out I have thoracic disc herniations. 2 1/2 yrs ago I was diagnosed with 5 of them and 3 bulging lumbar discs. 16 yrs ago I had lower lumbar disc surgery for 2 herniated lumbar discs. It was very successful. I walk briskly 3-4 hrs weekly. I take 2 Arthritis Tylenol every am when I get up. I seldom take other pain meds but I have Tramadol and low dose Flexeril for back up. Most days I'm comfortable. Some days I feel totally normal. These past 2 weeks, in upstate Ny the cold has me stiff and a bit uncomfortable. I also do all the back exercises PT gave me for my upper back issues. Ice works much better for me than heat. I have found that if I keep moving even with discomfort I feel better. I also work 4 days a week and commute 2 hrs daily. I try hard to avoid being the patient..that makes me feel sad and it would be too easy to give up on being actively involved in life. 16 yrs ago I was advised to go on disability. I refused and went into a rehab back program called "Med-x". It worked wonders for the lumbar issues. Keeping weight off is also helpful and challenging. Good luck..
I’ve been a long time without visiting the forum, but having it in mind everyday!
Thank you for this answer, it has been really helpful for me. We have some things in common; I am also a 43 year old (mum), and not a doctor, but come from a family with a medical background. And I think we have the same kind of pain as I also feel pain sitting down and relieved on my stomach or stretching my arms (I had not heard before about mckenzie direction).
I have had a quite a good summer with even some days with no pain (I even thought the pain was going to disappear -I was taking medication, btw-). But after the autumn the situation is coming back to be the same.
Well, now after more than a year with regular pain in my dorsal back due to the hernation, I would like to share here some of the things that work for me, in case they are of good use for you or for others with this kind of pain.
a) Actions that improve the situation:
It should always be with soft soles, and of course not with heels. I find “shape-ups” shoes (or MBT, or similar brands) really helpful. They are quite expensive, but I have made good use of them.
It is also important not to carry weights, I tend to buy jackets or coat with pockets, so I can carry the keys, mobile etc.. in them and not in a handbag.
I would recommend:
• Regularly doing exercises meant for dorsal muscles at home (like standing “on all fours” and extending one arm and the other leg. Regularly doing stretching exercises as well.
• Doing specific exercises to build up dorsal muscles. The problem with this is that they can be done only in the gym, which is a bit time consuming and quite expensive if you only go to the gym to do so.
Regarding, Pilates and yoga I have tried both and mixed feelings. I do not recommend typical Pilates exercises where you have to be in a v shape, nor the torsions in yoga.
Specific exercises that relieve pain would be the ones where you lay down on your stomach and raise your upper body. Also hang from monkey bars or doing a stand up.
Swimming… But be careful!! Regarding style, I would only recommend swimming backstroke and freestyle. Breaststroke swimming s not recommended for cervical or lumbar herniations. I don´t think is particularly bad for the dorsal area of my back, but I try not to swim so much in this style as there seems to be a consensus about it being bad for the other areas of the back.
Regarding the rhythm, I have experience if I swim at a high speed it worsens my pain. Therefore, I find swimming useful if it is for a long period (like 40 minutes) and at a medium rhythm.
It also, works especially well to swim with a pullbouy between the legs at freestyle; this makes your dorsal muscles starch and work.
Fisiotherapist? ...In my opinion it works if you have muscle contraction (spam). If it is just a column pain, it is not helpful.
b) Actions that worsen my pain
• Working on the computer
• Taking weights
• In general, sitting down for a long period.
According to some doctors we should take pauses when sitting down and get up from time to time (let’s say each half an hour). These pauses don´t need to be long, it would be as if when you are diving you surface to breathe.
Sometimes I feel I would like to have my back in a plaster cast to relieve pain… this must be common as they sell corsets for this purpose (not for dorsal, as we are oddities ) …BUT this won´t really work, as this would relieve the pain in the short term but deteriorate the back muscles in the long term.
well, in the end, I have had a reduction of the quality of live since my accident, as I can´t work at the pace I used to, and can´t do things with my family that I used to as well. This is quite difficult to take in for me. But I feel I need to learn the things I can´t do and things I should do, and do not rely in medication.
I am sorry for such a long post, I just hope it is helpful for others…
OMG ! I am so happy I found this thread! I started reading this and thought I wrote it! This is almost exactly what happened to me, last year I was in a car accident where someone rear ended me. Pain started in neck/back, thought it was just whiplash. Few weeks later constant pain in my mid back (and still pain in my neck and lower back). Had MRI of thoracic, have herniated disc at T11-T12. I have done 8 months of physical therapy, a month of a back brace, 2 months of acupuncture, and 3 spinal injections for the pain, not to mention a ton of pain killers....the pain is continuously worsening. My specialist is now recommending thoracic surgery for fusion at T-11 T12. The first thing we are doing is a discogram which I have heard is the worst pain anyone has ever experienced. My whole thing is the dangers of thoracic surgery and recovery time. This has put my family life on hold, my son is almost two and we wanted to start trying for baby #2 months ago but couldn't because of my injuries. Anyone have this surgery can tell me recovery time and info about it????
I´ve seen three spine doctors and all of them said I should only have the operation in case of bowel/bladder or arm/leg moving difficulty. Then I have not considered it at all. I am afraid I don´t know of anyone who has had the operation. Please keep in touch and GOOD LUCK!!
Hi Maria, Well I'm going to have a discogram done probably March 8th to see if the herniated disk location is exactly where the pain is coming from. If this test/procedure is positive then I'm going to schedule the surgery. My specialist said he is able to do the surgery without having to break my ribs or collapsing my lungs. He said he will use laser to make an incision in my back and do it from there. I'm still very nervous but I cannot live in pain like this anymore!!!!
Have not been back to this because after 13 months the 4-6/10 pain drifted away. I was all set for an epidural steroid injection and it faded away for 3 days, returned for a week and then faded away again.
Poor posture and a few days without walking will spark it up to 1-2/10 but it's trivial in comparison.
Our couch in the lounge is a big leather thing which is terrible for my T spine - I often use the floor or other chairs. Being really conscious of my sitting posture and keyboard set up has helped.
Time has healed this - thank goodness I didn't opt for surgery when I was desperate.
Like you I found walking helped a lot. Helped with fitness, gave a break from the pain and I am sure gives a bit of core stability.
Increasing the Nortriptyline slowly from 10 to 37.5mg was a revealation.
To me it has been time, walking, really thinking about seating and not being scared of higher dose Nortriptyline that have been the keys. My pain physician said he is often amazed at how pain gets rewired.
Good luck to anyone who reads this in desperation.
Hi. I too have a herniated disc. T10. I am on 8 months. No work, spent 3 months laying flat in bed in agony. I am up now swimming and just found a new Physio after my surgeon said if I was ok being in pain forever don't do anything but if I wanted rid of the pain I should have the disc removed. This is a pretty hefty op, goin in through the chest. I am seeing another specialist who may consider burning the nerves away with laser. It strikes me as most Doctors have no idea about the thoracic region and rally don't know how to help us. It's bloody agony, comes and goes. I just sat in the cinema for a film and now I'm back on the floor all pained up!! Would love to hear what you are doing to try and heal. You have my understanding, people say "oh yeH, I had that, it's nearly always a lumbar thing, and it's really not in the sAme league.
Hi amy, my doctor has recommended me corticstereoid injection in my back. My pain is still persisting everyday even though If I do exercise. Standing in the same posture is very bad for me. If I go to the cinema or dinner I need to "make a break" and stand up and for example go to the toilet. If I don't do I have a greater pain later. What works better for me is to walk, without taking any weight.
Hi, I found out I have a thoracic disc herniation t8-t9 in Feb. 2011 after almost 3 months of steadily increasing pain. My pain is aggravated by hand and arm movement and also lifting. It started out as a little tingling non painful feeling in my mid back when I washed my hands in mid November 2010. Now it is hellish and is pressure like in my mid back then radiates to the left and right. There has also been occasional pain in the back of my left leg. I am taking vicodin which does not help much and other pain killers I've tried helped even less. Laying in bed is my best bet for pain relief. I've tried 2 shots and they did not work. The pain doctor agreed we should stop the shots. In fact the last one was painful and might have made things worse. I went to see a surgeon in Baltimore Md. in March 2011 and he said he was not impressed with my herniation and suggested increased therapy. I am tired of it all and reading stories of people that have had this for 3 years or more is discouraging. I hope the shots work for you. I wish I could find a surgeon that has done successful thoracic surgery and has a good rep in the states.
Well it's nice to finally meet another member of the 1% of population that actually suffers from thoracic disc herniation. I have 4 thoracic disc herniated as well as 3 in cervical & 2 in lumbar. I do research with children, so have my day is working with the children and the other 1/2 is at a desk doing computer or data work. I have learned to not push it I know that on days I am feeling off. I won't do certain things like pick up the babies or sit for too long. I am lucky b/c I have a very understanding boss. However, I do not abuse her kindness and always get my work done and then some. But my discs my cause different discomfort than yours. I recommend not doing anything for too long including sitting, standing, laying for too long. I feel like my muscles continue to tighten if I do. I've had pain meds, TENS Unit, trigger point injections, chiro care (he added to prob & popped out a rib), PT, pain med injections, etc.. nothing has worked. I stick to muscle relaxers as needed and not staying still. I've been in pain since March 2009 with no relief & full spasms every few months. I wish you luck.
Originally Posted by 111maria111
Does anyone have thoracic disk herniation? It is the first time I participate in the forum but I've been reading it and I see that it is all very useful. Well, I summarize my case: 6 months ago I had a rear end car accident and I was diagnosed whiplash. Since that time I started with a lot of pain in the middle of my back. The doctor said it was a just muscle pain and that it was normal signs of cervical sprain. After 4 months with the same pain (it is like a knife stuck in the back) I was made MRI and it turned out that I had a thoracic slipped disc. I have done over 40 sessions of rehab, I swim 4 days per week and do gymnastics regularly. I also went to Physiotherapist, private osteopathic and chiropractor and yet I have not noticed any improvement. Due to my work I need to be sitting more than 8 hours ahead of a computer and cannot do so ( I am not working right now). As the T herniated discs are very rare, I would like to know if someone has one and what your experience is, what can be the perspective and if you can recommend me something that does not involve surgery. Thanks a lot!!!
I suffered an injury at work when a 60-70 lb bar fell from 30 ft high and land across my back. For two years, I was in pain. Went to PT, then a work hardening program, where I was told the pain was in my head. My claim was controverted with L&I, went back to work, which is a very physical job, and I continue to have problems. Every doc I saw neglected to order an MRI, though one initially recommended one, but then changed her opinion following the "IME" report from the orthopedic doc who was hired by insurance. Upon finally finding a doctor who took me seriously, I got MRI. Turns out I have a healed compression fracture at the T11 vertebrae addition, there is moderate thoracic facet hypertrophy at t4-t5. At t9-t11 there is disc disease present. I also have a syrinx, post traumatic that is from t-11 to t12. I have varying degrees and types of pain, from numbing to stabbing, to incapacitating. I have found a few measures of relief through 1) acupuncture (couldn't survive without it), 2) PT and pilates 3) massage therapy 4) most recently lidoderm patches - they help more than pain killers and no side effects
Im glad to see there are others like me. However I have to say, I have been dealing with bulging/herniated disc since 06- work related injury. Saw a chiro and the pain went away. I fell in a hole about 3 or 4 yrs ago and the pain is back. I (earlier this year) had cortizone injections to help with the herniations around the T7-T8 T8-T9 area of my back, with spinal cord impingement- with a lying down MRI btw. Since then I have noticed that my balance is off more than it used to be, the pain is worse, I have whole body numbness- from head to toe- Chiro asked if I had pain in my face with the numbness told him no- cause I dont. I cant hold on to much, in fact the other day I dropped my wallet 5 times in 5 min, my boyfriend got annoyed and just held it after that. My speech is more mumbled then EVER, to the point Drs are taking notice in it. And many other problems as well, such as bladder leakage- Im only 34 that shouldnt be happening NOW!
I see a Neurologist on Monday and am a little freaked out. Anyway thanks for letting me read/vent...have a great NEW YEAR!
Most people with back issues post on either the Back board or the Spinal Cord Disorders board(mostly cervical). But we have thoracic people on both.
Your dropping things is more typical of problems with the cervical spine...I had that too. but thoracic surgery is very hard,,,make sure if you are considering surgery that you see the4 very best spine surgeon you can find.....preferably at a major medical center associated with a medical school. They know the latest procedures.
I've had 2 major cervical surgeries and am headed for a lumbar surgery shortly and possibly a 3rd cervical....and I also have herniated disks at T6-7 and 8 with cord compression(my neck had 5 levels of cord compression with my cord compressed from 12 mms down to 6mms.). Talking to people here and after my own situation, the one thing I have learned is that your outcome will be a direct result of your doc's expertize. You see just anyone, then you risk a mediocre outcome or worse. You see the best you can find and your outcome will be much, much better. You are young and you need to see the best.
I am a regular on the Spinal Cord Disorders board and you are very welcome to join us and add to our knowledge.
Hello all. I was diagnosed with a large left paracentric T11-T12 disc herniation severely deforming the spinal cord. Also mild disk herniation at L1-L2 and lateral recess stenosis at at L4-L5. I don't have much back pain but I've had left foot drop that's progressively gotten worse since Feb-March of 2011.
The neuro-surgeon wants to operate with a left transpedicular approach (with likely fusion.) I'm going to a well-known teaching hospital in the midwest and am scheduled for surgery in about 2 weeks. I have my pre-surgery physical/CT scan this week and have a lot of questions for the surgeon. I guess there is about a 5% chance of total paralysis of the lower extremities with this surgery too.
I'd like to know if "kflynn0318" has had success with her surgery. I saw she posted in march of 2011 but didn't have any posts after that.
Has anyone had thoracic fusion and if so, how are you doing now? Am I in for a long recovery due to the fusion part of the surgery? I was thinking of getting a 2nd opinion at some higher-ranked hospitals but they charge around $1000 and are kind of far for me to travel.
Thorman, why don't you go and check with the Back Problems board and see if "kflynn" has posted since surgery there. Since yours is part lumbar, you might find more with the same problem there as well.
And I wish you luck with the surgery. The fact that you've gotten a good surgeon is so important and says a lot about how prepared you are. And what I tell everyone about spines is that pain has little to do with the need for surgery....numbness or obvious nerve problems tell the docs a whole more than pain does. Pain means a nerve is alive and kicking.....lack of pain says the nerves/cord are in trouble. Right now, I am waiting for lumbar surgery and I have no pain...but my feet are numb.
So follow up on the Back board and if you have trouble finding help there, come on down to the Spinal Cord Disorders board and say hello. Mostly cervical people but several have had other spine surgeries as well.
Take care and good luck.................Jenny(fused C3 to T1)