View Full Version : shoulder blade/chest pain questions

10-13-2016, 12:43 PM
I have been having fairly severe shoulder blade/chest pains. After visiting family Dr, Massage therapist, and chiropractor. I was sent for x-rays and MRI. I have an appt Monday with a Neurosurgeon, but was hoping someone might be able to tell me what I might expect to hear him say. I was not prepared to see this much.
I am 49 YO female with no accident or trauma. Just a relatively short onset of symptoms, that continue to worsen. (8 weeks +/-)
This is the summary of MRI

1. Right lateral protrusion at C6-7 with some right anterior cord compression.
2. At T5-6 there is a right paracentral protrusion and mild right anterior cord flattening.
3. At T6-7 there is a right paracentral disc protrusion and mild anterior cord flattening.
4. At T7-8 there is a mild right paracentral disc protrusion and mild anterior cord flattening.
5. At T9-10 there is also mild right paracentral disc protrusion and mild anterior cord flattening.

thank you for any insight!

10-13-2016, 08:50 PM
Welcome to the board. It is a little unusual to have bulging discs in the thoracic spine. Is your pain all on the right side? Pain is usually fairly localized but can run in a band around the chest unless the spinal cord is impacted too.

The discs at a number of levels are protruding. This means that the side of the disc wall is pushed out. It is also known as a bulging disc or a "slipped disc." Apparently these thoracic discs have pushed out so far that they are pushing into the spinal cord...a condition known as "spinal cord flattening."

The surgeon will want to determine to what extend this flattening is affecting the cord. I imagine he will recommend some conservative treatments such as a course of physical therapy to strengthen the back and core, perhaps a series of epidural steroid injections to reduce inflammation and help the tissue shrink back off the spinal cord, and possibly oral medications for pain and to reduce inflammation.

Since the cord flattening is thought to be mild, I imagine surgery would not be considered.

Let us know how the appointment goes on Monday.

10-17-2016, 09:35 AM
Thank you for your response. I met with Neurosurgeon this morning and did not have great news. Although my pain is in my chest and shoulder blade, he feels strongly the problem is generating from (a) cervical disc. He showed me the bulge and that there is no fluid around it.
My MRI was specifically ordered for thoracic so he has ordered a new round of cervical MRI and strongly indicated that surgery is likely. (showing me why he would operate from anterior...)
Now I am a nervous wreck thinking about the surgery and recovery.

10-18-2016, 12:16 AM
I had similar symptoms and am currently feeling the return of them. My findings where similar except it is C4,5 C5,7 C6,7. 2 years ago I had an artificial disc replacement at C5,6. Symptoms resolved after 6-8 weeks completely. FF 2 year and the symptoms have returned. Waiting to have discgram before surgery. This test pin points exactly which discs are causing the pain. Then doc know whether replace disc or fuse them. RECOVERY is pretty quick from dictionary replacement not sure about fusions.

10-19-2016, 10:39 AM
is it " normal" for a neurosurgeon to talk surgery on your first visit? I am really surprised...this firm and doctor are noted for their conservative approach.
Actually it's a little alarming to me. He didn't go into specifics of the surgery, but never mentioned PT or cortisone or anything else. Just that a disc like mine on MRI usually require surgery.
I am still waiting for appt for 2nd MRI

10-19-2016, 01:12 PM
If they plan a surgery ask for a discgram. Just because an MRI shows bulging doesn't mean it is causing pain. Especial if the is more than one disc bulging. This pin point disc that are causing you pain. My C5,6 MRI was so severe pressing on spinal cord surgery was the only option. I'm not Jumping into second surgery,fusion. SeconD opinion for sure. At your age artifical discs are an option but take a real specialist. They allow for quicker recovery and more range of motion. Hope to hear what happens