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  • Multiple Thoracic Disc Bulges

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    Old 03-18-2019, 06:54 PM   #1
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    Multiple Thoracic Disc Bulges

    In 2002 I underwent L4-5 fusion with cages, plates and screws. Everything has been pretty stable until about 2 months ago, when I started experiencing left rib pain around T6. I went to my chiropractor, who performed a Gonstead adjustment to "unstick" my rib (as he put it). I initially felt better, but within days the pain returned worse than before, but affecting a larger area. It got to the point where I could not arise from a lying position without feeling the muscle spasm, numbness and pain radiating from my thoracic spine, wrapping around under my arm almost to my sternum.

    My GP was at a loss and referred me to a pain mgmt. dr. He ordered a thoracic MRI, and we got the results back today. Bulging discs from T5 through T9. I get the full report tomorrow, so I don't know if there is any impingement noted on the MRI (it sure feels like it given the numbness).

    I know thoracic surgery is not typically done. I am trying not to freak out. Any words of advice?


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    Old 03-18-2019, 07:24 PM   #2
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    Re: Multiple Thoracic Disc Bulges

    Yes. Try not to worry, especially until you have the full report from the MRI...and then, not even then! The MRI is just one piece of the diagnostic puzzle, and often, not a helpful piece as it can give off misleading information.

    Unfortunately, I am no help whatsoever when it comes to chiropractic. Iím not a fan and have little knowledge of what they do, but Iím also really not a fan of going to pain management for anything diagnostic! Depending on what is found on MRI, I would suggest you make an appointment with a spine specialist for an accurate diagnosis and plan of treatment.

    For most thoracic issues, this will most likely include a course of physical therapy, perhaps a series of steroid injections, etc. Yes, you may be referred back to pain management...but at least you will know you have a more accurate diagnosis than if you just begin with pain management, who do not have specialized training in the neck, back and spine. Depending on your age, it would not be uncommon for a MRI to show some disc bulging...just depends what else might be going on! I gather you believe this not to be muscular?

    You did quite well to make it 17 years without developing other lumbar spine issues!

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