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    Old 05-13-2009, 12:23 PM   #1
    Devon07
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    Cervical or Thoracic?

    Hello, I'll give as much information as I can and any help/information you have to offer I would appreciate...

    Okay so, I'm 44 years old now, 268 lbs 6'1" - I eat healthy but gain weight from lack of good exercise from a previous surgery (2 level lumbar 360) I need to get fixed so I can get back to good work and exercising.

    Since a car wreck I started developing this tightness on the right side of my spine beside my Right scapula, when I look to the left and down I feel a very painful stretch there.

    It has gotten progressively worse, At times when I try to exercise, later it gets really bad.(swelling and sharp pain)

    I have no other symptoms, I can move my arms freely, and rotate my shoulders fine. although the pain does radiate around to the front chest.

    I thought it was just a muscle knot that needed to be worked out so I saw a masseuse and she would always get the knots (very painful, it's right on a pressure point too... if i put pressure there on my left side (which is fine) it hurts like a 6/10, on my right side its a 10/10 with shooting pain) I would always get my wife to massage it out.

    It seems the focal point (where I get the fist size knot ) is between my scapula and spine. When you take your left hand around the right side of your neck and try to reach down your back, my middle finger just reaches it when I push my left elbow with my right hand as far as it can go...

    I would appreciate any advice!

    I have a bulging disc at the C5-6 and also a couple small bulges at the Thoracic at T 7-8......I know one of these is the cause but dont have a clue as to what one.....any thouhgts? Im scheduled for a four level discogram on my neck and really wanted to maybe have an answer before I did the painful disco.


    Devon

    Last edited by Devon07; 05-14-2009 at 05:44 PM. Reason: spelling

     
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    Old 05-13-2009, 04:39 PM   #2
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    Re: Cervical or Thoracic?

    It's not the cervical. You'd have arm pain with that. I checked the dermatome for T7-8 and it's a little below where you described. Pain can refer to elsewhere so I guess it could be. Or it could be something new. But it definitely isn't your cervical spine. I know cervical. I'm fused from C3 to T1 and going back to go higher. I figure sooner or later I'll be fused from head to butt!

    good luck................Jenny

     
    Old 05-13-2009, 06:50 PM   #3
    Devon07
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    Re: Cervical or Thoracic?

    Thanks jenny!.....LOL......I hope you get fixed.

    Im uneasy with the disco on the neck but I guess we can at least rule it out huh? I had a disco done on my lumbar and it was not bad at all.....Im betting the neck will be a bit more painful.

    My doc said he would bet me a steak dinner it was my neck.....He had the same symptoms and had his neck done....If I need it I will get the same doc he had.....but Ill wait and see.

    Dev

     
    Old 05-14-2009, 02:09 AM   #4
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    Re: Cervical or Thoracic?

    I disagree.I had this combo C5-6-7 & T-5-6-7 and I think it could be both Cervical and thoracic. The chest pain is probably T6 or T7, mine calmed down with epidural. There is a point about lower scapula height- (bra line for women)just left of center on your spine, it causes lots of similar pain and funny enough can go right. The nerve T6 or 7 is so close to the surface as it exits there and is more irritated by laying, leaning on chairs, etc. This nerve commonly refers to chest and armpit side, blades, and yes even traps. Have your wife gently try to find this spot.

    Now for the cervical, just because you do not have arm pain it does not mean it is not contributed to by neck.C5 and down to C7 go on to split to form many branches.A true compression at the root in the neck will cause arm pain (radiculopathy along the exact dermatome, but those roots can pinch just a little further down by a misalingment or posture or scar tissue, adhesions, etc. and cause confusing results. They feed the brachial plexus and can cause a problem in the back and chest depending on where it is irritated. It can be as those nerves exit the foramen and cross under the scalene area or many places.

    Did you have an MRI and do you have the summary?

    Last edited by PNo; 05-14-2009 at 02:23 AM.

     
    Old 05-14-2009, 03:48 PM   #5
    jennybyc
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    Re: Cervical or Thoracic?

    Well, I'll still disagree that it's cervical. My whole spine is messed up and I'm numb at the level of T5-6 and T7-8 is below that and I can't see how any cervical nerves can affect that area. Cord compression yes, but not a compressed cervical nerve.

    Either way, you'll need to find out what is causing what. Once you have bad areas in your neck and lumbar, you can pretty well assume the problem is throughout your spine. My thoracic is a mess. But thanks to a thoracic MRI the docs found a silent killer......a splenic artery aneurysm. So I'm glad I have a bad back. It saved my life.

    A different look at back problems!

    Jenny

     
    Old 05-14-2009, 05:30 PM   #6
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    Re: Cervical or Thoracic?

    Jenny....you are fortunate to have had back problems. :0


    neckpatient....I dont have the summary....I feel that it is my neck but am unsure....my confusion really comes from having the area swell....it rises about 3/4 of an inch off my back....just as if I was hit very hard with a softball....it hurts even if the swelling isnt present.

    I am going to move ahead with my disco to find or rule it out.....I will give my results.

    I mainly wanted someone to say it was the exact same thing they had...just to help ease the reason for the disco pain...lol


    thanks to both of you for the help.

    devon

     
    Old 05-15-2009, 10:11 AM   #7
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    Re: Cervical or Thoracic?

    I agree with NeckPatient - Cervical problems don't necessarily result in pain down the arm.

    Actually I had a C5-C7 fusion 3 years ago and about a month ago had pain under the scapula and what I thought was thoracic pain. Went to my primary care (since my spine surgeon is out of network) and when my PCP (who has cervical problems himself) asked me to describe what I was feeling he said it can indeed be related to the C5-C7 fusion and maybe the level above at C4 where pain radiates somewhat less. A cervical and thoracic MRI then showed that C4 has some damage. So now I see the spine surgeon again in 10 days and can figure out what's causing the pain.
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    Old 05-16-2009, 05:25 AM   #8
    Jema X
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    Re: Cervical or Thoracic?

    Hey there,

    Wow, I've read your post and it all sounds confusing. I didn't respond yesterday because I didn't really know what to say.

    We've established a few things - cervical disk usually causes neck symptoms/shoulder symptoms (whether they be nerve pain or numbness). Thoracic pain is usually localised to the back or wraps around your chest.

    However what you are experiencing sounds like muscle dysfuntion and therefore could be caused by either. It's very hard without seeing the actual muscle and made more confusing by the fact that most muscle groups originate from your thoracic.

    I have severe nerve damage to T8/9 and have had a fusion. The pain wraps around the right side of my chest at the right T8 level because the nerve root on the right at T8 was crushed. I also have a disc at C5/6 which is pressing on the left nerve root and causes numbness, pain down the inside of my left arm, weakness in my thumb and forefinger and shoulder pain. The interesting part for you is that I have a big muscle knot on the right side of my spine above T8 in a muscle called the rhomboid (it might be worth looking this up to see if it fits your pattern), it is sooo painful and is so hard my partner thought it was a bone. The pain is above T8 so therefore is unlikely to be directly caused by the disc, although there is some cord damage there. It is caused by the indirect fact that my right arm is very weak from my thoracic problems. I favour that arm and sometimes can't move it at all. The big swelling in my back is caused by the dysfuctional movement of my right arm.

    I guess what I'm saying is that it could be either because it sounds like it's muscle pain. If you immobilise one area, does it relieve the pain? It sounds more thoracic but again, your movement patterns may be different because you are favouring that area. My c5/6, when it locks up, causes pain and spasms that extend all the way down to bra level (T8) but it's more left sided because this is where the disc is out. Does that make sense?

     
    Old 07-21-2009, 01:17 PM   #9
    Devon07
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    Re: Cervical or Thoracic?

    Well...Im still fighting for workers comp to get my Discogram....otherwise I would have responded sooner.

    Thanks to everyone who voiced in!...Im still confused....I just got backfrom the Dr and he is sending me to a Neck Dr. to rule it out...he does think its my neck though....We will soon see.

    I dont really experience any arm pain to speak of...its at an 8/10 rt now and pretty bad....I dont have any neck discomfort at all....but I guess since docs dont like to mess with Thoracic areas they will try the Cervical first.

    Thanks again ya'll

    Devon

     
    Old 07-23-2009, 07:14 PM   #10
    Devon07
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    Re: Cervical or Thoracic?

    Im still trying to figure this out...Im in pain and cant think straight!...I have pain meds but wont take them because they dont touch the pain....Im fighting for a disco on my neck when I feel as though it should be for my thoracic area....I do have the thoracic pain while the arm is not even being used....the pain is very sharp when I lean into it and seems to be right at the rt scapula or just a bit lower........I have no arm pains at all.


    My thoracic MRI reads.....

    There is a 1.5 cm round focus of increased T1 and T2 signal which drops out on ....bla bla bla...basically says most likely represents lipoma. otherwise, there is normal stature, alignment, and signal of the thoracic vertebral bodies and intervertebral discs. The thoracic cord is normal in appearance. There is a very small left paracentral dics bulge at T8-9 which minimally indents the anterior thecal sac and results in minimal central canal narrowing. No neural foraminal narrowing at this or ant other level. No other disc herniations or evidence of central canal narrowing.

    1. Small left paracentral disc bulge at T8-9 results in minimal narrowing of the central canal. no neural foraminimal narrowing.
    2. 1.5cm lipoma in the vertebral body.




    The ones in my neck basically say small herniations.


    Why do I hurt so bad??....can anyone see a reason with the info provided?

    Last edited by Devon07; 07-23-2009 at 07:15 PM.

     
    Old 07-24-2009, 10:08 AM   #11
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    Re: Cervical or Thoracic?

    Devon, I really think you are going to be eating steak after getting the discogram. Order a tenderloin for me . Really though, I had no arm pain, pain in the exact spot you mention (between spine and shoulder blade) and it was sharp, piercing pain that would hit a 9/10 daily. I also could not even think straight. It also radiated around to my chest when it got really bad. My MRI showed only bulging discs, but when I got the discogram, it showed that 3 discs were torn, and C5-6 was completely torn open and most of the disc material had just spilled out. When they injected the dye it just flowed right out of the disc immediately. I had no neck discomfort at all until after my surgery.

    I did get a thoracic MRI because of the chest pain, but everything was perfectly normal.

    The only thing I don't know about is the swelling. Is it possible that you have a couple of things going on? You could have cervical issues and some muscle issues as well that are causing swelling.

     
    Old 07-24-2009, 11:06 AM   #12
    Devon07
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    Re: Cervical or Thoracic?

    Thanks for the input Toonces1....I really dont think I have two issues but wont rule it out because Im always wrong...lol

    I had my car wreck in 07 and couldnt get surgery until 08 on my lumbar and its taken this long to get anywhere on the Thoracic/Cervical....Ive had the swelling off and on since...therapy aggrevates it and makes it worse....I feel like the muscle is mad from something else, if that makes any sence....Ive had my share of muscle pains in the past and this isnt muscle problems directly....Im 90% sure its thoracic but since I have to deal with workers comp I will go there route.

    Devon

     
    Old 10-24-2009, 06:35 PM   #13
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    Re: Cervical or Thoracic?

    I will give an update to maybe help others.....

    I never got the neck disco but did get a new MRI and a CT Scan....The MRI said it was my Thoracic T8 fracture & heniation and I also had a cyst 2.2cm that was pressing against some nerves in the same area.....I will see my doc this Wednesday to see what we will do....he needs to read my CT scan w/contrast. It's getting worse week by week......I dont even know my options yet....I will post my results.


    DEVON

     
    Old 10-25-2009, 09:06 AM   #14
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    Re: Cervical or Thoracic?

    Hi Devon, I did not read over all the posts so forgive me if I repeat anything that was already said. Like Toonces I had no neck pain, not til right before surgery anyway with my cervical problems. I did have chest & rib pain that would be more thoracic symptoms. yet my T area according to MRIs looks fine. I have the lumbar herniations to. I really think when it comes to the spine the pain & symptoms can be deceiving. I have midback pain now & neck pain after my cervical fusion.
    Recently I had a doctor make a comment to me during my EMG, he stated we are not all wired the same & that has really stuck with me. From the beginning my problems where more in the chest & rib area then proceeded to include the other areas. Every doctor thought thoracic but it was the C & L areas. Till this day I wonder if something will come up in the Thoracic area but for now nothing shows. I dont think MRIs show everything there is going on in there & I would not rule that cerival out yet if I were you. Theres been a few on this board that displayed symptoms you would not think would come from the cervical but thats indeed where the problems were found.
    Either way its the not knowing that gets to you, so I wish the best of luck. Sammy

     
    Old 10-25-2009, 06:17 PM   #15
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    Re: Cervical or Thoracic?

    Hi Sammy.
    I have a small disc protrusion at C5-6 without any neurologic impingement....I still think something is not right there, but with all the damage to my thoracic area it still makes me think this is where the pain is. They found three cysts/tumors and one is in an area of nerves that could create my pains as well as the T-8 herniation/fracture.....so I guess we will see what the CT Scan brings to the table on Wednesday.

    When I had My MVA I had great impact at the thoracic level....but it went through the whole body so it can be anywhere I guess.....I'm not sure this ole body will ever get much better.

    Thanks for the heads up.

    Devon

     
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