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  • T9 & T10 Thoracic Spine Issues

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    Old 09-26-2014, 03:49 PM   #1
    jpchefzgirl
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    T9 & T10 Thoracic Spine Issues

    Hi! I'm new to the boards...I have a few questions as I have no idea what is going on with my back.
    I had an MRI 2 years ago and didn't really think too much about it until now. I am getting ready for my disability hearing coming up in November and my attorney mentioned that my MRI showed flattening of my thoracic spinal canal. This was the first I had heard anything about this!!
    I have Mixed Connective Tissue Disease, Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis (hip replacement already at age 40) and I'm sure a few others I am forgetting...anyway...to get to my question...

    It showed Mild Degenerative changes. At the T4 & T5 level a tiny right paracentral disc protrusion just abuts the spinal cord ALSO at T9 & T10 level a small right paracentral disc protrusion contributes to mild flattening of the anterior margin of the spinal cord.

    So...does anyone have any idea what this means??
    I do remember my rheumatologist mentioning this a year or so ago...she said that if I didn't have surgery on my back that it could end up causing permanent damage and could lead to paralysis. Is this true? I'm asking now because I am getting a lot of pain in my mid back lately and it's affecting my legs as well. I also have a lot of urinary issues. No bowel issues though!

    Thank you so much for any and all input!!!

     
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    Old 09-26-2014, 05:56 PM   #2
    jpchefzgirl
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    Re: T9 & T10 Thoracic Spine Issues

    I just wanted to add, I am not asking for medical advise or diagnosis... I am just wanting to know mainly if anyone else has had similar issues and how they are doing?? I understand that this board is no substitute for medical advise and I am going to consult with my ortho...but just wanted to know if someone knows what this means...

     
    Old 09-27-2014, 05:12 PM   #3
    ChuckStr
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    Re: T9 & T10 Thoracic Spine Issues

    You have a disk herniation at T4/T5 that is just touching your spinal cord and another at T9/T10 pushing on and flattening your spinal cord "mildly" according to the report. In general, studies suggest that the cord must be compressed about 30% before symptoms appear but there is considerable individual variability. I have less compression than that at C5/C6 and do have some mild symptoms.

    If the compression is causing your symptoms, and from your description it sounds like it may be, that is pretty serious. Bladder problems are a red flag symptom for myelopathy which can have long lasting/permanent symptoms and may worsen. If your ortho is a fellowship trained spine specialist I would see him as soon as you can. If he is not, I would recommend follow-up as soon as possible with a fellowship trained spine specialist (either ortho or neurosurgeon that specializes only in spines). If you are considering surgery, getting more than 1 opinion (from both an ortho and neurosurgeon spine specialist for instance) can be helpful, not only in deciding on surgery, but in seeing a wider array of surgical options as well.

    Your spine specialist may or may not recommend surgery. As I said, I have cord compression at C5/C6 also mild. The consensus of the spine specialists I consulted was PT and watchful waiting was indicated. That's what I've done and so far, 6 months later I'm doing ok. I still have some minimal symptoms that I'm guessing are related to the compression, but no "red-flag" symptoms. In my case, I have arthritis causing the compression which isn't going to go away on it's own, although PT has helped stabilize and strengthen the muscles around my spine which is probably keeping the arthritis from progressing. In your case, with a herniation, it is possible that it could heal on it's own. Your spine specialist will be able to help you pick the correct treatment. Good luck and let us know how it goes...

     
    Old 09-29-2014, 06:02 PM   #4
    jpchefzgirl
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    Re: T9 & T10 Thoracic Spine Issues

    Thank you so much for your response! I can't tell you how much I appreciate your input. Unfortunately, I do not have insurance currently and am waiting to go to my disability hearing in November. I am hoping to be approved, my attorney is optimistic (but aren't they all).
    I do remember reading somewhere that they don't like to operate on the thoracic spine because the space is so small between the spine and spinal cord. Surgery right now isn't really an option since I am waiting to see if I'm approved for disability and then Medicare probably around this spring.
    I admit, I am a bit nervous because of my bladder issues but there really isn't anything I can do at this point besides educate myself as much as I can.

    Thanks again,
    Tina

     
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