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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

actually, most of us suffer from lower back issues, upper back is more rare. There are only a few of us here with cervical issues and even a smaller number with BOTH cervical and lumbar. I also think there is like two with Thoracic issues. ANYWAY-the arm and hand issues could be from the cervical or thoracic levels. I have pain from my bra strap up to the base of my head. I have been diagnosed with a small bulging disc at C5-6, cervical spondylosis (arthritis), loss of normal lordosis (curve of the neck) and a pinched nerve that was causing my pain in my left arm. I had a transforaminal cervical epideral injection and after a month my left arm symptoms and pain went away. Unfort. it seems to be returning. I get pains near the first rib, at the shoulder joint then of course down the arm and on my shoulder blade and between the ribs. My muscles are in constant spasm. It is not fun and I was told by my dr that there is no guaranteed treatment for this condition since the disc isn't bad. I will treat this with medications, therapy, traction, etc..BUT, my lumbar spine comes first.
When all this happened (all of a sudden on July 15) my back pain started to return a month before. I had a surgery on it two years prior at L5-S1 and my L4-5 was Degenerating at the time too. So, we did an MRI of this as well and it showed a small bulge at L4-5, and L5-S1, each had DDD, I had a spur, a tear and spondy there as well. Oh-I had an EMG by the way to diagnose the pinched nerve at C5-6.
I had one epideral injection at the lumbar level and it did not help me at all. So, we then decided a discogram would be good to see if my pain was caused by the discs. It was. So, on Dec 15 I had a two level 360 (anterior/posterior) Lumar Interbody Fusion. I am doing well and the pain I had before surgery is gone. In fact, it occured to me this morning, that all the pain I would have when I wake up in the am at my lower back WAS GONE! I used to wake up whining and needing my low back rubbed before I could even get up, it was really bad if I slept for over eight hours. Well, today I slept for nearly eleven, and no pain!
I think I got off track. Anyway, find a dr who will listen to you. Ask about the MRI and go from there. We are all very happy to help others out. I of course, am not pushing the thought of surgery by any means, I just wanted to show you my story a little. I truly wish you the best with all of this and hope you can find a dr who will listen to YOU.
Hi all! In short, yes a herniation in the thoracic spine could be causing the symptoms you are describing. But, a problem in the cervical could also cause similar symptoms. For me the diferance is the BURNING pain in the middle of the back between the shoulder blades. No pain medication seems to help with that area. I've had a fusion in cervical and in thoracic and am scheduled for a second cervical surgery in two weeks. The thoracic area is definately the toughest to treat and most surgeons won't go there. You need to find a surgeon who specialises in the thoracic area. Good luck, Monty.
Hi, I had a L4-L5 fusion, but at the time my pain began (8 months or so ago) I complained of 2 painful places, 1 being lower back and the other about 2 inches below the bra strap area. My dr pretty much blammed everything on the lower back and has totally blown off the upper one (he said it was a muscle issue due to "carrying" the lower back). Maybe this is true, and the lower spine is the worst pain, but seeing people on here discuss the thorasic (is 2 inches below bra strap even thorasic??) makes me curious if there could be issues there too.

I wonder why that gets ignored. My lumbar has been x-rayed and mrid til it glows, but I don't think the thorasic has ever been looked at.

Just realized my reply offers no advice, but just a bit of "me-too". :wave:
I also had a fusion about 17 weeks ago and from the very beginning have complained of the burning pain at my bra line and since then I have also had some numbess and pain in my left arm. This issue had not been addressed yet, because at the time I was having more pain in the lumbar area, so my neuro wants to wait until the lumbar is better, which I have not gotten relief from yet. Problem is the thoracic pain is getting worse by the day.

Sorry I don't have any solutions, just a similar problem.
Best of luck,
Thanks all for the info. It sounds like a place that nobody wants to mess with.I also get that burning pain in that area.I have told my docs. everytime I go in for my low back I even told them when I had my last diskogram that as long as they were making me miserable that they should check it too.But they never have.I'm looking at a new ns. for a second op.and the nurse called yesterday and when I told her she said they can only look at one part at a time. Everything is conected so that makes no sense to me.I'm 15 months post-op from my fusion for l4/5 s1 and it's not working the pain is horriable,I can't work or take care of my family and now my upper back is killing me as well.does anyone think that since the lower wont get better that the upper has had so much strain that it is just falling apart too?
history.degenerative disk disease, I-det surgery,fuson l4/5 w/cage tried cortisone,prolotherapy,lidocaine shots, accupuncture, pt 5x, last pt. was for 7 months strait.I've had these problems for 20 yrs. Very horriable for the last 3 1/2.
Thanks all comments welcome.Heather
Hi Heather, :wave:
I have a burning pain in the middle of my back between the shoulder blades. I had an MRI done and found I have a herniated T8-9 and a large bone spur on T9-10.I have several buldging discs in the cervical area and had fusion surgery on C6-7. I also have DDD and spondylosis in the cervical and thoracic regions. I see a pain management doctor and I am taking methadone for the pain, neurotin for the burning pain, and zanaflex for muscle spasms. The neurotin really helps, I'm up to 1200 mgs a day.
I hope this helps and may you have a better day :bouncing:
Goodmorning all,Last night was the 1st. time I've slept all night I still feel awful pain wise,but I feel pretty good mentally,sleep is a wonderful thing.My pm.doc added fexeril to my pharmacy of meds.for all the muscle spasms in my back boy did it knock me out!
To answer your questions no I've never had mri, or x-rays on my upper back,everything is has been done on my lower.Docs just ignore it,I just wonder if the 2 are connected since my lower back is so scerwed up?
Barbra-goodluck with your I-det I had one 2 yrs.ago so you have my prayers for success!
As far as using a towel and going backwards I cannot do that at all, when I move backwards the pain is so horriable that I just about scream and that is right where my fusion is!!!!Which travels to my groin,hips,and down my legs,I haven't walked without limping since this last fusion of course my ns says all x-rays,and ct,look normal and there is nothing eles that he can do!Even my pm doc thinks something isn't right although he quite careful about how he phrases things wich is part of the reason I think something is wrong.Now as far as bending forward I ca do this but it's very painful and then whenI try to get back up it takes a min.or so to get there because of the amount of pain.Anyone have same kind of problem?Let me know!

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