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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

Spinal Cord Disorders Board Index


The good folks on the Back Problems board said that this was the place for thoracic issues, so I had some questions. First, I have had increasing thoracic back pain for the past few years. I will try to describe the pain, as well as ask about my recent MRI.

I am a 47 year old male. I get pain in my mid to upper back. This pain is a bit different as it isn't really a sore feeling, or the classic sciatic pain that you get in your low back and leg if you have those problems, it's more of a burning, raw sensation that is not surface, but deep. I almost picture in my mind's eye a "bone on bone" thing. The pain seems to travel around to my chest, my sternum feel sore, but not to touch. I have an aching/burning sensation on my xyphoid process, as well as what can be best described as a deep burning or raw sensation in two fixed locations on my chest. These areas are about 3 inches below either side of my collar bone, or about halfway between my nipples and collarbone. It feels like the pain is deep and not superficial.

If I lay on a hard surface with a heat back wadded up and put directly under my mid back, that seems to help. I also get a fair amount of pain throughout my chest when I stretch or twist, as well as pain radiating throughout my abdomen, the abdomen especially when getting up in the morning. I have tried all kinds of acid reflux meds to rule out any connections, and I've had my share of heart tests. The pain gets especially bad when I am standing for any length of time in one spot, say at a counter, or after sitting for too long. However it seem to lessen considerably when I lay down.

With that said, here is my rather unremarkable MRI results:

Technique: Multiplanar multisequence MR images of the thoracic spine
were obtained without contrast.
Findings: Alignment is within normal limits. The thoracic spinal cord
appears normal in signal intensity. The paravertebral soft tissues
are unremarkable.

C7-T1, unremarkable.
T1-2, unremarkable.
T2-3, tiny posterior central disc protrusion. Otherwise, unremarkable.
T3-4, small posterior central disc protrusion. Minimal canal
narrowing. No foraminal stenosis.
T4-5, mild facet arthropathy. Otherwise, unremarkable.
T5-6, mild facet arthropathy.
T6-7, tiny posterior right paracentral disc protrusion. Otherwise,
T7-8, mild facet arthropathy.
T8-9, mild facet arthropathy.
T9-1,0, minimal disc bulge. Mild facet arthropathy. Otherwise,
T10-11, mild facet arthropathy.

T11-T12, mild facet arthropathy.
T12-L1, unremarkable.

There are small anterior osteophytes at the thoracic spine.


Mild multilevel degenerative disc disease, facet arthropathy, and
anterior osteophytosis at the thoracic spine. No cord impingement. No
foraminal stenosis or canal stenosis.

So, am I barking up the wrong tree with my back, or can someone with a result like this still have considerable pain? Given the fact I was lying down for the MRI, and that is when I feel the least pain, could this factor into it?

Thanks for any input.

Regards, Brenden.

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