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Thoracic Disc Disease

Please help me. My MRI revealed Thoracic Degenerative Disc Disease most pronounced in lower to mid segments. Posterior Disc Osteophyte @ T7-8 through T12-L1. Everytime I look up Thoracic Degenerative Disc Disease is says herniated disc. Is this true? I'm so confused. My Dr. says, there is nothing significant to my MRI. I'm so frustrated and in so much pain. Please help!
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242516 tn?1368223905
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Osteophytes are extra bone growths that can pinch nerves, but don't necessarily.  If your doctor says there's nothing significant they're saying that there's no impingement (pinching) of any nerves to be the reason for your pain.  A visit to a physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor could help.
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Avatar universal
HAVE THEM DO A MILOGRAM....PAINFUL BUT IT PINPOINTED MY PAIN AND I HAD EMERGENCY SURGERY ON MY LOWER BACK THIS MARCH. I HAVE RAPID DEGENERATIVE DISC DISEASE...DIAGNOSED AT 18.  I AM 31 AND HAVE SUFFERED FOR 13 YEARS.  

GOOD LUCK AND KEEP ON THE DOCTORS...IF I DIDN'T I WOULD STILL BE IN SO MUCH PAIN.
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Avatar universal
Doctors often seem to forget that their precious MRI's are mere shadows, and usually not even taken when the patient is in an upright position. MRI's for instance do NOT show nerves very clearly, or at all most of the time. At best, they look for "indicators" that a nerve "may be" pinched. It's like using a shadow puppet on the wall to determine if someone has arthritis in their hands. It would be irresponsible for a doctor to tell you the patient that you do NOT have any nerves being pinched, based on an MRI. When they tell you your MRI has nothing signficicant, he or she is suppose to be smart enough to know it merely means the very incomplete, shadowy pictures taken not of your nervous system but of fragments of your system, merely means nothing was revealed. And that it is likely nothing was revealed because of shortcomings of modern medicine and testing, because your pain is real and it exists for a reason. Because they can't find the reason does not give them the right to say there is no reason related to your nerves. Pain ALWAYS comes from nerves. I don't say that in a criticizing way (about medicinal shortcomings) but I do say it in a criticizing way (that most doctors would "have you believe" there's nothing wrong with your spine/nerves). Another factor is that there seems to be no consistency from one radiologist to the next. One radiologist will say "impingeing on thecal sac" whereas another may leave that statement out entirely! So the same doctor reading two differently, apparantly subjectively worded MRI reports of the same films, will have two very different actionable (or in-actionable, as it were) reactions. The thing about docs is all day long they see you and I come and go and like any human in any profession, it gets easy to do (treat) the easy to understand cases, and not worth the time to figure out the others. Blown out disc...obliterated central canal...Ah ha! But "unremarkable" MRI, well, you're on your own. Not to downtalk doctors, they can be great, but in all actuality, short of surgery, the treatments are all the same anyway, and that's because there really aren't any medical treatments, at least none that are commensurrate with the price we pay for diagnosis and treatment. Go home and stretch, and take a pain pill. Same thing they were doing in the 1800's except now it costs you $10,000 for that "treatment & advice." Doctors truly do have the extraordinary amount of knowledge and skill...but just not enough to deal with spine injuries that don't reveal themselves as surgical candidates very readily. Besides, surgery is the next worst thing to the pain, since it's a cr&% shoot as to if it'll help, or make things worse. To answer your question...degen. disc disease includes dehydration, calcification, thinning, bulging, etc., and is more likely part of a general spinal degen. whereby the vertebre too become differently shaped and composed. It's actually a normal process albeit one which can have an early onset in the cases of injury, genetics, or as in my case, genetics and working extremely physically hard with heavy weights all my life. Yes, it isn't fair for some radiologist, of whom by the way are now often being replaced by people off the street who took sometimes very short courses, to say "mild, unremarkable, nothing significant" merely because of the mood they were in that day or because the tests are woefully inadequate or because we aren't tested in the physical positions that reproduce the condition or "pinching" of nerves, while we then have to go on feeling like organs and extremities, and our very lives, are failing. Keep the chin up though...modern medicine offers up surgery, and then everything short of surgery, including rehab, heat, vibration, ultrasonic, e-stim, traction, rest, braces, message therapy, cold packs, chiropracty, medicines, etc. One must learn to be manipulative of all the tools available to find the best combination for the most pain releif while conserving the most active lifestyle as possible. On top of all that, I'm beginning to learn one of the most valuable tools is in allowing our brains to adapt to new levels of pain so as to retain as much sanity and mental health and physical endurance as possible.

Paul T.
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Avatar universal
I also have lost some faith in doctors,,,until i find the right one.. my family doc has made me beg for a neurologist,,,and made me feel like i'm nut...the question is why the heck would someone fabricate pain.. not i thats for sure....  from an injury at work has onset ddd.. and daily living with pain at 34... and beleive like you massage,heat,tension and is a here you go ..see ya next week...i'm not presently working since oct and my company has scratch me off..a risk...their lost...they took  9yrs of my health, wont let them take my mind.. very true about mri,ct scans... your laying flat and thats not when it hurts...unless we all worked on r backs we'd be ok....hahaha
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1043790 tn?1297004644
I have dengenerating discs both above & below T8. On a daily basis it affects me most at 5-7am when sleep becomes very painful, with all the pain spreading left and right across the ribs. I love hot showers, eases the pain as the bolld starts flowing again, sets me up for the day. This has been a problem for me for 3-4 years and I'm only 40 years old.

I have been seeing a chinese back doctor for 18 months once a week for treatment which IMO is better than any hospital can offer. He also gives me exercises to do. I have seen a lot of improvenment when there is not alot that can really be done according to the hospitals.

He says the problem is not necessarily the discs but more to do with the tendons being too taught and clamping the spine together in that area. His focus is on softening up the tendons which I think is a great approach and gives me hope.



Helpful - 0
1043790 tn?1297004644
Wow, swimming really helps. I'm amazed.

I'm not a good swimmer and don't enjoy it so much but the pain disappears for a 3-8 hours after just 100-200m of freestyle. I'm in the pool every day now.
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Avatar universal
In January 2008 I was diagnosed with mid thoracic disc degenerative disease, all beit mild. I have been chewing panadeine forte like lollies just to get through my days and nights since, I now have Liver problems as a consequence.
I have just been discharged from a hospital after spending 15 days as a patient. I had CT Scans and they came back with normal findings.
I had to endure a Physician who clearly didnt believe me, nor a Pain Specialist either. And then a Shrink for 2 hours because they decided I needed to see him.
I now find myself at home, still in pain, however I am wearing a slow release patch, taking Gabapentin and Deloxetine.
I ramaged through all my old scans and clearly found the letters that diagnosed me back in January 2008.
And surprise surprise there it is in black and white.
My question is this "Am I mad, Since when does a degenerative disorder disappear ?
I feel I want to take the previous scans and rub it in there faces.
I am angry, confused, and still in pain.
Please help
Jodes
Helpful - 0
1043790 tn?1297004644
You are not mad and I doubt the degenerative disorder will ever disappear completely - but you have to have hope that things can improve without pills and doctors.

The doctor I seen tried to talk my out of having an MRI, saying "it will likely be a waste of your money because nothing ever shows up in the mid back". I said "I don't care, something is wrong, I can feel it" and practically begged for an MRI.

I got my way and was called back into the doctors office 15 minutes after the scan. The doctors said "you'd best see a specialist about this problem" so I got 3 opinions.

I had good advice from 2 doctors but so far, nothing has helped me more than helping myself.

I can definitely recommend trying different exercises for a relief.

I have an inversion table for hanging upside down from my feet to relieve my lower back pain. 2 mins enough.

Its the opposite for my mid back, I use my hands to hang from a monkey bar to relieve my mid back pain. 30 secs enough.

I find the weight machine that is designed to put weight down to behind my neck helps my mid back alot too. 20 reps enough

Swimming helps both mid and lower back but I really notice the instant relief in the mid back. 200m or 10 minutes enough.

Give it a go, you have nothing to lose
Helpful - 0
1043790 tn?1297004644
Swimming is a great natural painkiller, the best by far and must be healthier than taking pain killers and anti-inflammatories.

I still have a problem and pain always returns within 36 hours guaranteed, so its never going to improve, but its possibly not getting worse??? so I'm looking at the surgery option.  

Found this really good explantion

http://www.eorthopod.com/content/thoracic-disc-herniation
Helpful - 0

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