Thoracic Herniations at Every Level
I'm 35, have never had an accident or traumatic injury, and the only bone I've ever broken was my thumb while playing volleyball. As a child I was frequently monitored for scoliosis that was mild and apparently only needed to be monitored.
In 2008 I started having back problems, mainly lower back and leg & foot issues. Had a lumbar MRI revealing herniations, thecal sac compression, mild stenosis, etc. Began PT and improved so quickly I unfortunately stopped PT. Almost exactly 1 year later I had recurring symptoms, saw a specialist, had another lumbar MRI and there were not any changes reported from the previous year. I did an injection, completed 3 1/2 months of PT, and was fine for 18 months. :-)
My back went out again in January 2011, which was accompanied with extreme hip pain (worse at the top in the iliac crest region and radiating down through thigh) when lying down/sleeping. The type of pain that wakes you up every 2-3 hours, regardless of stretches, pain killers, etc. Saw the spine specialist again, another lumbar MRI was done which apparently had somewhat worsened, had a Hip MRI that didn't reveal anything explaining the pain. Moved forward with the microdiscectomy, having been instructed it will likely help the hip pain as well.
I've been through the system of surgeon, physiatrist, 5 + months of PT, injections, etc. Note my lateral hip area is swollen, oddly shaped, asymemtric with my right, and has a hard thick strand like thing in the front of the swollen area. PT expressed concern over that, and thoracic pain I had only since surgery. Neither was ever examined, treated, tested, etc. They did injections for bursitis when the MRI report explicitly says I do not have bursitis.
Went to see another neuro, who did a series of things, including ordering a thoracic MRI. Got the report back and it revealed that there are herniations at EVERY thoracic level. most are mild, with "mild to moderate cord compression." 4 are "moderate to servere" and 1 is "severe". It says in the report that it is likely due to degenerative disc disease and schmorl's nodes. 1 of the disks also has a perineural cyst. Also it mentions some nerve related issues T10-T12 - looking at a nerve diagram those nerves appear to run over...the iliac crest region and lateral thigh. So that may explain the pain there - finally.
After spending time doing some research, it seems very odd to had thoracic pain, and even more odd to have thoracic pain accompanied by symptomatic herniations. The reported ones tend to be lower and upper thoracic - the worse ones for me are: T4-T10, with the worse one being T6T7. I still have several lumbar herniations, as a result of surgery the most severe one was L4-L5 that is now "only" causing moderate compression...it was severe prior to surgery.
While I'll partially dismiss some of the mild thoracic hernition as "incidental findings" but am very concerned with that there doesn't seem to be any other reported cases.
What on earth could cause so many herniations throughout one's lumbar and thoracic spine? They claim that the degenerative disc disease is "mild".
I'm seeing the neuro and a new physiatrist next week but am so bewildered as I've seen nothing else like it in my research. Would appreciate and advice, input, etc.