Mid back pain, that is pain felt in and around the thoracic spine, was self-reported by 86% (n=166 of 194) people who completed the Chronic Back Pain in America 2015 survey sponsored by SpineUniverse.com. Similar to other survey responders, these patients indicated they have been living with chronic mid pack pain for at least 3 months.
Table 6 (below) reflects the feedback from 186 participants. Here SpineUniverse reports on different nonsurgical treatments patients used/tried to help reduce their mid back pain, and therapies that were found to be ineffective.
The majority of physicians who prescribed pain medications were pain management specialists (45%, n=62) and primary care physicians (36%, n=49). Orthopaedic surgeons (4%, n=6), neurosurgeons (4%, n=6), and physiatrists (6%, n=8) were other physician categories that prescribed pain drugs.
Surgeon Recommended Surgery to Treat Mid Back Pain
Compared to patients who received a recommendation for neck or low back/sacral surgery, the number of thoracic patients was much lower. Here, 11% (n=20 of a total of 186) reported, “ever having mid back surgery,” while 14% (n=26) indicated their doctor recommended surgery to treat chronic mid back pain. About 15% (n=4 of 26) indicated they underwent another thoracic surgery to revise a previous procedure.
Types of spine specialists who recommended thoracic surgery, included:
Table 7 (below) recaps the surgical procedures surgeons recommended. Keep in mind that a spine surgery may include more than one procedure and/or approach. There were 26 patients who responded to this question.
Again, of the 26 patients, 39% (n=10) sought a second opinion, while 31% (n=8) did not because they trust their doctor’s recommendation. Another 31% (n=8) did not seek a second opinion for “other” reasons. Table 8 (below) details the type of spine specialist patients consulted with for a second opinion.
Revisiting the 10 survey respondents who sought a second opinion, who did they choose to perform their thoracic surgery? Almost 57% (n=15) decided against having surgery, while 36% (n=9) went with the first surgeon, and 7% (n=2) selected the second opinion surgeon.