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Disc Protrusion at T7-T8......Help PLZ, IM BEGGING YOU

Started by 741442070@facebook on 07/11/2013 1:18pm

It has been one year now, since the pain between my shoulder blades had started......It has been so frustrating it took 9 months for Dr.'s to figure what was causing me the problem.......unfortunately the Thoracic MRI was the last thing checked.......so im 99.999% sure this is the root of my PAIN...........my symptoms: When i wake up in the mornings it rarely hurts......so as i go through the day the (SCREWDRIVER PAIN) STARTS and worsens everyday the more i walk, sit, and especially use my arms............all my muscles knot up around the bad part of spine,sometimes all way up to my neck.......and feels like someone is squeezing my RIGHT ARM OFF AT THE ARMPIT..............I SAW a neurosurgeon yesterday.....(i have had everything else possible done BTW..) BUT the MRI shows a CENTRAL/LEFT protrusion at T7-T8 impinging on Thecal SAC...) BUT since all my pain is just off to right side of spine and right arm.........HE SAYS it don't make sense how my pain is on right side and not LEFT......................IM BEGGING OF ANYONE WHO READS THIS AND IS A ORTHO/NEURO...TO GIVE ME SOME INSITE........PLZ IM RUNNING OUTTA OPTIONS AND ALMOST READY TO PUT A BULLET INTO MY SPINE THERE........

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I have the same diagnosis, only mine's one level higher. I have been told that thee's no surgery for this. I have all the same symptoms too. Nothing helps me, other than laying on my back and lots of ice. Pain meds don't bring much relief. Let me know how you're doing. It's not a common injury, and not much info out there.

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LIKE what have you done, any special procedures??????? plz let me know more.....thanks.

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Wyatt, I've had trigger point injections, P.T., and Epidural steroid injections. Like you, I got no relief at all with any of them. I have 5 ruptures in the T-spine, the worst being T.6,7. I know exactly what you mean by the "screwdriver" type pain, mine also wraps around the right side of my rib cage. What I also wanted to say is, even though my discs (all but T.8,9 which is ruptured to the left) are ruptured to the right, I also have pain going into my LEFT shoulder blade down to the elbow.
I've had my lumbar fused at two levels, and C-spine at one level. The C-spine injury happened at the same time as the thoracic injury, and I believe that was why it was so difficult for the Dr.'s to figure out what all was causing my symptoms. It wasn't until after the C-spine fusion, when my original pain was still present (pain between the shoulder blades, upper back, and all around my rib cage on the right), that the surgeon ordered a thoracic M.R.I.. (Have you had a cervical M.R.I. to rule out problems there? You may have more than one thing going on at the same time as I did.)
As with you, I have no thoracic back pain when I wake, but just being up, walking, standing, even sitting, the pain gets worse, and if I use my arm/hands, the pain gets so bad it hurts to breathe (I gave up driving due to the pain about two years ago). I'm currently taking Percocet, Gabapentin, and a muscle relaxer, but it does nothing unless I lay on my back, which must take the pressure of the spinal cord. My surgeon said there's nothing he can do at this point (I'll find out what exactly he meant by that next time I see him), and that the pain will continue to get worse. Like I said, the ONLY thing, that brings relief, is laying on my back with a dose of meds, but the meds alone do nothing. I'm really, REALLY worried about what the hell I'm going to do when laying on my back doesn't bring any relief.
I'm sorry I don't have any answers for you. I certainly didn't want to hear that the pain would get worse, but I did ask, and the surgeon told me. I'm to the point now, that I only leave the house to go to the Dr. as being "up" for more than an hour or so starts that burning/stabbing pain. ( All this from shoveling snow and running a snow blower for 4 hrs 2 1/2 yrs ago.)
I've started the SSDI process. I'm only just now filling out the papers, but it's very slow going as sitting, with my head at an angle, using my hands starts that blinding pain, and I can only sit there for about 15-30 mins before I have to lay on my back. Even sitting in a recliner for any length of time has become painful.
I'm still under the care of a surgeon. I don't know when (if ever), I'll be leaving his care. Like I said, I don't know at what stage he'll do surgery, I guess when he can guarantee surgery will help more than harm. (Most days I'm willing to take that risk, but that's the pain talking).
I have read of people (3 or 4) having surgery at the T.7-8 level, all with varying degrees of success.
Please keep me up to date on what been done for you, and I'll do the same.
Looking forward to hearing from you. Take care. :)

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Wyatt,

I have the same diagnosis as you, disc protrusion at T7-T8 with spinal cord compression. My problem started in May, 2013. I was misdiagnosed for 6 months with bulging discs. PT, steroid shots, and medication was ordered. A Neurosurgeon discovered the protrusion at T7-T8 and referred me to the neurosurgery dept at Rush University in Chicago. Went there for a consultation and they agreed to perform the minimal invasive tube surgery. Only problem was the surgery would cost $80K and my insurance would only pay 50/50 going out of network. I'm not rich so that was out. The pain is so great I can't even explain. Lost a job I love in December for exceeding medical leave time. Almost lost my wife of 25 years as we separated for 10 months. Moved in with my mother. Had to sell our house to help pay medical expenses. I'm a veteran so started going to the VA hospital for treatment. They keep me supplied with meds but they can't do any surgery. Too risky they say. My wife and I just returned from LSI in Tampa FL. Not sure if I'm a candidate until I have a CT Myelogram done due to MRI showing a mass or something in my spinal cord. We're on medicaid until first of the year so not sure if there's an obamacare plan so I can go out of network.

Just wanted to share my story with you. You was talking about putting a bullet in your spine, I think about that everyday as well. Or even my head sometimes. I feel like I'm isolated with this pain. Pain scale 1-10 stays around 9 all the time. Good luck with your situation. Maybe with all the technology in the world they'll come up with something soon to help us. God bless.

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I had a herniated disc at T11-12 which occured while in the military. I received a medical discharge as the surgeon wouldn't touch it do to the location. I fought with the pain for 10 years before finding a great Neurosurgeon that could perform the fusion. Thoracic surgery is rare which is why even on this website it is hard to find good info. from what I was told and after trying multiple surgeons the surgery is of higher risk and more involved compared to Cervical and Lumbar surgeries. The surgeon made it clear to me that he could not guarantee the surgery would fix my pain but should not make it any worse. The safest approach for him was to go in via my left side using XLIF procedure. He had to deflate my left lung in order to properly access the area and then fused T11-12. This procedure required a 5 day stay in the critical care unit until my lung was functioning properly and the drain tube was removed. I was not allowed to lift anything for a month and didn't start PT until about 4 months post op and the PT was to strengthen my lower back. I was out of work for two months. Luckily for me the surgery worked and I felt a lot better. This lasted for a few years but then started having simular pains again. Had MRI done and T-7, T-8 and T-9 have minor protrusions now. He recommended that I try a spinal stimulator which I had implanted for about 9 months before having it removed as the nerves in my spine are apparently extremely sensitive. My surgeon wants me to see a Neurologist now that the wounds are healed from the removal of the stimulator to have a full work up done. EMG and other tests. I also have issues with arms and hands going numb randomly so even though the discs are not impinging the spinal cord he thinks they may be irritating the nerves. We shall see and good luck to all of you.. Thoracic pain is no fun and it is hard to find a good doctor that listens to you and wants to help resolve the problem and not just push meds..

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Oh, my gosh...I literally was sitting here crying saying the exact same words...please, I'm begging, help me. I have the EXACT same diagnosis for T7-T8 and was told the EXACT same thing about my pain having NOTHING to do with my herniation (or protrusion; whichever language the MRI doctor prefers). Like you I wake and I don't feel much, in fact my neck or lower back will hurt more 1st thing. Once I'm up and start using my arms...I never thought to call that pressing pain "screwdriver" pain...good description. Mine also radiates all the way around my chest and causes breathing and even talking to be so painful I just want to die. My muscles do the same with the tensing...I have always assumed the muscles are not only reacting to the herniation but also the nerves causing pain and the muscles become tense. I've even had my upper abdominal muscles "flutter" from spasms and my medical doctor did an Utra Sound to check the organs (of course, nothing wrong) but the neurosurgeon says it CANNOT be the herniation because it actually pushes to the left and all my pain is on the right. When I read your post it was like reading my own story Wyatt. I am also at my wit's end. I am not trying to push surgery or get more meds...at this point I am hoping that maybe the nerve block might work there; it didn't work in my cervical or lumbar, but I am willing to try ANYTHING at this point. I am also running out of options (like I said, your words mirror mine in so many ways). I've seen every doctor imaginable and they all say the same thing, the herniation cannot be causing the pain and they look to other health issues to blame. I keep saying isn't is possible that if nothing else is the answer, the obvious is the most probable reason; but doctor's don't like to be told they're wrong or don't know something. If you do find anyone, anywhere that has helped you as I see this post is older and I hope it is even read...Please contact me...PLEASE!!! I just took a look and it looks like you msgs cannot be sent through this site.... I am sure my email would be blocked if I typed it here; I am on facebook with this last name; first name Shannon. I beg if anyone can help .... knows a doctor .... I am willing to travel anywhere for help at this point. Thank you for listening. I figured since your words and thoughts mirror mine for the most part there's no point in repeating everything. stallamavis.....at .... aol.

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This is in response to Smcioch. I too have been diagnosed with disc protrusions in my thoracic spine. T6-9 and T2. It has taken over 15 yrs for me to finally get a proper diagnosis for my back pain only after undergoing three cervical surgeries. NONE OF THE CERVICAL procedures did anything for my pain. The final surgeon who performed my last cervical fusion, C4-7, told me I would have to learn to live with some pain. That was in 2009 . I simply couldn't give up as the pain was unbearable . Then just last November I was referred to a Dr who gave me my life back. He has pioneered a thoracic procedure( not surgery), along with the instruments to perform it. It's done on an outpatient basis with a two week recovery period. I would be thrilled to pass this info on to you or anyone who has this most difficult diagnosis. Plz let me know if anyone wants this info ... I cannot not begin to express my level of relief from this 45 minute procedure.

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Molly; obviously any information would be unequivocally appreciated! I believe you can contact me through a message on here or through my FaceBook. Thank you very much!!

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Hi Molly, I would really appreciate any information you could provide regarding the treatment you received.
I have the same problem and I'm looking for any help I can get.

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Hello Shannon and BevieU,
I have a great deal of information to share with u both. Too much for me to sit & type but will provide the name of the doc who can help u both. His name is Dr Robert Wright. His clinic is Denver Pain Management and u can research him online. I reside in FL and was willing to go ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD to find relief from this horrible pain. Fortunately I found Dr Wright & I would advise anyone with thoracic herniations to go see this doc. No surgery, just a procedure and a two week down time. Would love to speak to ya'll to tell u what he does. If there is anyway we could talk please let me know. In the meantime, check Dr Wright out. And go see him. I can't begin to say enough about this brilliant doc!

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I'm responding to bjeff0007.... If u are still searching for treatment I would like to ask u some questions regarding the $80k "tube surgery" u spoke of. Hopefully u will see this.

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Check out ADR support forum.com. There are some good people there, very aware and experienced, helpful. Good luck God Bless.

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I would love to know any information from this. I too am having the same issues. MRI shows a left buldge at T7-T8-T9 but pain is so bad on the right side from under the shoulder though my ribs. All the Dr will do is give me pain killers. I have had steroid shots, acupuncture, PT and massage and nothing helps. Days I wish i was dead instead!

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Wyatt,
I have had same thing for TWO years.I get Thoracic epidural and it KO's 75% of the pain for 6 months.
I have had 2 CERVICAL operations and TWO lumbar BIG ONES AND THEY DID NOT WORK!!!
I am STUPID for POWERLIFTING MY WHOLE ADULT LIFE>

HOPE YOU DID THE RIGHT THING>...............................................SHOTS then when they stop working get surgery

I would get surgery from NEURO GUY ONLY!!!!!

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Hello all,

I had a calcified disc pushing on my spinal cord at T6-T7. My legs were going numb and my neurosurgeon basically gave me two weeks to have it removed. I had an open thoracotomy with a spinal fusion. Probably the most painful surgery you can have because they do go in through the front (basically your side), expand your ribs, deflate your lung and then fuse the spine. The recovery is tough and about 10 days in the hospital, but I have absolutely no back pain. I do have some slight nerve damage from the surgery, but it's manageable. In case anyone is curious, I went to UT Southwestern in Dallas and they perform thoracic surgeries often. Good luck!

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Hi there. I see this was posted a while ago, but goggling disc protusion t7 t8 I found this.. because I just like you are at my absolute wits end.. and the first neuro I have seen said the same thing.. cant be the cause of the pain, bizzare symptoms.. in the 16 months since my car accident, tboned at high speed by a lead foot.. ive discovered you literally need to be your own doctor.. because no one will say definitively anything.. maybe its legalities idk.. right now im on pain patches.. norspan 10mg.. plus atriptalyn 25 mg. plus diazepam for the spasms and the anxiety surrounding flair ups, clinical settings, just general trauma from cheating death.. ive tried countless medications..mostly the side effects are why I stopped them, they were mostly targeted at nerve damage.. but hey no one will come right out and say, you've got nerve damage.. and like you my mri wasent done till months after I was investigated for everything elses but the impingment on my spinal cord.. I also believe ive got a undiagnosed TBI, dizziness, memory loss, slow processing, basically everyone who was close to me says ive changed.. they arnt being mean they just notice im not me anymore.. and that's before I finally caved to being on the heavy medications im on now.. the truth is I read so many stories of people cheated out of quality of life, they lose friends, family don't believe them, people throw their hands up, into the too hard basket..same with the medical profession.but with all I read, and sooo many people same symptoms etc there has to be something in it.. to rule out, "no that cant be the source of your pai" is simply ludicrious because no single person knows every possibility.. I think its fair to say enough people with same dramas needs a serious long term investigation.. every person is unique, so is their coping skills, physically and mentally.. not one person reacts to a death the same as another.. there may be simalarities and what we consider the normal scope of things, but there are also extreme variations either side of this.. enter us..
Ill admit this is the most articulate I have been in months.. I think im simply so frustrated that its pouring out of me.. this is what ive learnt, so far.. your journey.. you have to be proactive, you need good support, you need to find what works for you, you need to focus on achieving quality not a be all end all cure, experiment, ive tried dry needling, massage, hydrotherapy, psychologist ( im telling you most important component) they are amazing to have even one person believe in you can help you push on, ive wanted to die more times then I care to admit since this happened to me, reiki, listening to your body, your tired, rest, you have energy pains less, pace yourself. Hey I could go on, butseeing as I cant maintain any posture for longer then say fifteen, im hurting so its time to say bye.. anyone who wonts to thrash things out, im a great listener.. don't give up.. love and pain free moments I wish to you al.. xxx

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Hey fellow Tspine suffers
T7,8,9 central hernations here. With disc spacing irregularities throughout the Tspine. Also have cervical issues (hernations,Spurs,stenosis) having cervical fusion in a few days. I'm very concerned about my future. No body understands the pain...

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Hello! We moved to Utah from Washington D.C. in hopes of the drier climate improving my pain. I too have T7/T8 herniation's, among other pain issues. I'm focusing on this herniation since this is my greatest pain now. I had a successful C4-C6 fusion from a neurosurgeon in Austin, Dr. Annat Patel and would highly recommend him, but since I'm no longer in Texas, I'm searching for someone closer at the moment.
A lady from Florida (earlier in this chat) recommended Dr. Wright at Denver Pain Management and his "Radiofrequency Ablation Technique" for pain relief. I did a search and found a fellow who performs this in Ogden, Utah. I'm gonna look into this and I'll post my progress. The doctors name is Timothy Houden, btw.

Including the above, I also have a slight herniation at C7, several hemangiomas, migraine, and achiness from a S/I joint fusion I received last summer. I also had a spinal stimulator implanted a few months ago which isn't helping as much as I hoped. The tingling is ok for the first hour or so, then it's like "Chinese Water Torture". As soon as I turn it off, the pain returns. I chose the St. Jude Stimulator because they are working on a program that makes the tingling disappear while in use, and their programs can be uploaded without taking the stimulator out or another surgery. Normally, if feels like a TNS unit sensation. I'm sure everybody reading this knows what that is by now.

Since I'm 5'6" and 110lbs, the stimulation leads in my back are very close to the surface and will probably have to be removed to avoid breaking through my skin. We were concerned about the visibility of the unit on my thin physique and was told the battery pack in my glut and the two leads at my spine would not be visible. However they very much are visible. On the other hand, if I was getting pain relief, I would be fine with that. My doctor actually said I should have fat implanted by the leads! Crazy!
I hope some of this info helps others. The previous comments sure helped me. Thanks and I'll update soon.
Amy

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I have been following this thread and wondering if anyone has any updates. I had an L4/5 fusion in 2011. I was scheduled for C5/6 fusion but chickened out. I had been living in Maryland and was told moving to a warmer climate could help, so we moved to Florida.

At the time of my lumbar surgery, I knew about my cervical herniations. Following the lumbar fusion I was told not to bend, twist or lift. On a snowy day, in late December 2013, I shoveled a spot for my husband to park his car when he got home from work and then lifted a heavy cookie mixer off a bottom shelf to bake cookies with my son. 2 days later I was Driving to an appointment at my son's school when I got a hideous pain going down my right shoulder blade. I went to my family practitioner, who squeezed me into see a nurse practitioner. I told her I had an upcoming appointment with a pain doctor at the beginning on January 2014. She gave me a pain Med & muscle relaxer script and refused to order an MRI.

The pain Dr ordered an MRI of cervical and thoracic spine. I ended up having 3 cervical and 3 thoracic epidurals in 2014. I tried narcotics but am nervous about them and will feel kind of spacey on them. Gabapentin did nothing for me. I do use a muscle relaxer at night and if spasms get bad during the day, but they make me tired, so I try to avoid them. I had trigger point shots in my right shoulder and in the screwdriver pain spot.I pretty much stopped driving since the beginning of 2014, as it's painful. I switched jobs and work from home. It can be kind of isolating. I try to walk a few miles a day. I know it's good for me, but it makes the thoracic pain worse.

My last MRI, Oct 2015, showed degenerative disc disease with disc bulges T4-7; a hemangioma in posterior left T7, T5/6 protrusion abuts the anterior thoracic cord. Lately I've been having increased intensely painful spasms that make the screwdriver pain wrapping around my right ribs, it makes breathing and talking difficult to impossible when it occurs. Certain movements with my right arm, sitting in certain ways, especially when adjusting myself in the seat or rising from a seated position make it worse. During walking stepping with my right leg makes it worse. Occasionally I get searing pains between my shoulder blades during these episodes. It seems like muscles are trying to take over supporting my torso since my spine isn't providing the support itself. Since PT helped with some other issues I had with other body parts, I tried it again, but it seems to make the screwdriver pain more frequent and more intense, in addition to increasing spasms in my neck, between the right side of my neck and right shoulder and over my right shoulder blade.

Since everyone here seems to all have issues with other sections of the spine, my last cervical MRI, Oct 2015, indicates, degenerative disc disease at C5/6; C3/4 bilateral facet anthropathy & left neuroforaminal effacement; C4/5 bilateral facet anthropathy.

I haven't had a lumbar MRI since before the L4/5 fusion. At that time, in addition to the broad based disc herniation at that level, L5/S1 was bulging without impinging anything. While the surgeon indicated that he could also fuse that joint, he said he thought I could put that surgery off for 30 years and it would help preserve reducing additional flexibility and the additional pressure a fusion puts on the rest of the spine. During surgery the disc was found to have lodged itself into the nerve going down my right leg. While one surgeon shored up my spine another removed the disc. I do occasionally have nerve pain that runs from even with the point of surgery down my right leg into my right most toes on my right foot. I also will get great pressure, usually without pain in the area of the rod. I still experience some spasming with intense pain in the lumbar area following walking and will also have a harder time lifting my right leg after walking (getting into the passenger front seat after a good walk is a slow process as I sometimes use my arms to help my right leg into the car). I also get twitching in my left glut. I try to walk around once an hour.

I suspect that shoveling snow and lifting the cookie mixer contributed to the thoracic problems and that had I not had the lumbar fusion, I might not have had the thoracic problem. I am interested in hearing more from people who have had the radio frequency ablation technique and/or spinal stimulator experiences and any other procedures. I hope we all find relief and get to return to fulfilling active lives. I tried to go to the pool today but the water was too cold for even Central FL. I find I feel the most free in the water. I guess looking for a home with a heated pool might be my next move while waiting for something to heal me. Good luck and blessings to all.

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Hi Sue,

Did you manage to get additional information on alternative procedures for thoracic disc herniation and compression? Although my path has been a little different to yours I understand the daily frustrations and the overwhelming daily presence of debilitating pain. My situation resulted in a very recent (24.10.2016) 6 level (t7 a l1) thoracic fusion. Not fun. However, that's a story for another day. The reason I'm posting is because,, after reading your post, there is a procedure called Thoracic Traction, it's a form of decompression for the spinal cord without surgery. This is a procedure I would have tried had I not been diagnosed too late into the degeneration of my spine.

Anyway, I hope I'm not coming across as a know it all. This is actually the first time I've posted on here. I just know that suffering as we all do with trying to either control the pain or to get someone to take us seriously is soul destroying but we should never give up pushing for help. I'm a prime example that it may take a long time but you can get there in the end.

Good luck
Leng

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Hi Leng,

Oh goodness, I do hope you are healing well from your fusion! That's a lot to have fused.

I hadn't heard of Thoracic Traction, before. I will look into it. Thank you so much.

A week or so ago I started wearing my post fusion back brace for about 12 hours a day for about a week. It really helped to cut down on the spasms. I stopped wearing it as I developed a sensitive spot that felt like a bruise, but the good news is it seemed to put that thoracic spasming into remission

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Hi Sue,

Good to hear that the brace put the spasms into remission, they are extremely painful so I can imagine your relief. Can I ask, have you ever had a consult with a physiatrist? My physiatrist has been a lifesaver on many occasions helping to release muscles and such.

One of the symptoms that you talked about in your post was the wrap around the chest pain that made it painful for you to breathe. I've had this exact symptom for years now, my symptoms can go a little further and flare up to feel like heart attacks, totally benign but extruciatingly painful. Unfortunately, not recognized as a straight indication of thoracic problems. I don't know how much information you have on this but have you heard of T4 syndrome.

As for me, yeah, big surgery, roller coaster ride, but I'm doing ok thank you. Following my Neurosurgeons instructions and doing all I can to encourage a successful fusion. Have to say that it's a tough process and there's no guarantee but sometimes you don't get an option b.

It's really nice for me talk with people that understand it all. Living with invisible diseases is difficult, when people see you they don't see the illness, they just see the big smile you stick on your face to get through the day, we all do it eh?
Was happy to hear you'd managed to catch a break and are feeling better, long may it last.
Kind regards
Leng

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Hi Leng,

I have a son in the Autism Spectrum, which has resulted in a lot work with psychiatrists. I have consulted with them related to pain. One of my favorite techniques is from Dr. Les Fehmi called Open Focus for Dissolving Pain. I have his techniques on my phone so I can listen to the steps any time and they have been helpful. I also use Emotional Freedom Technique, EFT, also known as Tapping, which has helped.

I'm sorry you have had that wrap around pain too, it can be very intense. I have not heard of T4 syndrome. I will look it up.

If you have been told not to bend, twist or lift, pay close attention to doing your best to follow the instructions.

It is nice to find people who have similar invisible symptoms.

Happy Healing

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Hi again Sue,

Am so sorry, I must have misspelt the consultation I was asking you about. I didn't mean psychiatrist - I meant physiatrist! These are specialist doctors of physical medicine, i.e. Rehabilitation, spine injury, brain injury... Basically highly qualified doctors that have chosen to specialize in aftercare, physiotherapy, etc. My apologies for the mix up, I feel a complete idiot. Anyway, I've been seeing a physiatrist for a couple of years now. They have been the ones helping me learn how to cope with everyday tasks with limited movement, they're the same as any other Doctor, such as neurosurgeon, neurologist, orthopedic, you get the idea. So they're are the ones that have been doing my Physio, ordering all test, MRI, ct, X-ray... Dealing with medication, prescriptions. I honestly don't know how I would have coped with the past couple of years without mine. She's even the one that helped me push for a certain surgeon due to the degree of difficulty of my surgery, my spine was a mess. These doctors are a great option.

So, you have a son! Family is such a powerful motivation to get better and never give up, no? Autism must be challenging though, to say the least. How do you manage with energy levels?
Well, I hope I didn't offend with my misspelling but if you google Physiatrist you'll see what I meant.
Kind regards
Leng

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Hello I was wondering if you have found a successful treatment since it has been awhile since you posted? I have a central sisc protrusion at t7-8 and t-11-12.

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Anyone feeling better or found relief?

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