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Degenerative disc disease?

Started by hennypenny on 02/19/2016 1:27pm

Hi there, Just wondering if anyone has similar symptoms?
I've been told I have degenerative discs in my cervical spine, but think they are also in my thoracic as well.
About 2 years ago one of my upper thoracic vertabrae started getting very sore to touch and now is throbbing 24/7.
Around the same time I began to get stabbing pain in my left ribs feeling much like severe heartburn, but sometimes it would radiate around to the back ribs and also on to right side. This has continued and is getting worse by the day. The doc told me it was reflux, but I disagree s the meds didn't help. Also I have a very good diet.
In the last 2 weeks I now have a dull pain from my upper chest which travels down my underarm to elbow joint. This is 24/7.
I get a lot of hand and lower arm tingliness and numbness in both arms, trapezious muscles are almost contsantly in some sort of seizure.
The sternocliedomastoid muscle also spasms. Occasional biceps cramping and weakened triceps bracchi (at back of left arm)
I'm finding it difficult to get the good old NHS docs to take this seriously.
I'm concerned it is a tumour that is pressing on these nerves! All they've done so far is xray C6 and say the disc is on the way out, but there is more local pain from what I guess is T1/T2
On Naproxen and 30mg codeine, Doesn't help one iota :-(

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2 Responses


Hi -- I'm really sorry to hear of your increasing pain - I can relate! So many of your symptoms are exactly what I was experiencing two years ago! The stabbing rib pain, the dull underarm to elbow pain, the tingling and numbness! I had terrible pain between my shoulder blades, headaches, numbness in fingers in my left hand. All of these were a result of the degenerative disc disease!

I saw a physiatrist to help me with the pain, who did an MRI and then referred me to a neurosurgeon. I had anterior cervical discectomy and fusion of C5-C7. It was a rather long recovery (several months) and required major rest and following doctor's orders carefully -- but I can now say that 99% of my pain is gone!

My advice is to get an MRI of your cervical and thoracic spine as soon as possible -- then find a physiatrist or prominent neurosurgeon (they will take you seriously!) to review and advise you about what is your best course of action. Try to find a top neurosurgeon affiliated with a teaching hospital -- they stay on top of the latest research and surgical techniques.

Best wishes for a complete recovery! Let us know how you're doing. People with good results tend to leave this site after surgery, but so many who are left here need to hear that there is hope for relief of pain.


Hi BonnieRae,
Thank you so much for replying. I'm so glad your surgery has helped you to a good recovery! . A brave decision to make I think!
I'm pretty sure it is from degenerative disc disease as from between 2004 and 2008 I suffered from many disc herniations in my lumbar spine which kind of resolved itself when my spine managed to fuse itself at certain points. My osteopath at that point said I was wasting my money going to him as my lumbar was rigid. So really that was a sign that I should take more care of myself....but I didn't. Kinda thought I'd made it through the worse and more than happy to have numb legs most of the time with no more sciatica (unless I jogged) But really is was a sign that I was going to be prone to more disc trouble I guess.
I have been riding racehorses as a living for 27 years and was also a weight lifter in my 20s. I'm sure this hasn't helped things as those horses are strong!
I can't wait to get an xray of upper lungs done just to eliminate the possibility of a tumour and then I can hopefully press them for an MRI.
Over the years, they have just told me that if I give my job up it will all get better.
My doctor is going to refer me to the musculo skeletal clinic so hopefully they will get me an MRI. It just takes them so long to do stuff!
I've been reading about thoracic outlet syndrome this evening. Not sure if this can be triggered by degenerative disc disease?