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Thoracic Pain referred?

Started by Oscar Goldman on 10/24/2012 2:52pm

Looking for a bit of advice.

Had a long history of back pain.

I have had a double disc replacement at L5/L4 and L5/S1

It didn't work in that when I sit down nerves are being aggravated below L5

This has led to me using other parts of my back for things that I shouldn't, lying down too much for example.

I now have confirmed this year by MRI 2 thoracic discs bulging.

1 is just below the neck and the other is just below the heart.

In the last year I have started to experience pain under my ribs on the right hand side of my abdomen and at the back in the same are - exactly where the liver is.

I have had high ALT liver enzymes due to long term use of pain killers.

In June the pain started to get a lot worse, so I got a scan on my liver and also my bloods re-done. ALT enzymes are better than last year and the scan showed my liver looked ok (along with gall bladder etc)

Both my GP and Gastro doc are certain that this pain is due to referred pain from my back even though the pain is typically about 2 inch below the bulging disc and its mainly in the abdomen not the back.

I also cannot find cause and effect, with all my other back pain symptoms, I know what cause them to get worse, for example sitting too long increases the pain at L5, but with this pain I cannot figure out what makes it worse. If I do too much like gardening the thoracic disc bulge starts hurting at the back but not the abdomen. I do think a little that lying down while reading etc aggravates it at the abdomen but I am not sure.

My question is, can the upper mid of the thoracic spine cause referred pain to the rib area of the abdomen (the front where the liver is)? So sciatica for the mid thoracic area if you like?

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I also have the pain in the t-spine area and when I do too much, (which doesn't take much) the pain can wrap around my ribs to the front. I had a 2 level fusion (L4-S1) in 2007, and have just had C6,7 fused in Sept. I was hoping the last fusion would have taken care of that pain in the upper back but it didn't. I know I have bulging discs in the t-spine but the Dr.'s aren't addressing these. I'm glad you posted, I thought I was going crazy with this as I couldn't (and still can't) make any sense of this. It does seem like we have something similar going on.
Keep posting,
Janet. :)

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Thought I'd add, the pain in my ribs is in the lower right side and can be so intense I have found myself not breathing. I can avoid this though by not over doing it. The pain between my shoulder blades is the worst though as it NEVER lets up.
Janet. :)

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Oscar,
Please post more if you're still out there,
Janet. :)

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I am still here, do you have some questions? I have loads of knowledge of lumbar back pain but not much on the thoracic, hence the post.

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:( I know, there's not much out there about this is there? I think I'm just going to SCREAM, CRY, then take the max amount of lortab allowed, followed by a glass of wine to get things going and go to bed.
It's a really BAD week and it's only Monday.
This too shall pass,
Janet :(

p.s. Sorry for the rant.

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Are you doing thoracic stretches?

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Yes I do stretches, it feels good to stretch, but it doesn't alieviate the pain. What's wierd is, right after the surgery (C6-7), I had NO thoracic pain at all, but ten days later, when I took the neck brace off and started to do some things around the house, the pain was back, including the stabbing pain in the front right side of my ribs. The left arm pain is gone though.
I just don't know Oscar, I can't figure this out either. This has been going on for nearly 2 yrs now.
Hope you have good day, and thanks again for your post. Maybe by posting your blog, other people with the same or similar pain pattern will respond. We can't be the only people out there with this going on.
Janet :)

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Sounds like a plan Janet

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Oscar,
I was on a site yesterday called Spine Health and you know what? There's a forum like this one but with a section specifically for those suffering thoracic pain. I read a few of the posts and some of them had very similar pain and referred pain as you and me.
Hope you find some good info. (I did.)
Janet :)

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