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  • stace
    Member
    Post count: 3

    I ruptured a thoracic disk when I was 26 and had surgery from the side to cut off the rupture. I am now 42 and have been fighting back pain to some degree for at least ten years. It has gotten increasingly worse. I recently had a CT scan and MRI. The findings are that I have a 2 cm. calcium growth on my thoracic spine. At this point, I am in terrible pain and have tried everything. Steroid injections were successful once (lasted a month). I do well on oral steroids but can only take them every few months. I am wondering if this is something you can treat? Very few doctors in my area seem to have experience with thorasic surgery. Is this something you have treated and how frequently if you don’t mind my asking? Thanks much!

    Donald Corenman, MD, DC
    Moderator
    Post count: 8378

    16 years ago, you underwent a thoracic decompression (most likely an extrapedicular far lateral decompression- sound familiar)? You apparently did not have a fusion at the same time. 16 years later, this disc level has developed bone spurs (not uncommon) that are causing narrowing of the thoracic canal (thoracic stenosis).

    The question is- where is your pain? If you have local thoracic pain centralized in the spine, this pain could be from degenerative disc disease. If your pain radiates around the chest wall, this could be radicular pain (from a pinched nerve). If your pain radiates down the spine into the legs with balance problems, this could be from cord compression.

    Surgery might be helpful depending upon your symptoms, findings on a physical examination and your imaging studies.

    Thoracic surgery is relatively common in my practice. I just took care of a Scheuermanns’s patient surgically today (thoracic fusion for deformity).

    Dr. Corenman

    PLEASE REMEMBER, THIS FORUM IS MEANT TO PROVIDE GENERAL INFORMATION ON SPINE ANATOMY, CONDITIONS AND TREATMENTS. TO GET AN ACCURATE DIAGNOSIS, YOU MUST VISIT A QUALIFIED PROFESSIONAL IN PERSON.
     
    Donald Corenman, MD, DC is a highly-regarded spine surgeon, considered an expert in the area of neck and back pain. Trained as both a Medical Doctor and Doctor of Chiropractic, Dr. Corenman earned academic appointments as Clinical Assistant Professor and Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and his research on spine surgery and rehabilitation has resulted in the publication of multiple peer-reviewed articles and two books.
    stace
    Member
    Post count: 3

    Thank you for the reply Dr. Corenman. I just printed the paperwork out today to get your opinion. My symptoms of thoracic stenosis may have changed from just pain since I wrote in this summer. I am a teacher and started back getting my room ready and doing paperwork a few weeks ago. When I became more active I started having hand pain and extreme pain when in my feet. I went to my general practitioner and he thought this was not caused by my stenosis and that it was probably arthritis. He suggested taking alieve twice a day. This has not helped the problem. In fact, now the right side of my body “feels funny” I don’t really know how to put it into words. When I go to sleep I am getting woke up my right side falling asleep. Could he be wrong and this could be changes in my nerves from my stenosis. I work with a woman who had lumbar nerve damage before her surgery and she’s talked with me about how you cannot repair nerve damage. Thanks

    Donald Corenman, MD, DC
    Moderator
    Post count: 8378

    Hand pain will not be associated with thoracic stenosis. That symptom originates from the neck above the level of your thoracic stenosis.

    Pain in the feet could be related but normally, symptoms would manifest as numbness, paresthesias (pins and needles) and difficulty with walking (imbalance).

    When you “right side falls asleep”, I assume that you also include your right arm. These set of symptoms would not occur if the problem was only in the thoracic cord.

    Dr. Corenman

    PLEASE REMEMBER, THIS FORUM IS MEANT TO PROVIDE GENERAL INFORMATION ON SPINE ANATOMY, CONDITIONS AND TREATMENTS. TO GET AN ACCURATE DIAGNOSIS, YOU MUST VISIT A QUALIFIED PROFESSIONAL IN PERSON.
     
    Donald Corenman, MD, DC is a highly-regarded spine surgeon, considered an expert in the area of neck and back pain. Trained as both a Medical Doctor and Doctor of Chiropractic, Dr. Corenman earned academic appointments as Clinical Assistant Professor and Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and his research on spine surgery and rehabilitation has resulted in the publication of multiple peer-reviewed articles and two books.
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