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Chronic back pain in thoracic spine

I am a 20 year old active athlete and I have been dealing with very bad back pain in my thoracic spine for 6+ months now. The pain has always somewhat been there but I noticed that it got really bad after a baseball swing about 3-4 months ago. I went to physical therapy for 2 months and it did not help me at all. I went and got an mri on my thoracic spine and an x-ray before that and both showed pretty much nothing. Ever since I have been seeing a chiropractor because the other doctor couldn't figure out what it could be. My back will hurt me all day long even standing, sitting or even laying down. I am currently taking meloxicam and muscle relaxers use heat and ice and nothing seems to get rid of the pain. It is on my left side only across from my ribs. When twisting to the left side I get an excruciating sharp pain in that area also when I reach to the left side. The pain can sometimes radiate to underneath my left shoulder blade and I also get bad neck pain and headaches. My back has felt extremely weak and I am getting muscle instability in my left side, have trouble walking sometimes and my legs will feel weak walking up and down stairs almost feel like they're going to give out. The chiropractor said that he thinks I tore a bunch of muscles and ligaments in my thoracic spine and the facet joint is extremely irritated. He also said that my back was very stiff and inflamed in that area. Ive been to him about 4-5 times and done some work with him and nothing seems to help either and I am unsure what to do next. Would surgery be possibly needed? Any thoughts of what it could be or what I should do next? 



  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 6,480

    welcome to spine-health

    most members here are not fond of chiros. they cannot give you a diagnosis either because they do not do diagnostic testing.
    you can always get another opinion from a neurosurgeon or neurologist. with mri and x-ray in hand, of course.

    while you are waiting on other members to reply please click on the welcome link below and the tutorial for more information.
    welcome to spine health

    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator
    Please read my  Medical Story  
  • Thoracic injuries (like mine.. ) can be pretty bad. My pain management doesn't want a chiropractor to even touch me. I've been through easily 300 + various medical appointments. Going on close to 30 spinal injections, facet blocks, nerve blocks, RFA treatments.

    My thoracic MRI does not look that bad, now we are zeroing on my neck, especially C3 to C6 nerve root issues. My pain doctor asked me yesterday about my shoulder. I told him it was a mess. After my neck injections are complete, he wants a MRI of my shoulder.

    Diagnosis: Thoracic facet syndrome & cervical and thoracic radiculopathy from car accident trauma.
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  • Try everything you can besides surgery.  Surgery should be the last possible intervention especially at your age.  I'd suggest seeing a massage therapist.  Not someone who gives fru fru massages, but someone who will really get in there and loosen up the muscles.  I understand the feeling you're describing.  I also know how frustrating Chiropractors can be.  I saw one a few weeks ago who did a few adjustments that did help albeit temporarily, but then he did something I told him specifically not to do.  Seems like all they want to do is keep bringing you in the door to get your co-pay.  Like Sandra recommended, I would think a specialist (Ortho/Neuro) would be a good "next step".

    Keep your head up...your young and have your whole life ahead of you!


    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
  • (Edit for content)

    If you have a nerve or facet issue, they won’t help. See an ortho...see three. See as many orthos or neuros until you get an answer. I saw one ortho and got shut down because facet injections were useless but he won’t consider anything else to treat my thoracic pain even though the MRI shows zero disc height at T8-9. I’m too scared to see another so I just live with it. If you find a treatment that works, please post. 

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