thoracic pain, chronic. T5-T6 disc herniation and bone spur

 lived with chronic thoracic pain for years, managed with physio/chiro/massage.  Had MRI done and results are: mild multi level degenerative disc disease (ok), hemangioma and osteophytes on T5 T6 with "impression" on spinal cord.  I have localized pain, also pain through the chest to the sternum area, muscle spasm in back, pain under or in ribs, weak /heavy shoulder.  Using a U shaped pillow to keep my back off the mattress , pressure on spot creates pain but still waking up several times a night, no comfortable positions..  Very few neurological symptoms, hard to say as I have carpal tunnel.  Right leg feels tingling sometimes.  Right shoulder neck feels weak,  heavy right shoulder, arm. neurosurgeon's says if surgery, would be done through ribcage and not unless major neurological symptoms.  

How do you all manage? I’ve been living with this for many years, but it’s getting worst. Somedays, laying, sitting, walking, nothing works. I can’t sit comfortably at a table or stool, anything that involves using arms, hands forward is aggravating.  Heat/ice helps. The nature of the pain changes from localized in neck or mid back, or muscle spasm, or knots, or between ribs, or center of the chest,  pain can be dull or sharp.

I have good mattress.



  • LizLiz Posts: 2,416

    Welcome boubou

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  • boubou

    I am sorry you are dealing with this, thoracic pain in my opinion is the worst, I have had lumbar surgeries and cervical surgery, I had thoracic T12-L1 surgery in Nov. 2018 it was the worst of them all, it has since reherniated along with T11 being herniated, mine are lower than yours, but we have a lot of the same symptoms, sitting in a chair that puts pressure on the area is murder, the rib pain for me is the worst, I am lucky in that it is not always there, but the days that it is, there is not a comfortable spot anywhere. My doctor has been very good to work with me to try and find the proper pain control, just started a new regiment this week, hopefully it will help.

    I am glad you joined us, communicating with others with similar situations really helps, at least it has for me, I hope it does you also.

    Take care and keep us posted


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  • Thank you for your reply. It helps knowing I’m not alone feeling these symptoms. It took years for me to find out why I was feeling pain in chest. The rib pain is newer and just as annoying. I’m late going to the chiropractor and physio. Busy week with all this coming up, it should help but need to go regularly.  Going to a sleep clinic this week see if my sleep is disrupted by pain or something else.  Could be something else like sleep apnea or restless legs, but I realize I’m in pain when waking up. I’m 54. Good thing I’m retired from work, not aggravating it but I spent 30+ years hunched over a dental chair

  • I am 55 and was forced to retire in 2018, I was a auto mechanic and owned my own shop, I miss working every day, but I do feel better since I quit.

  • Somedays I feel pretty good and wonder if I’m just a whimp.  Ost days tho there is some type of  pain or discomfort. My back quickly reminds me of my limitations.  Just doing a puzzle is trouble.

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  • I understand, I sat at a table working on something today for about 45 minutes, really struggling right now, it will let you know real quick.


  • Hi Boubou, 

    I had the surgery you are referring to through my left rib - a left lateral resection. I have different problems than you do. I have lumbar & thoracic pain & there is no comparison. Thoracic pain is excruciating pain. You have to lie down immediately. 

    Get as much information as possible & if you can, get a few medical opinions, before making any decisions. Good luck & take care. 

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