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Upper back pain, chest, ribs, and left arm

Hi! New here. I'll start from the beginning on this crazy cycle. Female, 27 years old. Pains in my upper back start in July 2019, at the time I figured I was just sleeping wrong some how and did not think much of it until early/middle of August where the pains were so bad my entire left side of my back, left side, left chest, and left arm were in pain most of the day, especially at night. Went to a chiropractor who took X-Rays of my back and said there was a slight curve and that was the reason for this pain and that my nerves were breaking off of my spine (i was desperate I was in so much pain) and she started adjusting me immediately and did for about 3 weeks. When nothing got better after a few visits she recommended I go and get an MRI which showed nothing, we do not see her anymore. Went to my doctor a few days later who gave me steroids and things were better for about a month before things got bad again. Went to the doctor again and referred me to a spinal doctor and gave me another round of steroids which did nothing this time around. Went to the spinal doctor and explained all my pains and he immediately thought it was a bulging disk but needed another MRI higher up of my spine and neck since the first MRI was lower. Got the MRI and showed there were 2 bulging disks less than a milliliter, which he was shocked I was in so much pain (this was in middle of November) because they were so small but there was nothing else that would be causing the pain. Said the action plan was to get a cortisone shot in those disks and all would be okay after that. First week of December get a cortisone shot, about 5 days later I woke up and didn't have any pains YAY! shot worked! only for everything to come back 2 days later. Have my follow up and he was shocked that it didn't work but suggested it might be because it's so inflamed so suggested I do round 2. Do Round 2 right after Christmas and it was HORRIBLE. For days I was sick I was in so much pain, couldn't get off the couch for some of them, and took almost 3 weeks for any sort of relief, finally got relief for about 5 days and everything has come back, leaving us at January 15th. 

Has ANYONE dealt with anything like this before? My pains get so bad it feels like my chest is on fire and I'm having heart attacks. I can feel my blood pressure rising at night I'm in so much pain, I can't sleep because I can't get comfortable. I have another MRI lined up to look at my chest and heart area, worried that something might be wrong there now. Have an appointment with a cardiologist now and have another appointment with a different chiropractor I have multiple people swear by and have given me their word she has helped them on multiple occassions (i am very skeptical of chiropractors after that first one) 

I'm just looking for any sort of other answer since we can't figure out what is going on. 

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Comments

  • Welcome elisbrow we’re glad you’re here!

    You didn't mention which levels are herniated, but it sounds like they are in the thoracic area, that is a very painful area and a lot of surgeons do not want anything to do with it, if it were me, I would seek out a second or third opinion from another spine specialist if everything is o.k. with the cardioligist. 

    While you’re waiting for a reply to your first post, please take a few moments to review the Code of Conduct and FAQ section, located under Forum Tools. There you will find important information about posting in the forum and helpful tips for new members.

    Here’s a great article about upper back pain on Spine-health that you might want to check out: All About Upper Back Pain. The article reviews the most common causes of upper back painsymptoms, and treatments. It has a lot of practical information that you might find helpful.

    Again, welcome to the Veritas Health Forum.

    Chip 

    Veritas Health Forum Moderator

  • Yes! Thoracic area. Sorry I did not mention that. 

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  • As I said earlier, that is a very painful area, I had surgery at the T12 level, I have had several other surgeries, the thoracic was by far the most painful. It may pay for you to do your research into surgeons that treat that area of the spine and get another opinion.

    Take care and keep us posted

    Chip

  • elisbrow - Just know that you have my heartfelt support.  You are too young to be experiencing such pain!  I'm 65 and HATE the pain I'm in but 'what the heck, I'm old now.'  When I first went to my doctor he offered me a referral to either a spine specialist or a neurologist.  I went with the spine specialist because the MRI I'd been given suggested a herniated disc.  I now wish I'd gone with the neurologist, because I wonder if the treatment would have been different (I have no clue though).  My pain is clearly coming from a pinched nerve of some kind.  It's not muscle pain, it's severe nerve pain (I had shingles back in my 30's so I know what nerve pain is).  Anyway, maybe you could see a neurologist for a advice.  And challenger's suggestion of seeing a surgeon with the thoracic area experience is an excellent idea.  Until then, be extra kind to yourself.  Take things easy and know that those of us on this forum wish you relief.  Please keep us posted - your story and journey will likely help others coming here for help.  

  • elisbrow - I had related symptoms in my upper back, right shoulder, chest/ribs (worse on my right side) and most of my neck (again worse on my right side of my neck).  Most of my spine surgeons agree that my cause was cervical and thoracic trauma many years ago. 

    I was in Cardiac ICU for three days until I was medically eligible for a heart catheterization and heart attack ruled out,  Another time four days for stroke symptoms until I was cleared to be released.  Please let me know if you would like to have additional discussion.

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