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Cervical pain causing T-spine (referred pain)?

Hi All,

I have a herniation at c5-c6 that causes me a  lot of grief, however I have some weird referred pain that I can't explain. My upper back (thoracic region) between T2 and T4  oftern flares up and almost always feels tender to the touch. Had a t-spine MRI done recently and everything looked fine. My doc has no clue what's causing this pain.  Have any of you experienced a similar symptom associated with cervical pain and was it resolved after surgery?



  • Hi  - no, actually it's right in the center on right over the bone. If I glide my fingers over each vertebrae it hurts to the touch (very tender). I do have the sharp lingering shoulder and trap pain also that prevents me from lifting my arms above my head.

  • Hmmm, I know cervical can refer to shoulder blade area, but usually right over bone signals issue with that spot ( going off my thoracic issues and what I was told).

    1.  did the MRI have something called smorl's nodes
    2.  an annular tear can cause pain directly over the vertabrea and directly to side, but often is not seen on MRI or any scan
    3.  Facet issues also can cause pain directly over the area

    T2 vs C7-8 is very hard to differentiate from unless you know absolutly where each one is, they are fairly close, was this area ruled out as it can be hard to see because its a junction area.  But I suggest reading up on 1-3 and seeing if they link or red flag to anything you are experiencing.

    Also look up nerve distribution from C5-6 and see where it passes, there are many that have cervical issues that cause issue with legs,but usually spinal cord involved.  Could the herniation be impacting the spinal cord with gravity not seen on MRI ?

    Hi itsautonomic,

    Thanks so much for your reply, it really helps and gives me several things to explore. The MRI was pretty unremarkable and did not show any nodes, tears, etc. I am starting to think that the issue could possibly be tied to an annular tear or facet joint problem, as you suggested. I will research this some more before I go back to my doc. I am wondering what kind of imaging would be able to reveal what's really going on my my t-spine. I completely agree with you on the gravity thing - MRIs are taken in one position (as we are lying on our backs, stationary), however in reality my pain is worst during the day as I do tasks, certain movements tend to aggravate my neck and back and I think that's where the protrusion makes significantly more contact with the spinal cord and surrounding nerve bundles (compared to what the MRIs suggests). I do notice that when my t-spine get irritated and flared up, my breathing pattern also changes - I find myself breathing more deeply - maybe it's from pressure on the ribs. The hardest part is not knowing what to do. My doc doesn't even want to talk about the problem, saying that even if they find an issue, it's way to risky to ever operate on the t-spine given the risk of paralysis. 

    Thanks again for your helps!
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