Further Treatment for schmorl's node

Hello everyone,

I have been looking at treatment options for schmorl's node endplate protrusion but haven't found anything more than self limiting/conservative treatment. I have done physiotherapy, chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, cupping therapy, electrical stimulation therapy and heat packs. Now all of these treatments gave me temporary relief and I'm wondering what else I can try as I'm not a candidate for fusion surgery. Symtoms are burning, muscle pain and spasms, occasionally I feel a needle poking sensation if I'm standing to long. I feel very weak and even lifting things such as a laptop or books causes a flare up. The worst for me is sitting on any chair in my college which doesn't have back support. I'm only 24 and this condition has really taken a toll on me. If anyone has schmorl's nodes please share any information that has helped, thank you.


  • I would like to add that I have no disc buldge or disc protrusion compressing the nerve roots or spinal cord. The shmorl's nodes are on both lower and upper endplates all four of them located in the thoracic region of the spine from T8-T11.
  • Hi thank you for your reply, yes it was due to trauma I had felt a pain in that area and I wasn't sure what was happening, I continued working and it got so bad that I began feeling weak and sharp pain. I was really active and strong before this happened, I used to go to the YMCA gym. It happened when I was doing a repetitive task and I could feel the disc compressing, I knew something wasn't right so I told my supervisor and human resources. I went to two doctors and they told me it was a sprain. I got an MRI and showed I had t8-t11 with these nodes. I have been resting and flexing my core muscles. I feel a burning all the time in that area and it only goes away when I'm on all fours. It has been 8 months since I first felt these pains.
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  • I have to agree with the loss of disc height, when I sit I get uncomfortable spasms in my back which over prolonged sitting I notice a burning feeling. I feel these pains when driving, sitting and standing for long periods of time. When I lay flat on my back I get spasms as well. My doctor recommended I take magnesium for the spams which I have been eating magnesium rich foods like spinach, alvocado, pumpkin seeds. My spasms aren't as bad as in the beginning but I still get burning pains when I'm standing or sit.
  • Hi!
    i have two schmorls nodes at L4 and L5. I also have arthritis at the age of 22. I have tried prednisone, physical therapy, NSAIDs, STIM therapy, and heat and cold packs. The pred and NSAIDs did not do much. The heat provides temporary relief and the STIM occasionally helps with sciatica.

    I have sharp pain where the schmorls nodes are and sometimes will have sciatica (usually one sided) and tingling. My back also cracks every time I lift my leg  or bend a certain way. 

    My Doctor told me to take it easy and use NSAIDs when needed and continue doing my stretches. Unfortunately I have still been in a lot of pain the last 5 months. I know this issue won't go away, but I was hoping to find better pain management. My profession doesn't help much either. Hopefully you can find something to help manage your pain! Good luck and feel better!

  • hello,im also 25 and im also suffering from schmorl's node and its painfull as hell..not just lower back it cause starin and stiffness in my legs aswell especially knees..sometime i feel so useless and week. Doctors not consider it as a medical condition therefore i had no option then to rely on self conservative treatment. please anyone give suggestions as what exercise or yoga can give relief or anyother treatment?
    thank you.
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  • I stumbled across this, as I was looking through treatments, myself. I am 31, and have 9 broad base disc bulges with degenerative discs from t8-t9 all the way down, 2 in my neck, my l5 is attempting to fuse (sacralize) with my s1, and schmorl's nodes on many of the lower thoracic vertebral endplates. I owe this amount of damage to multiple injuries and aggressive wear and tear throughout about 9 years in the military. This took a number of years to figure out, just because it took my a left shoulder dislocation and avulsion fracture of the greater tuberosity of my humerus to drain muscle away enough to begin revealing a lot of previous injuries were actually worse than initially assessed. I can't begin to explain the frustration I have had going through all the rapid onsets of pain (I also had apparently fractured a rib at some point, too - I started having pain and they found cortical thickening of one of my ribs), and trying to figure out the best way to try and rebuild. I am still working on that last one, but realistically that is a consistently cyclic progress that everybody goes through; some people more than others. I can say I still do have a decent amount of pain. I have learned a few things that you may have heard of, some things that have worked for me and some valuable lessons I have learned. I hope some of it helps:

      You are still young, so there's still a chance it will heal. Don't count any possibilities out for yourself yet, and avoid any surgery for as long as you can. Some days are going to suck. It's a fact of life, everybody experiences this very same fact in their own way. It does not mean that tomorrow won't get better, and if tomorrow sucks, then how much worse can the next day be? The more time you spend just wanting the pain to go away completely, the more time you will be disappointed and will feel more and more trapped and restricted in and by your own body. I felt this quite a bit, especially having to wait for a while (3yrs) to get my anterior labrum stretched back over and anchored into my arm again. Now, this is not saying you won't be painfree, but everybody ends up dealing with some degree of pain in their life. It can start for anyone at any time, and it doesn't always go completely away. We all will have to get used to it, better get a jump on that one now. Acceptance, to a certain level is good, but not when it means giving up on trying to get better. That mental part is a hurdle in itself, and one that you might have to remind yourself of later. 

    The singular biggest factor in the amount of pain I felt was the amount of core muscle strength I had. I had actually begun feeling back pain way before finding out the extent. However, they only did xrays initially, and after some physical therapy and chiropractic didn't do much I was told there didn't appear to be anything wrong. So I worked out a lot, and built up enough strength where it didn't bother me as much until years later. If you're able to get into a good routine of activity, try and keep it consistent. If you fall out of the habit, you may find it harder than you thought it should be to get back to it. The key is that you do get back to it. Start as slow as necessary and build steady, and use a back brace when you need to. Impatience can cost you a lot more than time.

    Something else very important here - pain is not weakness leaving the body, it is not always synonymous with gain, and your mind may be able to carry your body well past its limit but it does not always have the same effect on matter that we intend. It is your body telling you to pay attention.  Check your body positioning and make sure you're breathing. Especially if you're in physical therapy. You would be amazed at the amount of people that will hold their breath all the way through a set of an exercise, just because they are so focused on trying to not hurt themselves. That can sometimes keep abdominal muscles taut, and can really set of some uncomfortable spasms. If you exhale a deep breath, it can even calm spasms down. Ultimately, though, pay attention to what you're doing and how you move. Don't fall into bad habits of heavily compensating on one side, while trying to just work around your injury.

    Yoga can help in many ways, and some poses help me open up disc spaces to relieve some of the pressure - on both discs and endplates. Another really simple trick to help relieve some pressure - put 2 tennis balls in a sock and tie it so they are close together, and lay down on them with one on each side of your spine, on an even/padded surface. Make sure you are assisting natural curvature to stretch, though. Sounds funny, but it works great.

    Flexibility is very important, but stability needs to be your focus. That just means you need to have the muscle strength to properly support your body mechanics while slowly moving into a stretch and holding it for minimum 30 seconds. The reason being is hypermobility of your joints can be just as bad as inflexibility. Like asking an octopus to use a starfish as a skeleton structure and stand up straight on dry land. 

    Meds - avoid as much as possible. Even NSAIDs can have some bad long-term side effects if used for too long. Most of them actually slow down bone regrowth, and can prevent injuries from healing as completely as they should. They are made to calm down your body's natural response to injury/infections - inflammation. The reason your body does this is to increase blood flow into an area of damaged tissue, to remove dead cells and repair. It just happens to have the effect of causing things to hurt from either prostaglandins or too much fluid swelling and putting pressure in places we don't like it to be. If you need to rest, do it. Working through an injury and just popping motrin like it should be the newest addition to your multivitamin is asking for it. This was a painful lesson learned, especially after passing some kidney stones after taking NSAIDs for a while, not to mention the gastric issues from some turning off the switch that tells your body to stop producing stomach acid. 

    As far as nutrition - yup too much sugar does actually have an effect. Reason here is that higher blood sugar actually does inhibit your blood vessels' capability to relax and dilate. Which, again, reduces the blood flow that is needed to repair. Also, being overweight can actually increase inflammatory signals and has been shown to affect hormone and energy levels. Staying slim actually does make you feel better, and it's not just because you think you look good in mirror.

    In terms of any fad diets/supplements - no two people have identical body chemistry. Figure out what works for you. I used to advise my patients to keep a food diary for at least a month, and also document how they felt. Sometimes you'll find a that you feel more stiff, or joints feel inflamed after eating/drinking certain things. Personally, though, one supplement that has worked for me continuously is agmatine sulfate. It is a derivative of the commonly marketed amino acid l-arginine. Instead of your system needing to go through digesting and absorption to get the vasodilation benefit, though, it's easier to get it on its own and save your liver and kidneys the hassle. If you do decide to try different supplements, though, start one at a time. You won't know what helped or hurt if you buy have the specials at GNC and throw em all in a blender, then wonder why you spewed on Tuesday and felt amazing on Thursday but can't stop pissing radioactive waste on the every other Wednesday.

    As far as other treatments - spinal injections such as corticosteroids or nerve blocks may very well help. But these aren't cures, these are more tools to enable you to regain control of your body and fuctionality as long as they are done along with aforementioned strengthening and stretching.

    As far as other therapies - acupuncture works great for me. There is always an immediate effect, but how long relief lasts is variable. There is a substantial amount of data that is actively being compiled proving its efficacy many times over, especially for treating pain. A couple things here - in Eastern medicine there are many different methods that may be tried to reach the same goal, just like Western. There are different protocols, styles, and skill levels out there. Rule of thumb again - find what will work for you. Try a couple different practictioners if you are able to. Don't worry if somebody starts lighting cottonballs on fire with funny looking jars; that's just another modality called cupping. Chiropractors can also be very effective and may also be coupled with massage therapy to help boost benefit.

    It may seem like a daunting task, and you might feel overwhelmed if you start worrying about how you are going to get through the rest of your life like this. So don't. There is no certainty that it will always be like it is now. It may get better, and it may get worse. Sometimes you just gotta take it one day at a time and one hour to the next. It'll be hard, but in my experience there hasn't been a great deal worth while that is very easy to attain. I know there is a lot of info here, and I really hope it helps and wish you the best of luck.

  • Wood44 



    Thank you for sharing your stories everyone. It really means a lot to me!  I'm praying that for anyone suffering in pain or isolation, that they feel better and we will be with you. No one is facing this battle alone. I had nobody to turn to, thank you for this opportunity to tell each other about our experiences and for the love given. 

    I'm feeling a bit of pain today but I'm thankful to be alive! I'm grateful because knowing what I went through it could have been way worse. 

    God bless everyone

  • Why do everybody think 

    schmorl's nodes are not painful?


  • I'm new to the group and new to Schmorl's nobes. I have the exact burning pain that Thoracicfire explains. It makes me feel better that I'm not going nuts,  and that my pain is real. My doctor doesn't understand the pain that I'm experiencing,  she must have read the article that they are not painful.  I've lost my job because I can't even work the 6 hours that they need from me, I need to rest my back with ice packs, as much as I can,  which feels good. Im doing therapy, but don't feel that it is working.  I'm thankful for this group.  

  • I seem to be a rarity here, because my schmorl node is in my neck C-6. I have looked on every search link trying to find anybody recently who suffers with a cervical schmorl node. I found a medical journal article dated 1985 about a 40+ year old man who presented with acute neck pain, and was diagnosed with a schmorl node. I am really wanting to get some idea about this painful condition. I didn't suffer trauma before suffering from symptoms of a NON STOP 24/7 365 days a year headache. I then started suffering from severe dizziness, neck pain, burning buuuuurning pain located at my medulla oblongata...but I know that there are no nerves there so my pain centers in between my shoulder blades, across my left collar bone, pain in my left shoulder blade, and blurred vision. I have been diagnosed with adhesive arachnoiditis, disc degenerative disease in all 5 lumbar discs, and have had two surgeries to fix 3 lumbar discs that had herniated badly from....working a car wreck as an EMT-I 20 years ago. The cops didn't keep the passenger from the wreck scene while my partner and I worked and grabbed the scoop stretcher from behind me as I was pulling out the 300 pound driver who had been trapped behind the wheel. I have found myself once again suffering from YET AGAIN the same 3 herniated lumbar discs and will be having ANOTHER surgery Feb 4th to release my nerve that is totally cut off and to cut the discs back. I feel cursed to suffer back problems for the rest of my life, not counting the rare spinal disease that can turn me into a parapalegic in the future. So that being said is there ANYONE who has a cervical schmorl node? If so what are your symptoms, have you had surgery to repair the damage, or some other treatment? If so did it help, how long did it take for you to heal, and most importantly how r u doing?

  • @Thoracicfire, i have a schmorls nodes on l3-4. Can you suggest me, what i hv to do ?

    Now how is your pain...recovered ?

  • Riyas I am not a doctor so I can't suggest what to do for your l3-l4. I will say that getting lots of rest and taking pressure of that area is very important and also strengthening of the core helps. It's Friday June 28, 2019 and I'm still feeling pains in the area of t8-t11. I do a lot of exercises in the air such as chin ups and leg raises which seem to help. I hope everyone is doing better and I'm wishing everyone a blessed and pain free day! God bless!!!

  • Hi! I just wanted to join in on the convo and say I’m 24 and I’ve had a schmorl’s node in T12 since I was like 12, thanks to my first love, gymnastics. I’ve just been dealing with the pain for 10 years, as I got cortisone shots until they decided I had to quit my sport. After that I didn’t do anything besides heat and Advil. I feel like I have the body/back of a 40 year old and I’m going back to doctor!! I’m so tired of being unable to do things due to the pain in my back. I usually just push through the pain, but y’all I’m so tired. Glad I’m not the only young one with these issues! 

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