Medical Questions > Conditions and Diseases > Back Pain Forum

Chronic t4-t5 back pain

Must Read
What structures make up the spine? We review basic spine anatomy here...before identifying potential causes of back pain....
Click here to learn about the most common causes of back pain, and things that increase your risk of backache. We cover lower back pain and upper back pain....
Back pain symptoms may seem obvious. But do you know when symptoms of back pain are more serious or when to see a doctor? Learn what action to take & when...
Approx. 3-1/2 yrs ago, while troubleshooting an industrial robot, I was electrocuted taking a jolt of 880vt three phase.. the circuit entering in my right hand, up thru the arm, across the back, down the other arm, and out the left hand. I was well grounded with my left hand, and got the full effect of the hit. It caught me, I could not turn loose, after about 8 seconds of intense agony things were fading to black. A co-worker nearby knocked me loose. I remember hitting flat on the concrete, with my upper back taking the full impact. I popped back to my feet almost instantly, unbelievably rattled from the hit, and with my arms, shoulder, and back muscles all feeling like I had just lifted an automobile. I could not even raise my arms. I suffered pretty severe muscle strain problems, along with left shoulder pain that kept me from raising my arm higher than my shoulder for 6 months. At the beginning, the muscle pain was so severe that I think it overwhelmed any real sense I may have had of pain in the thoracic region of my back, and if I had any spinal injuries from landing on my back, I was not yet noticing them. I also had some nerve problems that made use of my left arm difficult for a while, but after a couple years, I pretty much have full use of that arm, and it has probably 80% of the strength it originally had. I can still tell that the signals are not all getting thru to my arm though. Not gonna do any pushups, I would roll over on my left side.

I went thru the tests where they stick needles in you and measure signals from your nervous system (I think thats what it does). They also did the ones to check for dislocated rotor cuff with the dye injection into the shoulder. But no back x-ray has ever been performed. I have been taking 90 Oxycodones, 60 Ultrams, and 30 Somas a month ever since the accident. As the shoulder and arm problems subsided, I had increasing problems with my back in the region of the t-4 and t5 vertebrae, and well as continued sensitivity and pain around the edge of the left scapula that is towards the spine in that same area.

I have seen 3 doctors, and they tell me such things as I am just gonna have to live with it, and probably take painkillers forever. This has kept me from being able to find employment, as while I am fairly functional on maybe 4 out of 7 days, I never know what days are going to be the ones I can barely get out of bed, if at all, even with painkillers... and nobody seems to want to risk hiring someone with back problems anyway. Something has to change... it is destroying our lives and I can sympathize with one poster who had a thread on here discussing his suicidal thoughts. (No, I have no plans to take such action at this time... but I would be lying if I said it was not contemplated on almost a daily basis.)

The doctors offered to hook me up with a pain treatment center where I could get more pills than they can subscribe to me, and not have to do the monthly office visit, and do it once every three months instead. I have only resisted it because it makes me feel as if once I do that, then it is all over and I can give up hope of any further treatment which might actually fix what is wrong, rather than just masking the pain.

I suppose the first step I should take is get a back x-ray. Even though I have insurance, money is still tight, and am wondering if anyone here can give me a good idea of whether it is really worth the effort, or if the doctors are right and I should just give up. Anyone have any ideas on what I might expect or do?
Did you find this post helpful?
|

replied January 28th, 2010
Extremely eHealthy
hi heartofozarks
im sorry you are suffering and unable to work. i dont know what kind of dr gave you the statement live with it. dont take that for an answer. look further. you should be seeing orthopedic or neuro surgeon who specializes on the spine.he will in all likelihood order an mri which will show soft tissue and bones. he will also test your reflexes, strength, and sensations. after what youve been through you need an expert who knows the spine not someone who says live with it. did the wc co provide the doc? if so find another doc not tied in to the insurance. did you get a lawyer?........pete
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied July 11th, 2010
T4/5
Hi Heartofozarks

I totally agree with pete81241. If the t4/5 is the injury site as per your doctor'r report, then in addition to this you need to see a physio for a strengthening exercise for the t4/5 area. The one I do is with a Theraband (elastic band), which you can ask for whilst at the physio, yellow is the easiest band to begin with. Also, mention this exercise to the physio, they may be able to show you what I mean. You will need enough band to tie it in the middle to a door nob at hip height allowing equal length straps to hold onto. Grab the straps and stand a soft arm length from the door in line with the door knob, stand tall, pelvis tucked, stomach in, shoulders back, chin tucked, and pull the straps evenly to the side of the hips only, then resist keeping tension on the straps as you go back towards the door. Not sure what the phsyio would suggest, but I would do about 3 reps slowly focusing my mind on the t4/5 area above the top of the shoulder blades. Walk away and see whether you feel worse or better. If worse, speak to your physio about the outcome. If okay do another 5 and walk away once again. The physio should be able to guide you on all of this. relly
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied November 11th, 2011
Sorry for your problems HeartsofOzark, pass on the info please!
HeartofOzarks... i can't say that i know what you went through... but i can say as far as workers comp is concerned i am dealing with the same BS. I got hurt at work and started suffering from spasms in my right set of ribs, as well as burning pain in the muscle next to T4 & T5 and those same thoracic vertebrae's are tender to the touch and hurt, also constant pain. Due to this injury i have been leaning which has now affected my sacro-iliac joint. It feels like my SI joint needs to pop but it never does it just hurts very bad and it also tender to touch. I have seen 3 occupational health doctors who told me to "deal with it", "stop babying my injury" and if i'm in pain "take tylenol" that they're not giving me any pain medicine. I know how you feel, work doctors are horrendous evil creatures and ought to be ashamed of themselves. I was then referred to PT 2x a week and an Orthopedic dr. I went to my evaluation and 1st PT appt but before i could get the Ortho my work's insurance denied my wc claim. So now i have a lawyer and it's been a mess. I was only just injured on 10/3, but it took 33 days for them to deny my claim, it took 30 days for the occupational health doctor to finally say "i don't know what is wrong with you" and send me to specialist. Upon orders from my lawyer i went to the Orthopedic doctor who told me he wants to rule out a thoracic spine injury as i am still having spasms in my ribs... but he told me my injury at 5 weeks in did not warrant pain medication. However, when i got a copy of the paper that the ortho dr filled out he wrote on the paper that he gave me medication and told me to do PT 3x/wk... that is a flat out lie! The most i have been given to "deal with" my pain is 7.5mg vicodin which does nothing to ease my pain and that was from the doctor my lawyer referred me to. Due to being denied for my WC claim i now can't get my MRI to rule out a worse injury than what i was diagnosed with which was a latissimus dorsi strain and an intercostal muscle strain. Not 1 of the 3 occupational health doctors i seen even mentioned that my pain could be referred pain my thoracic spine even though i told them that the pain in my rib area was following my rib around to my spine and i had burning next to my spine up in between my shoulder blades. Work doctors are a joke, it's all for the employer and poppycock for the injured employee. I am not sleeping well because the spasms in my side, so i am getting anxiety problems and feel like i'm starting to get depressed and when i twist or bend i get excruciating pain in between my shoulder blades on the right side of my spine. I too am lost and cannot imagine dealing with this for as long as you've been dealing with your pain and injuries. Please let me know what happened as far the doctors you had to see what kinds of medications you took that alleviated your pain... because so far the spasms are going clear through muscle relaxers (i was given 350mg somas last monday 11/7 but they didn't agree with me so he replaced the somas with 7.5/750mg vicodin), i've been given skelaxin and flexeril, relafin (anti-inflammatory), 800mg motrin, and 50mg tramadol. I was also given a tens unit muscle stim to take home and use on myself but on the 3rd day i only got it up to a 4 stim and it felt like someone stabbed me in the back, so i was told to stop using it. The 2 days prior to feeling like i was stabbed i was only able to get the stim up to a 6 comfortably. I am losing my mind with this. I am only 29y/o (female) and can't take the disgusting behavior being given to me by my employer, employers insurance company and the company doctors... i don't know what to do anymore... it feels like no one that could help me is taking my injury seriously except my lawyers doctor but i can't ever seem to get in touch with him when i need him and his assistant hasn't returned 1 of my calls since monday. UGH! Any help would be greatly appreciated since i can't get any advice or have my mind set at ease by any medical professional. What is wrong with medical professionals anymore... i guess they were given a bonus check for denying my claim and then the doctors were given a bonus by acting like there was nothing wrong with me... i don't know how any insurance company can claim you weren't hurt at work when you were. It doesn't make any sense to me at all and probably never will.
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied November 11th, 2011
HeartofOzarks... i can't say that i know what you went through... but i can say as far as workers comp is concerned i am dealing with the same BS. I got hurt at work and started suffering from spasms in my right set of ribs, as well as burning pain in the muscle next to T4 & T5 and those same thoracic vertebrae's are tender to the touch and hurt, also constant pain. Due to this injury i have been leaning which has now affected my sacro-iliac joint. It feels like my SI joint needs to pop but it never does it just hurts very bad and it also tender to touch. I have seen 3 occupational health doctors who told me to "deal with it", "stop babying my injury" and if i'm in pain "take tylenol" that they're not giving me any pain medicine. I know how you feel, work doctors are horrendous evil creatures and ought to be ashamed of themselves. I was then referred to PT 2x a week and an Orthopedic dr. I went to my evaluation and 1st PT appt but before i could get the Ortho my work's insurance denied my wc claim. So now i have a lawyer and it's been a mess. I was only just injured on 10/3, but it took 33 days for them to deny my claim, it took 30 days for the occupational health doctor to finally say "i don't know what is wrong with you" and send me to specialist. Upon orders from my lawyer i went to the Orthopedic doctor who told me he wants to rule out a thoracic spine injury as i am still having spasms in my ribs... but he told me my injury at 5 weeks in did not warrant pain medication. However, when i got a copy of the paper that the ortho dr filled out he wrote on the paper that he gave me medication and told me to do PT 3x/wk... that is a flat out lie! The most i have been given to "deal with" my pain is 7.5mg vicodin which does nothing to ease my pain and that was from the doctor my lawyer referred me to. Due to being denied for my WC claim i now can't get my MRI to rule out a worse injury than what i was diagnosed with which was a latissimus dorsi strain and an intercostal muscle strain. Not 1 of the 3 occupational health doctors i seen even mentioned that my pain could be referred pain my thoracic spine even though i told them that the pain in my rib area was following my rib around to my spine and i had burning next to my spine up in between my shoulder blades. Work doctors are a joke, it's all for the employer and poppycock for the injured employee. I am not sleeping well because the spasms in my side, so i am getting anxiety problems and feel like i'm starting to get depressed and when i twist or bend i get excruciating pain in between my shoulder blades on the right side of my spine. I too am lost and cannot imagine dealing with this for as long as you've been dealing with your pain and injuries. Please let me know what happened as far the doctors you had to see what kinds of medications you took that alleviated your pain... because so far the spasms are going clear through muscle relaxers (i was given 350mg somas last monday 11/7 but they didn't agree with me so he replaced the somas with 7.5/750mg vicodin), i've been given skelaxin and flexeril, relafin (anti-inflammatory), 800mg motrin, and 50mg tramadol. I was also given a tens unit muscle stim to take home and use on myself but on the 3rd day i only got it up to a 4 stim and it felt like someone stabbed me in the back, so i was told to stop using it. The 2 days prior to feeling like i was stabbed i was only able to get the stim up to a 6 comfortably. I am losing my mind with this. I am only 29y/o (female) and can't take the disgusting behavior being given to me by my employer, employers insurance company and the company doctors... i don't know what to do anymore... it feels like no one that could help me is taking my injury seriously except my lawyers doctor but i can't ever seem to get in touch with him when i need him and his assistant hasn't returned 1 of my calls since monday. UGH! Any help would be greatly appreciated since i can't get any advice or have my mind set at ease by any medical professional. What is wrong with medical professionals anymore... i guess they were given a bonus check for denying my claim and then the doctors were given a bonus by acting like there was nothing wrong with me... i don't know how any insurance company can claim you weren't hurt at work when you were. It doesn't make any sense to me at all and probably never will.
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied January 27th, 2013
without an extra they can't really know what is going on or not going on,.. in my opinion and i've had a broken back but had additional problems since then an exray could shed light onto your issues better to know either way rather than to stay in the dark
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied January 27th, 2013
without an extra they can't really know what is going on or not going on,.. in my opinion and i've had a broken back but had additional problems since then an exray could shed light onto your issues better to know either way rather than to stay in the dark
|
Did you find this post helpful?