I would like to make it very clear that I am writing this from the view point of the patient, and that I am by no means an expert on this. But on the other hand, I may be exactly the person you want to talk to if you think you might have a spinal injury, especially one located in your thoracic region, or middle back, which is quite uncommon.
To be honest, I'm not really sure how I injured mine, after doing some research the past few days, I am wondering if I have had this problem since a serious car accident in my teens. I'll get back to that in a few minutes, but I think I'll catch you up on the last few days first.
Last weekend I stood too long at a neighbors birthday party, which to any other person would be no big deal. The next day I woke up with my bladder leaking, and yes I know that is TMI, but without that information you won't understand why I thought this was a big deal, so bear with me. This is what happened when my disc had herniated and ruptured in January, so I knew I needed to get to the doc on Monday, which is what I did.
She told me that I could avoid a trip to the ER (Tom and I laughed at that one, we wouldn't have gone anyway), but that my Neurosurgeon would be calling me the next day. They did, and they said I needed to be seen (you know, a mere 1.5 hours one way, away) on Thursday. Although I am barely able to drive at this point, I get down there, Tom takes time off work to go with me, and the guy acts as if I had popped by for tea! He pats me on the back and thanked me for coming to see him. That was after I waited for 45 minutes and paid $50!
So are thoracic problems an emergency? Well, thank God, apparently mine isn't. And if it isn't an emergency, then by God, you're on your own, Baby. Which, this morning, I feel better about, yesterday, don't ask.
Now, back up a day or two to my research. Yes, I know a person has to be careful when doing any sort of medical research on the web. As a matter of fact, that is why I have avoided doing so until the last few days mostly. I really have not even considered surgery until this week, but I am getting desperate, I must tell you. So I started looking for symptoms of T11/T12 disc herniation, and I only read articles from universities or medical jargon that I could only understand every other word-ha! And then I moved on to surgery, etc, but my point is, I did so rather tentatively.
Anyway, I found some very interesting things that led me to believe that I have had this problem even longer than I thought. I have written before that this was hard to diagnose because it presented as hip pain, and now I have been reading that it often presents as abdominal and chest pain, gall bladder, etc. The more I read, it was like a who's who list of the exploratory surgeries I've had over the years, all after a rollover accident on a curvy mountain road more than twenty years ago.
Again, this is just a theory, and it doesn't really matter now how the spine got injured, because it happened. But on the way home from the Dr. the other night, I was really frustrated that I have all this crazy shit (sorry Mom, there is just no other way to describe it!) happen to me, (less than 2% of disc herniations are in the thoracic region, for example), and even if it sounds weird, it makes me feel better if only one thing is the cause of all that crazy shit.
It makes me feel like there is hope to attack this darn thing and take care of "business". So that I won't have any more crazy "business" going on. Now, what is my plan? Walking, and abdominal muscles, for sure.
It's funny, I wrote the bulk of this post yesterday. But I don't want to come off sounding like a whiner, so I sat on it; the only reason I post about these things is in hopes it might help someone else in the same boat. So, I considered talking about my symptoms, and maybe even sharing the letter I sent to the doc who was sort of a jerk, because that might help anyone who has dealt with a butthead doctor. I suppose I could have a healing series...
Well, at least Google knows I'm out there, and the next time I go to search for Thoracic Spine Injuries, hopefully this post will show up, and it just might help another person who is going down the same road, and hopefully that person will see my e-mail and feel free to contact me with any questions, because believe me, I know how crazy you're feeling right now!