Fractures in thoracic spine.: Hi again, I have... - Bone Health

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Fractures in thoracic spine.

Sunseaandsand profile image
22 Replies

Hi again,

I have been having some pain in my upper back in the area under my shoulder blades for the last few months. It has mainly been felt when I have got up from laying down trying to turn in bed or putting a top on.

Last night after my shower I felt it.

Later as I was flicking the light switch on I felt a strong pain in that area.

Since I got up this morning my upper back hurts and my rib area too. It hurts when I breathe in and I have had some shooting pains from the middle of my back out to the sides.

The highest fracture I have had in the past was of T9 and it did not effect me in this way.

I would really be grateful to hear from anyone who has had fractures in the upper thoracic and what their pain and any other symptoms were like.

From, Sun Sea and Sand who today is feeling rather fed up and miserable.

22 Replies
MollyStark profile image

Hi, I had a T8 fracture in July last year (then a T9 in July this year and most recently in September, T11.) I found the T8 and T9 the most painful. The pain comes around my sides and to the front, with muscle burning and spasms etc. For the first month or so, I was in agony when I first got out of bed in the morning and had to use my arms to lean on furniture etc., to take the pressure off the spine. Since the T8 fracture, using my arms out in front of me (for example, preparing food, using a computer keyboard, or indeed, pretty much everything) results in horrible aches and pain in my back so I am now very limited in what I can do. The pain can go up in between my shoulder blades too, causing burning and sharp pains which I presume is nerve pain.

I started raloxifene in the summer but am now about to start teriparatide. I'm in severe pain most of the time and currently taking morphine and occasional diazepam for the muscle spasms.

I know how you feel, it is truly soul destroying being like this. Sending my very best wishes to you.

Sunseaandsand profile image
Sunseaandsand in reply to MollyStark

Thank you, I am sorry to hear that you also have had further fractures this year.

Yes these fractures cause us horrific and debilitating pain and change our lives completely.

When I had my fracture in T9 my pain like yours came around my side and under my rib with the muscle burning. I was unable to even hold my mobile phone to my ear, or lift a cup to drink.

The fractures in my lumbar spine effected my hips and legs , walking was impossible.

Every one of them has been a nightmare.

I know something is not right because this is new pain and already having had fractures makes me think that I have another, but higher up this time.

I am pleased to hear you are going to have the forsteo, it is a good treatment and although I did suffer with feeling sick whilst on it, I would go on another 2 years course if it were possible.

I wish you a speedy recovery from your recent fracture and hope you do very well on the forsteo.

MaggieSylvie profile image
MaggieSylvie in reply to Sunseaandsand

I'm sorry you are suffering so badly. My haematologist got an x-ray of my upper spine, which showed angulation of T4 two years ago. Recently I have had an MRI scan of my whole spine that shows compression fractures of three vertebrae in the lumbar region. I have blood cancer and it is suspected that this (the bone marrow not working properly) has caused osteoporosis.

I would urge that anyone suffering pain like this should request an MRI scan because x-rays don't show what a scan can. I had an x-ray when I thought I had a slipped disc due to carrying something heavy and it showed nothing, but the scan shows how the discs are not too bad but the bones (T2, 4 and 5) are squashed to a wedge shape. I'm now trying to find out if whatever it is in my spine can also be in my ribs, as I hurt myself last night and felt my lower L rib "pop" but I may have instead done some damage to internal organs. Don't know. Waiting for copy of scans to give to chiropractor, which I'm informed can take 30 days. I think I am on the wrong pain killers, as I was initially prescribed Tramadol, codeine and paracetamol, for "non-specific back pain" but as this is likely to be linked to inflammation, I should be on NSAIDs. Sent a note to my GP but have had no reply.

So you may have a bone density problem, and you and your medical care team should be aware of it. Good luck to all of you who are suffering in the dark.

Sunseaandsand profile image
Sunseaandsand in reply to MaggieSylvie

Thank you for your reply.I am very sorry to hear what you are having to go through and hope it is not very long before you get some answers.

I agree about the scans being a better way of finding the problems rather than x rays.

My bone density is extremely low but I feel that another 3 fractures in the space of 5 months needs an explanation.

I have previously been told by the bone clinic that they do not know why I am losing bone so quickly.

Today I called the hospital to ask for a telephone appointment. I was told I would have to speak to the nurses and leave them a voice mail.

I have not had a call back but that does not surprise me one bit.

Despite 3 further fractures and not being given any further treatment for the past 22 months I am now having to wait till next March for an x ray and dexa scan.

I am being left in the dark as you so well put it.

I am so tired of chasing up for answers.

I feel like I have been put on the scrap heap.

I had a telephone appointment back in May and requested I have a full scan of my spine the consultant said yes that would be a good thing to have but has not made any arrangments for me to have one done.

They usually say to me I need to get things done at my local hospital.

They seem to forget I am under THEIR care not my local hospitals.

As you say gps cannot refer you for scans it has to be done through the hospital it is a disgrace the way we are just left like this.

Take care and keep safe.

MaggieSylvie profile image
MaggieSylvie in reply to Sunseaandsand

Yes, we do seem to have been swept under the carpet. The physiotherapist who ordered my scan (which was arranged very quickly) said he would refer me back to my haematology department because he believed the fractures stemmed from my bone marrow. That was fine, as I was to have had an appointment a couple of weeks later. That appointment was canceled "due to unforeseen circumstances". Everything is on hold now until 9 January. Meantime, no advice or change of meds from anyone. The chiropractor has cured my partner's coccyx problem in two appointments! I'm looking forward to getting answers so that I can see her again.

Sunseaandsand profile image
Sunseaandsand in reply to MollyStark

Hi once again, Feeling pretty miserable and having a job typing even though I am fastened up in my brace.

At the moment I have nothing for the pain other than over the counter.

I shall have to call the surgery on Monday to ask for something.

Previously I have had oxycodone for the pain and diazepam for muscle spasms.

You say that morphine has been given you.

Can I ask in what form and dosage do you take, how effective do you find it and do you have any side effects.

Thanks in advance.

MollyStark profile image
MollyStark in reply to Sunseaandsand

So sorry to hear about your pain, I will reply to your message shortly, having a painful episode and just need to rest my arms for a bit.

MollyStark profile image
MollyStark in reply to Sunseaandsand

I have propped my arms up with cushions which helps to relieve the pain in my back and sides when using my arms, so I can reply now.

I have Oramorph, a liquid form of morphine. If I'm completely honest, it isn't perfectly effective. I don't know why. The diazepam helps with the muscle issues of burning and spasms but I only have 2mg for once a day so I have to hang on as long as I can bear the pain. The only way I got those two types of pain relief was because I phoned the hospital and spoke to the specialist nurse and consultant who said I should tell the GP it was their suggestion. Prior to that the GP would only prescribe 30mg co codamol which not only doesn't agree with me but it has no effect on the pain.

I struggle to grasp their logic when they say I can only have one 2mg diazepam a day but gave me 100x 30mg cocodamol to take 8x a day as long as necessary.

The morphine makes me drowsy and relaxes me (which is a help as I get very tense with the pain.) After a week I found I was slightly less drowsy. It can occasionally make me feel nauseous so it's best to take it with a snack or just before/after a meal. Unfortunately it causes constipation, the last thing one needs with fractures, so I drink lots of fluids and eat stewed fruit and prunes.

I have heard about pain relief patches called buprenorphine. I think they're probably expensive as although the consultant suggested those too, the gp didn't want to give me those.

I am also currently wondering if I have had another fracture due to a new pain I've been experiencing. It's hard to know when pain is coming from several places and affecting other areas.

How did you get on with the oxycodone?

Sunseaandsand profile image
Sunseaandsand in reply to MollyStark

Thank you for replying to me again.

I really hope that you have not had a further fracture.

Yes sometimes it is difficult to know exactly what is going on after the fractures because all the muscles and ligaments have to adjust to the changes in the spine.

On top of that with osteoarthritis in the spine, spinal stenosis, bulging discs ect it can add to the confusion.

I feel at the moment like I have been kicked in the back and the ribs and my sides, I can not move without my husband putting my brace on first and putting it on is difficult whilst not being able to stand.

I have to admit I have shed tears yet again ,but every time I so much as sniff the pain shoots through me.

I had hiccups earlier a definite no go with this fracture, every time I hiccuped pain would shoot through me then I would cry then the sniffing.

Talk about a viscious circle.

A few months when I had 2 more fracture's ago I got a Recline and tilt chair from NRS it is called a Configura.

I would so recommend it.

The support it gives to your back is amazing, the back is a waterfall back and just moulds to your shape. It also lifts and tilts forward which makes it easy for you to get out of it.

Sorry it does not get rid of the pain but it certainly helps with your comfort.

It was my gp who gave me the Buprenorphine ( he was a new gp at the time and is a strong believer in making things as pain free as possible for his patients)

The pain consultant I saw at Pain managment clinic pescribed the ocycodone, it is the best thing I have had at controlling and reducing the pain, and it kicked in very quickly, it did make me very sleepy more so when I first took it.

Like any strong pain killers you can become tolerant to them so it is best to take a break rather than keep increasing the dose.

I had constipation with the patches and the oxycodone which became a real problem as I already have two meds from the hospital for chronic constipation.

I was told I could stay on a low dose of the oxycodone but decided to be weaned off it so I would feel benefit if I go back on it.

With my last fracture my gp gave me diazapam on the hospitals recomendation.

I am not on any treatment at the moment and feel so fed up and worried at the rate these fractures are now happening.

I think this must be around T7 but the only way to be sure is when I go back to hospital and get my overdue scans and x rays done.

It does seem strange that they would only give you the smallest dose of diazapam but then give you a high dose of cocodomol.

The dose I was given was 2mg 3 times a day of diazapam but was not given cocodamol.

It is good to be able to talk to others about our problems and experiences.

We do not feel so alone.

Best wishes for the future and hope our next posts will be to share positive experiences.

MollyStark profile image
MollyStark in reply to Sunseaandsand

I dread having a bout of hiccups or coughing. I tend to stifle a sneeze with a tissue. I fear covid simply for the cough so have been pretty much shielding since the fractures. I too get tearful and other times I find I'm completely numb, but not in a pain free way. I do find it hard to cope with the pain, the limitations and changing body shape. There is no help or understanding from the GP.

When I've told people that I'll be starting treatment, they all say how wonderful that I'll be pain free and 'back to normal' soon, despite explaining it has no effect on pain and I don't know how effective the treatment will be. I get quite annoyed with them but that's my own issue, I know.

I think I might speak to the dr about oxycodone or the patches. I'm lucky if I get 30 or 40 minutes relief from pain with the morphine and that's only if I sit still. I tend to sit on the sofa which is quite firm and upright, using cushions to support my arms.

I had my own business for many years but that ended with the first fracture due to not being able to use my arms much. So my income disappeared and my husband has reduced his part time hours to do more around the house. It's greatly affected our income, otherwise I would look at buying something like that chair.

I hope you are not suffering too much today. I too hope our next posts might be more positive. My very best to you.

Sunseaandsand profile image
Sunseaandsand in reply to MollyStark

It really is kind of you to write again.

I am so sorry to hear that you had to give your business up owing to having your first fracture.

It must have been so hard to lose something that I imagine took years to build up.

Also for it to effect your income will be very difficult for the both of you.

We both had to retire early, afte losing my father and sister within a few years of each other.

I was the only one to care for my mum so I finished work and my husband cut back on his hours as my health was not good.

He resigned in the end to help even more, my mum died 2 month later, I had a bad chest infection which turned into pneumonia, this was when I had my first fracture (I believe it came from the terrible cough I had)

It does sounds like you too have a very supportive husband, although I have to say I do think I have given my husband some hard times with suffering from these fractures.

He knows though as I do it is not me, it is the illness that has me so frustrated and everything else that comes with it.

I am on the sheilding list, I use 2 inhalers which help keep things under control but if I get a cold virus it goes straight into a chest infection.

We have both been sheilding since March and it will now be continuing not only because of the rising numbers but because of the fracture.

I wish I could say I am ok but sorry to say I had a dreadfull night and the day has been no better.

I fear going to bed with these fractures but still keep on trying.

I mnaged to get on the bed but then as usual it all went horribly wrong.

I was stuck in a terrible uncomfortable position but every time I tried to move an inch my back went into spasm.

I was on my side with my face and ear squashed into the pillow and my arm half under me.

Does that sound like a familiar picture???

I spent most of the night awake wanting so hard to move but uable to.

I could not even lift my head to take any over the counter pain killers.

My husband filled a hot water bottle and held it to my back this morning it seemed to help relax the muscles but it still was an ordeal getting out the bed.

My brace at the moment is not helping much, I think it must be because the fracture is much higher and the brace was given for my Lumbar fractures.

I am having difficulty holding a cup or a knife and fork what a mess, my back and ribs are on fire and when I stand I feel I am going to sink to the floor.

PHEW!! Thank you for letting me unload that.

I shall not go into the ignorance of some people regarding osteoporosis and the treatments, best not get me going on that it makes me so angry too.

I do so hope they will let you try an alternative pain treatment, both the Oxycodone and the patches are slow release so you feel the benefits without and breaks in between.

I really wish you the best of luck with your new treatment.

Let us know how you get on with it. Xx

CuriousBetsy profile image
CuriousBetsy in reply to Sunseaandsand

I am so sorry to hear what you are going through. I fractured T8 in June this year.....worst pain I have ever had! My partner wasn’t my side constantly helping me turn over in bed and helping me to get into a sitting position. It took several weeks to get out of the severe pain with the help of Advil and morphine ( very low does). I sort of shuffled my way through the rest of the summer. Betty

Sunseaandsand profile image
Sunseaandsand in reply to CuriousBetsy

Thank you Betty for your reply, I hope you are much improved now and continuing to do so each day.

Yes the pain really does get too much to bear.

My gp has once again arranged for my pain relief and I shall receive it this morning, he has also included morphine this time.

I like many do not like to think I am taking such strong pain relief, but it is there to help us at times like this.

My only hope now is that these fractures at the very least stop occuring so often.

Three in 5 months is too much to cope with no matter how strong I try to be.

Take care and stay safe.

MollyStark profile image
MollyStark in reply to Sunseaandsand

I really meant to reply sooner, so I apologise. Thank you for your caring words.

It sounds like you've been through some very stressful times. I've had sone tough times too and I do believe the stress has a negative impact on bone health.

I really hate having to rely on my husband so much and have terrible anxiety about my situation and pain. There doesn't seem to be any help from the doctors in this respect, so I struggle with my mental health.

Your description of getting into bed and ending up in an uncomfortable position was spot on. I often wake up with an ache in my neck or painful arm etc., after such a night. As you say, it makes us fearful of going to bed so the anxiety never seems to abate. I've tried explaining to a doctor about this situation but I can tell they think I'm exaggerating.

I'm glad you offloaded, it can feel very lonely going through this.

I have now been prescribed slow release morphine capsules but he wouldn't give me any diazepam for the spasms. Instead, I was given propranolol which he said would help. Unfortunately they nade me feel like I had a heavy weight on my chest and I could hardly move. The next morning I woke up and my heart was racing so fast it scared me and I felt awful, sweating and very anxious. I don't think they agree with me and they certainly did nothing for the muscle issue!

In recent days I've had more pain so I am wondering whether it's another fracture. I started Forsteo nearly 3 weeks ago and am really hoping it works.

I hope you are doing okay and having some respite from pain at times.xx

Sunseaandsand profile image
Sunseaandsand in reply to MollyStark

Hi Molly stark,

I have jut sent a very lengthy reply to you but it is not showing

I hope you have received it.

Can you that let me know if you have it.x

MollyStark profile image
MollyStark in reply to Sunseaandsand

Hi there, I'm sorry but I can't see it anywhere, only the one I am replying to, what a shame, I wonder what happened.

Sunseaandsand profile image
Sunseaandsand in reply to MollyStark

Well I shall have another try, it is not the first time this has happened.

I am so sorry to hear of your problems with your mental health.

It is a bigger problem these days than ever before for people of all ages.

Our grandson is going through a very difficult time at the moment and has done from school age.

He is only just beginning to receive the help he has needed for years and that is because it had reached crisis point. It has an impact on us as a family. Yes I also believe stress contributes in a big way to poor health.

I find that everything builds up to a point that even the small troubles are too big to cope with.

It is difficult losing our independance and having to rely on our husbands help all the time. I have found ways of coping better with it such as knowing that if the shoe were on the other foot then I would be the one helping him ,and how awful it would be to see him in pain and not be able to take the pain away from him.

Did your doctor give a reason for not prescribing diazapam for your muscle spasms?

Was the propranolol given for your anxiety? If so it seems a strange choice when there are so many more meds that are very good for anxiety that he could have given you to try.

I had a long course of counselling that did help to some degree, but feel after another 3 fractures in less than 5 months (without any help from the hospital, who's care I am supposed to be under) I now need a bit of support with my mental health too.

Finding a doctor who actually listens is a real problem. I have had terrible experiences from the pratice I am under, but 2 years ago a new doctor joined and is really good at listening and will try to help in anyway that he can. Even that comes with stress though because he only works a couple of days. The other doctors are not worth even speaking to.

I have spent so much time in the past chasing hospital app, scans , tests, many that have gone missing!! Appointments that have been cancelled numerous times, yet we are told if we change one more than 3 times we will have to be referred again!!

Only last week the pharmacist asked me why are you calling about this? she said you should not be doing this and that I was doig the job someone else was getting paid to do.

Quite right story of my life, then doctors have the nerve to say you are anxious, of course we are anxious who wouldn't be with the way we are treated!!!

We are anxious because they do NOT listen to what we are saying.

That is my rant and rave for today.

Feeling much better now.

How are you finding the Morphine capsules? I hope they are helping you.

I do so hope you have not had another fracture, the pain just seems to increase with each one, I have begin to question just where I am going with mine. The consultant just does not seem to care, my appointment is in March next year, by that time I will not have had any treatment for 2 years.

I hope you do really well on the Forsteo it is one of the best treatments for the bones.

A pity we can only have it for 2 years.

I stuck it out to the end of the course despite the sickness it caused every day.

Because of the side effects for 2 years I felt in need of a drug holiday.They advised me to go on another treatment to which I declined.

That was a big mistake.

My bone density went down by 14% I lost all what I had gained by having the treatment, plus more by not following on with a different treatment.

This is prove that after forsteo you do need to have a follow on treatment.

Well I am now going tohave a other go at sending this to you.

Take care and stay safe.

Hoping for much better times ahead.xx

Posy-White profile image
Posy-White in reply to Sunseaandsand

Hello Sunseaandsand

Sorry to read you are having problems again, thoughts are with you.

When I had my spinal fratures they started at T7 only they where not picked up on the first xray as I was only xrayed in the lumbar area ....... because that's where people have their back problems!! At one point GP thought I had broken ribs because I kept on that the pain in my chest area was far greater than the lumbar area. I couldn't really feed myself or lift a cup to my lips because I couldn't do anything other than keep my upper arms 'pinned' to my trunk. Breathing and arm movements hurt.

You know only too well that sadly it does take time etc. to heal BUT try to do mini breathing excercises as soon as possible, blowing out small slow breaths and then take in as much air as deep as you can manage. You don't want to get in any chest type infections because of not being able to clear your lungs etc. I'm sure it hurts like hell any way and mini excercises only hurt a little more. It was 3 months before I could do candles and I still practice blowing raspberries now, three years on, but worth it to keep doing as much as possible. You chair sounds great, is a heat blanket and teems machine any help?

Hope the GP is helpful.

Take care best wishes

Posy White

Sunseaandsand profile image
Sunseaandsand in reply to Posy-White

Hello Posy- White,

Thank you for reply which I found really helpful.

I so hope you are continuing to stay strong, we have to keep fighting this horrible disease.

The things you mention around eating and drinking paint a good picture of how it is for me right now.

If you have any tips on how to work around this particular problem I would be more than grateful if you could share them with me.

My previous fractures had made it difficult to lean forward or sit upright so I was getting by with leaning more backwards when eating.

Now I can not even do that, as you will know yourself it is impossible.

I am feeling so tired both physically and mentally, it is the pain that wears me down.

This is my 3rd since lockdown and it seems never ending.

The thing's we are told when we go for, and after these x rays can be really hard to believe, after all they are supposed to be the expert's.

I have not actually tried a heat blanket, can you recommend any particular one that I could buy.?

My GP called me this morning, he is very good and has been with the surgery a few years I was so glad when he joined.

There is only so much he can do but he sent a pescription through to the chemist immediately.

He asked me if I wanted an xray at the local hospital but knew what my answer would be. I can hardly move at the moment, and I think I have mentioned my lack of faith in the hospital so many times now.

On top of that the Covid situation has become a very glum one at the hospital in my area.

No thank you.!!

He asked if I had contacted the teaching hospital whose care I am under and at the time of writing this I am still waiting to hear back.

I have begun the breathing excersises you have been kind enough to share with me.

Thank you I certainly do not want a chest infection on top of that.

I am having such a job trying to use my inhalers so it will be good practice.

As you say it hurts like hell anyway so in for a penny in for a pound.!!

On that note I shall end here.

Keep well and keep safe.

Sun, Sea and lot's of beautifull white sand.

Posy-White profile image
Posy-White in reply to Sunseaandsand

Hello Sun sea and sand

Our local beach today was rain wind and great rollers! Glad you call with your GP was at least positive in the main. Getting the pain under control is so important then you can sleep slightly better and think clearly! -

The heat back pad my husband saw in the local Lidi in 2018, one of their special offers - make is Silverline - I have used it every night since I got it, this one has 10 heat rating (I have never used more than 1-2) it cuts out after about 1 1/2 hrs. So when I wake in the night I often turn it on again for a boost.

With the eating and drinking, like you I got very tired with the pain and I had overnight I'd lost height due to the damage to my spine. I'm 5" shorter and have the OS squashed stomach etc. I also have problems in keeping weight on so went to eating 5 -6 times a day small portions. At first I had one meal feed to me so I still had something to chew etc. and the rest as ‘soup’ (meal in the blender with added liquid) using a thick /wide straw, I also had build up health drink each day. Drinking was easier with a straw. The disadvantage was the amount of liquids but in the end I gave up worrying about the consequence and wore pads so if I couldn’t be moved / manage myself I had a back up! I got my husband to get out the camping plates, cups bowls and cutlery as these are lightweight, I don’t use them now but do still make sure I have a bone china lighter weight mug.

I found sleeping sandwiched between two duvets with a satin sheet on the bottom one so that I could be slid very helpful; three pillows under my back and head so I was in a upright position; with a pillow under my knees and wedges at my hips. I still sleep like that now but don’t need two duvets any more.

Teems machine ‘distracted the pain’ and was helpful during movement. I think I used it for about a year.

Best Wishes

Posy White

Sunseaandsand profile image
Sunseaandsand in reply to Posy-White

Hello again,

Getting some sleep is very important it allows our bodies to get the rest needed at times like these.

I am expecting my pain relief to be delivered this morning but just had a call from the chemist to say they can not get the Diazapam until tomorrow.

I am going to make sure I keep something on stand by in future, it is just too long to be without anything for almost 5 days.

Thank you for taking the time to reply and sharing with me the things you found to be useful. They certainly make sense and we don't always think of things till afterwards.

How strange to hear of your weight issues, I too have a problem maintaining my weight.

My weight has been low for sometime now and the dietician is trying to keep it stable.

I have been around 6 stone 3 for sometime now but over last few months ended up at 5 stone 11. She is now trying me on some different form of food supplements and I hope I shall be able to gain some weight even if it is a slow process.

I just can not afford to lose any more.

I have always eaten well, 3 meals a day and a morning snack too. Although I find these days I could manage without. I really think the fractures have and do play a big part in my weight loss.

I have not heard back from the hospital so called the secretary (who had a very abrubt, snappy I don't like my job attitude") I actually told her I found her attitude very abrupt and rude.

There really is no need or excuse for that sort of thing.

I most probably will NOT hear anything back now. The consultant will not hear of my message.

Take good care of yourself keep safe.

Sun, Sea and Sand, which hopefully if we can make the journey to our son's we will be able to see next year.

MaggieSylvie profile image
MaggieSylvie in reply to Sunseaandsand

I had a perforated lung through a broken rib many years ago, and was advised to keep taking deep breaths whenever I thought of it, to avoid infection or reduced lung capacity, and I have to say that despite my other problems, my lungs are both good.

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