Chronic pain in T4/T5 area

by Mrs Onadiet
(Hampshire, UK)

Short background:
I'm a very young 55 overweight (20 stone)female diagnosed last year with severe osteoarthritis of lower spine. I also have ostearthritis in my hands and feet but just in the mornings. I have fibromyalgia in my arms and shoulders which I thought was going away. My bloods are fine except the urate content is way too high. I've also had gout twice.
Anyway, I tackled this head on and joined a health club with pool and hydrotherapy and swim 45min x 4 per week; take several vits (tumeric/cod liver/B1,6 and B12 complex and milk thistle occasionally).
I rarely take the medication I am given (naproxen and omeprazole) because, frankly, I don't trust it and prefer to cure with healthy food (obviously I'm cutting back the portions, lol), however, when the pain gets so bad, I have no choice.
Unfortunately, I've been in chronic back pain on the right side, seemingly between the T4/T5 area and my spine, it's like a hot ball inside, I have it right now, bending my head to get in the car can trigger it too - all sounds odd, I know. Can you offer any suggestion as to what it is and how I can get rid of it. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Thanks.

Hello Mrs On-a-diet,
First off, scratch that word diet from your vocabulary and practice; research shows that after one year, no matter what the diet, 95% of folk have lost no weight, and many have put on.

Stop dieting, and start eating right for the rest of your life.

The best way that I know, the only way I suspect, is to figure out the meaning of "glycemic index". I doubt you are obese because you eat too much, but you consume the wrong stuff; the battle to retrain the tongue is won and lost between the ears; the keyword is 'I'm tired of pain.'

And it's caused not only your weight problem but the arthritis, gout and fibromyalgia too; in short, a lot of pain and the disability of knee arthritis at 20 stone is surely on the horizon.

Anyway, you've been told all that at least 1000 times, I'm sure, and don't need me haranguing you!

You mention osteoarthritis of the lower back, but nothing about x-rays of the midback; that's the place to start, if they haven't already been taken, and a chest pic if you're having any breathing problems, or cough.

The thoracic spine and ribs are the most commonly treated areas by chiropractors; go x-rays in hand to a local DC. Find someone well recommended, and not the person with the biggest yellow pages ad.

It's likely very treatable, just not curable if you've had it for a long time. After an initial course of treatment, you'll probably need to have a treatment once a month, or some such; no one is going to cure it.

I wish you good luck and lots of inner strength; it's going to take all of that to retrain your tongue.

Dr B

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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I have left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he is happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti-inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He is doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost pain-free. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he is well pleased; sixty-five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he has taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily stroll has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift; he has a short leg.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. X-rays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65-year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88-year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done. 

10. Mr X is a 71-year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a few months ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It is a non-complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she is doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38-year old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he could not sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71-year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors should not be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that is so much bunkum.

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