Chronic Thoracic Back Pain and No Relief

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New Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 6/26/2009 11:50 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi:  I am so miserable that for the first time in five years the only way I could cope tonight was to find something like this and write something down in the hope it would help.  Five years ago I injured my lower back at work but it was no big deal.  I started to get better and than suddenly one day I got a severe pain in my thoracic area and I have had severe chronic thoracic pain ever since.  I am treated by one of the foremost pain dotors in the US.  I have tried everything.  I have a pain pump but, while it reduces the pain, that is all it does and when the pain gets really bad it does not even reduce it from a 10.  I also take just about all the breakthrough medicine I can take and, once again, my pain is still not always controlled.  The amount of medication in my pump is not high enough because I have been unable to tolerate any higher doses of anything or I get really nauseated and dizzy.  They have tried everything and have had to reduce the dosage every time!  I am way below the clinically effective level.
I also have several other medical problems.  In fact I need surgery but have put it off because I am getting increasingly worried about how they are going to control any kind of surgical pain after I go home from the hospital  I had a very bad experience.  I was operated on for lung cancer which is one of the most painful and invasive surgeries you can have!  After the surgery, in intensive care, the original pain drug ordered did not work.  The Physician Assistant sent from the pain clinic either did not know what to do or did not want to do something.  I have had problems with her before.  After six terrible hours the intensive care nurse had had enough and paged the surgeon to come back to the hospital and, of course, he immediately ordered another pain drug.  When I tried to tell my pain MD afterwards about what happened and that I seemed to have problems with this woman, he got angry as though I had done something wrong because I did not want her again.  My doctor has a temper to start with but this is just one of the drawbacks of a pain clinic where any refusal to do anything is seen as noncooperation!  Now I am petrified to schedule another surgery because the pain clinic always uses the same PA for its hospital patients!  And I am a well liked, reliable patient.
If you are wondering why I don't change doctors, here is why.  One reason is that my doctor is good and known world-wide.  But the main reason is that my doctor has just told me that they are finding a high incidence of growths at the site of the pain pump catheter  (can't remember the technical term). For that reason, all the doctors here have gotten together and decided that no pain clinic in my area, which is a major metropolitan area, will take a patient with an existing pain pump!  I am trapped.  I cannot go to any other doctor.
Finally my other life is suffering beyond belief.  I am in my 60's and divorced  I look good and I look healthy. I would like to have a partner. I have a million interests but I am unable to do almost any of them anymore.  I keep trying but I end up in so much pain that I have to quit.  I am losing all my friends because I cannot do anything.  I can't make new friends because I can't hike, ride a bike, dance, even and this is the worst, sit in any straight-backed chair for very long.  I'd like to take some classes but I have tried now three times and had to quit after about the third day because the pain was too bad.  My children are not interested in hearing how bad I feel all the time. I am turning into a burden.  I am well educated and planned to work a little after retirement but now I can't.  I had traveled all over the world and wanted to do that again but I can't.  My fondest desire was to live in Mexico but I can't because, and this may surprise you, morphine and many of the class 4 narcotics are virtually impossible to get and there is no chance of them being available in the liquid form needed to fill a pain pump.
so there you have it.... smilewinkgrin

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 773
   Posted 6/27/2009 12:10 AM (GMT -6)   

Hi Gazelle,

Welcome to HW, all of us here have CP and can definitely relate to the frustration I hear in your post.  I feel bad for you because it sure sounds like you are trapped with your PMD.  I don't think it really matters that he is the best of the best, from your post it sounds like he lacks the compassion and caring that you need!  Have you verified what you were told about other MD's accepting PP patients? 

Each of us has had to deal with our own disappointments of not being able to do the things we used have come to the right place!  The support and caring that is shared here helps make our days and challenges a lot easier to deal with!




Mrs. Dani
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 2787
   Posted 6/27/2009 1:22 AM (GMT -6)   
     Dear Gazelle,
     Hi  :-)   My name is Dani. It is very nice to meet you. I do hope you decide to stay. Everyone here is just wonderful and so increadibly caring.  I am sorry you are having pain in your middle back shakehead   Sound like you are working ever so hard to get the pain under control.  *huggs* To go through so much to have it not work effectivly must be very hard.
     I don't have a pain pump, But! There are some really cool folks here that do have them and maybe they can give ideas and input :-)
My children are not interested in hearing how bad I feel all the time. I am turning into a burden.
      Noone here minds hearing about how your feeling! Tell us how bad you feel. Get grumpy! We dont mind  :-)   We all understand  :-)  I feel better knwoing there are others out there, like me.  And it is really nice when you can laff with someone who knows exactly what your going through.  smilewinkgrin  Talk to you again soon.  yeah
TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,  
And sorry I could not travel both  
And be one traveler, long I stood

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 6/27/2009 3:19 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for the feedback.  yes, I have checked with all the other pain clinics and none in my area are making appointments for patients with existing pumps.  This really is a conspiracy of sorts.  It is a little like price fixing only each clinic can say its doctors have decided independently.  You are also right that without empathy my pain doctor is not the best.  I think he has no idea of exactly his bad his temper and his impatience are.  he likes me a lot and lets me do things he does not other patients do however.
the other thing that has happensw is that when he has a visiting doctor or a pharmaceutical rep he does not get anything right in the appt.  Twice he has ordered a drug that I am allergic to.  I finally decided that I am going to refuse the next visitor no matter how angry he gets.  The appointments are useless. 
here is a caution for those of you getting pumps.  I am very experienced in pain pumps and you are welcome to write and ask a question.  When my pump was put in the surgeon who did it was terrible. I did not know him.  He put the pump in because my regular pain doctor no longer does it.  When I went to him for the presurgery appt., he kept me waiting for three hours (my God!) and finally waltzed in and acted like I was holding him up.  I didn't get to ask any questions and he did not ask me any questions which  is more important-like where do you want the pump etc.  When I was counting to ten to go under the anaesetic he started asking me the questions but I did not have time to answer.  I styed in the hospital over night and I started getting a headache in the hospital.  But, the doctor never actually saw me in person again!  He called me and told me he was tied up.  This is a real no, no.  That night it turned out my spinal fluid was leaking which can be a sideeffect of putting in a pump.  It is extremely painful.  He was on call but we called him hour after hour and he did not respond.  He finally did way after several hours.  I ended up back in the hospital.  I did tell the nurses, most of whom are friends of mine, at the pain clinic that he did not come to the hospital and did not answer his page.  It sounded like they were afraid to do anything about it because my doctor as director is so protective.
For those of you getting pumps you might take these kinds of stories into consideration in picking the surgeon etc.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 1158
   Posted 6/27/2009 4:29 PM (GMT -6)   
Gazelle I wanted to also welcome you to our family. We will be here rain or shine. We will love you regardless of how much you vent or complain cuz we all have been there and still are.

I was in your position one night and found this forum. Now I am here daily trying to repay a debt that can never be fullfilled. They all have been with me through so much. Even off topic of Pain.

As for your doctor, I'm getting so used to doctors who have no bedside manor. Plus if a doctor has a name for himself it gets worse.

You are so right that people need to hear the bad stories not just the good ones with rosey outcomes.

Our friends on here with pain pumps will come along and try and help.. if they can.

But welcome and hopefully you will stay with us

39 yr young female with,
Chronic Kidney Stones, PKD (Polycystic Kidney Disease), Chronic Kidney Failure, Severe Hypertension, Urological RSD
Also CHF (Congestive Heart Failure) and Sleep Apnea
Hopefully NO MORE........ I think I have it all

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 536
   Posted 6/27/2009 5:05 PM (GMT -6)   
Gazelle, I want to also welcome you here to this forum. I think if you stick around you will be pleased with your results. Everyone here is just great. You will be encouraged, understood, not judged, cared for, and you will be given hope. I am so sorry that you are in so much pain. I wish you had better results with your pain pump and other meds. Please feel free to post as often as you care to. We do care. And everyone needs to vent at one time or another. It does help. It helps to get it out. And it helps with the replies you read. Sometimes, just to know that there is someone out there who is reading what you write and really does care. It means alot. I wish you the best. And we all have a common ground-pain. Unfortunately it plays a very active roll in all of our lives.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 6/27/2009 10:34 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, Gazelle,
I also wanted to welcome you to the chronic pain forum of Healing Well. All I know about pumps is what I've learned here, and I suspect some others with pumps will be along later. But I do know about pain and lousy doctors and having your life and dreams for your future crumble. I'm almost 60 and am in the process of applying for SSD (disability), which breaks my heart. I had wanted to finish out my career, and since I'm single I really needed to financially. But it just isn't going to happen.

Your last paragraph in your first post brought tears to my eyes and it's so familiar. You have found a group of people who understand, and are a superb support system.

I'm sorry you have the pain and have to be here in the first place, but glad you found us. And yes, we all need to vent periodically (maybe more than that!). You'll fit right in.

Again, welcome.


Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 77
   Posted 6/28/2009 4:30 PM (GMT -6)   

Hi, I am sorry for all your problems and your pain.  I can identify with you somewhat.  I hurt all the time in my middle back. I got hurt 18 years ago on the job when I was lifting and something popped in my mid-back.  I have suffered ever since.  It is a burning, stabbing pain, like someone is taking a hot knife and just stabbing and twisting it over and over and over.The pain has been a 10 most of the time and never under a 4 or 5.  I cry, I have Pity Parties, I whine and, like you, nobody wants to hear it anymore.  I can't do anything other people can do.  I envy people going places and having fun while I sit in my little ole recliner and take drugs and whine and hurt.  I have 4 buldging disc in my cervical spine  and have recently ruptured one and am going to have to have surgery, which won't help my mid-back because it is a tear that is unfixable.

I have also a lot of other health problems.  I also am 61 and broke.

I am sorry that you are hurting and wish I could help.

God bless you!

White Beard
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 3702
   Posted 6/28/2009 5:14 PM (GMT -6)   

I would also like to extend to you my Welcome to this forum! I can empathize with you, among my many disc problems most of them are bad Thoracic disc, of which my Doctors will not touch! You have definitely found a good place to come. People here do understand what you are going through, and I think you will find that most, if not all the folks here, are the most caring and compassionate people that you will find anywhere on any forum! I can honestly say I consider the folks here at this Chronic Pain forum, my family! They have been so much more than just support to me! I do hope that in time, you will also find the people here at this site to be at least a type of caring family to you! Who knows maybe even much more! I am glad you have found us, and I do hope that you deside to stay around, I do hope we can provide you with the help and support you need. We are not Doctors and can not provide you with any type of professional medical help and services. But we can listen, and we can provide you with a caring and compassionate ear, and we do understand what it is like to be in pain, so we can definite empathize with you!

Again Wecome to this HealingWell web sit, and this Chronic Pain Forum!

I wish you the only the Best!

White Beard
Moderator Chronic Pain
I'm Retired USAF, went back to school and became an RN, and now am on full disalbility!--Degenerative Disc (affecting mostly the thorasic disc but all levels involved), C6/7 laminectomy/diskectomy& fusion, Osteoarthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Chronic Pain, Fibromyalgia, Complex Sleep Apnea, and host of other things to spice up my life!(NOT!) Medications: Oxycontin, Percocet, Baclofen, Sulfasalazine, Metoprolol, Folic Acid, Supplemental O2 at 3lpm with VPAP Adapt SV

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 177
   Posted 6/28/2009 7:17 PM (GMT -6)   
You may now not be able to hike or bike, bake and shake, but you can talk to us folks here. Glad to have you with us.

I was wondering, why don't you have the pain pump removed? Or, alternatively, have you tried other medication besides te usual morphine for the pump?

Welcome and take care.
To stand and be still at the Birkenhead Drill is a mighty bullet to shew.

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