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Spine and Back Health

Loss of Height in T2 and T3 Vertebrae

11/18/2009

Question:

Recently my husband was electricuted at work and also fell off his ladder. Ever since then he has had awful back pain. His xrays showed he had loss height in his T2 and T3 vertebrae. The nurse practioner did not explain what this means or anything she just wrote a prescription. What should we do?

Answer:

Hello, thank you for your question. You should call the nurse practitioner or go back to see her and insist that she explain what this means, and what you should expect. There is no reason you should be left with a prescription and no idea of what is going on. Without being able to see your husband's xrays I can't tell you what you need to know - the finding of "loss of height" could be nothing significant or could be very important.

If his "awful back pain" is high up near the base of his neck, between the upper part of his shoulder blades, it might be related to this. If it's typical lower back pain it wouldn't have anything to do with this xray finding (T2 and T3 are in the upper thoracic spine, near the very top of the rib cage, not in the lower back). The bottom line is, you need to get some answers from your health care provider. You are entitled to this. Good luck.

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Response by:

David J Hart, MD David J Hart, MD
Associate Professor of Neurosurgery
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University